We caught up with the Sprint Cup Series Champion at the tail end of his media tour and heard his thoughts on winning, losing, and celebrating championships Las Vegas style.
Tony Stewart captured this year’s Sprint Cup Series Championship with the closest margin of victory in cup history. We caught up with “smoke” at the tail end of his whirlwind media tour and heard his thoughts on winning, losing, and celebrating Las Vegas style.
Interviewed by Jesse Will
I understand that you’ve done a few interviews after winning the title on Sunday.
Well the good news is that you’re my last one, so I’m very excited to talk to you. But there’s a lot of pressure on you. I mean you’re expected to really step your game up.
Well if I’m the last one… what question hasn’t been asked yet?
Oh my god. I don’t think there has been a question that hasn’t been asked yet. And I’m getting really good at repeating my answers.
How often do you get asked how you pee in the car?
Hmm. About once a month now. Jerry Seinfeld asked me that this morning.
You were scheduled to come visit us in the office, but ran late and had to bolt for the airport. I just want you to know you’re missing a beer tasting.
I’m sad about that. I mean I look forward to those events — that’s right up my alley.
Much has been made of how runner-up Carl Edwards said “If I lose, I’ll be the best loser NASCAR ever had.” Were you surprised by how he lost with such humility? Or is that something you knew about him?
Carl’s always had a lot of class like that, and he’s always very gracious with winning and losing. But I can promise you if I were in his situation I don’t think I could have been as gracious.
Your runner-up quote would not be printable?
Right. I can promise you that exactly. I mean I’m a different person than Carl. And that’s why I think it made a classic battle between the two of us at the end. I think that made it easy for the fans to pick one side or the other, which guy they wanted to side with.
Did you learn anything about your team through the ten weeks of the Chase?
I learned a lot about my whole organization. I mean when you sit there before the Chase starts and you say, “I don’t know if we have a shot,” the team could have hung their head and said, “Our leader doesn’t believe in us.” But we fought hard and got on a roll there.
But you didn’t have an amazing regular season, really. Did the whole team work together differently during the Chase?
I don’t think anybody really did anything different, to be honest. I mean it wasn’t a different feel, it wasn’t a different attitude… It just seemed like the bad luck we had had all year was finally just gone.
So you win this championship, your third, and I’m assuming you get a little bit of money with that, what’s the next thing you’re going to buy? On the day after Thanksgiving you wake up, how are you going to stimulate the economy?
I’m not spending anything, I’m still finishing a house in Indiana that I’ve been building for three years. There’s nothing on my radar that I’m like, “Oh, I gotta buy that.” I’ve got everything that I want right now.
Well we’re in a recession.
I understand. But it’s not my responsibility to stimulate the economy on my own. Percentage wise, I’ll spend as much as you. How’s that?
OK. You guys have one of the shortest vacations in all of sports. When is your next meeting about the 2012 season?
Who’s got a vacation? We’re just now leaving New York, and I’m actually going home for Thanksgiving. But you know I guarantee you tomorrow I’ll be on the phone working on stuff. On the business side of it, you never stop.
Will you sleep less this week, a week after winning the championship, or will you sleep less during Champions Week next week in Vegas?
I will sleep a lot less next week than I will this week. At home for Thanksgiving, I’ll get some sleep there.
But Vegas is a pure party?
Yeah, it’s not looking too good at Vegas.
What does that mean?
I’ve gotten texts from other drivers telling me not to plan on getting too much rest.
So you’re going to have to sober up on the plane.
I didn’t say that I was going to sober up.