Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 11/11/14

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed the first practice session, changes made to the track, Danica Patrick racing at Bristol and other topics.

SO YOU HAVE BEEN OUT THERE FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS WHAT DO YOU THINK? “I think we are off.  We are just struggling to find the balance right now.  We are working at it.”

THE TRUCK SERIES RACE DIDN’T SEEM TO LOOK AESTHETICALLY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOU GUYS WERE DOING.  WHAT DO YOU EXPECT IS GOING TO HAPPEN? “I honestly don’t know right now.  We haven’t really run around a lot of cars.  I don’t know.”

IS THIS RACE MORE IMPORTANT GIVEN THE CHANGES HERE?  DO THEY HAVE TO HAVE A GREAT SHOW? “I’m worried about getting my race car balanced honestly.  I don’t know.  You are asking the wrong guy.”

IT’S GOING TO BE REALLY TOUGH FOR DANICA (PATRICK) HERE THIS WEEKEND.  WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTATION FOR HER THIS WEEKEND?  IS IT JUST TO FINISH ALL THE LAPS?  “My goal is for her just to finish the race. It’s not going to be an easy day for her by any means, but it’s not supposed to be.  We picked the hard tracks and you are going to have to run them at some point.  The biggest thing is while she’s not racing for points this year it’s better to bring her now and let her get some experience here before she does come back and is racing for points next year.”

WILL THIS BE A BIGGER CHALLENGE FOR HER THAN DARLINGTON? “I think so.  This is always a hard place the first time you come.  It’s so fast and you can’t really be off here.”

WHAT ROLE ARE YOU TAKING PERSONALLY WITH HER TO BUOY HER EMOTIONALLY?  “The same as I have the whole year.  I’m not playing cheerleader.  I’m just here to answer questions for her when she has them.  You could tell somebody exactly what to expect, but they have to go out and feel it themselves.  The biggest thing is just being available when she has questions to sit there and answer them when she has a question. You can’t tell people they have to learn and just having somebody there that can answer the questions when you have them is an important deal for her.”

DANICA (PATRICK) WAS TALKING TODAY ABOUT HOW YOU ARE PUTTING HER ON THE TOUGHEST TRACKS THAT ARE OUT THERE.  CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS WHY YOU DID THAT? “The biggest thing is she’s going to have to run these track eventually anyway.  This is a scenario this year where she is not racing for points and this year is more a learning year.  You want to take her to the hardest places first and at least give her that opportunity to get some experience there before she comes full time next year and is running for points.  It’s not meant to be easy.  It’s supposed to be hard and it’s supposed to be frustrating.  You are supposed to leave here scratching your head wondering, but that is part of the learning curve of joining this sport.  I’m sure at the end of the year she’s going to hate me, but when she comes back to these tracks next year it is going to make sense why we brought her here.”


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