I've told them several times, privately, publically, I feel like there's no guarantees in this sport. This is a very, very challenging and very competitive sport in the Sprint Cup Series, but I feel like I can win a championship with this team. That's our goal.
During that phone call when we first talked, the reason why I knew what his situation was, because as friends, we were talking a lot about all the opportunities that can come his way. He would say, what do you think about this or what do you think about that, because he knows I'm pretty blunt and I'll tell him my thoughts.
Then when this opportunity came - at the time it was only six races. He said: I have an opportunity to go run for a full-time team and run all year, probably make more money, but if I get the chance to run those six races, I would rather run at a place where I can win. If I can just get a place where I can win, I would rather do that than run every week.
And he took that whole 2012 season and took that into consideration, ran our six races. We actually rewarded him with two more and now it's up to nine this year. Hopefully it will be way, way more than that going into the future. That's to his credit. He was not going to take a situation just to get back into the car and prove to everybody that he could do it. He came back into the right situation.
Last restart, we saw yesterday, several times today, guys would barrel in there on the bottom and just use up the guy on the outside. I thought Kyle Busch and Tony did everything they could to get to your door without getting into you and gave you a fair shot, they gave themselves every chance to win. Can you talk about what you thought of the way that final restart went and how they treated you, and I'd like to know from Ty and Rodney just what your feelings were going into that restart and what you felt when you was driving away and you didn't want to see it?
You know, it was a bit of a double-edged sword. I know Tony was going on the inside, and I say that with the utmost respect. I've had some fierce battles with Tony over the years. We for the most part agreed and had some great racing and occasionally we have not.
But through all of that, I feel like we've earned a mutual respect. It goes without saying I have a tremendous amount of respect for Tony Stewart as a race car driver. He's been a friend, a mentor at times, an enemy at times. But the one thing I knew is that he was going to race me harder than just about anyone else out there; but I also knew that he wasn't going to wreck me. Certainly not intentionally. He was going to race me clean and with respect.
So it was a bit of a double-edged sword. Gosh, the last person I want to have to battle on a green-and-white checkered is Tony Stewart. That guy, when he digs deep, he finds something that most people just didn't kind and that's not what I wanted beside me.
At the same time, I knew that he was not going to go off there and just hit me. He was not going to run me off the racetrack and he was not going to wreck me, and that's the double edged sword I'm talking about. But I thank him for racing me clean and hard.
Most importantly, it was this car that gave me the opportunity. I mean, man, we had a fast race car. We were - I don't know, it was just unbelievably fast and Rodney kept telling me at the end of the race, you're good, slow down. I'm like, I'm slowing down, I'm rolling out early, and it just kept going. That's thanks to Rodney and the engineers and everybody on this race team. They just gave me a great piece, especially in the race like Rodney said.