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Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing - Q&A

Well, we got a crew chief, and I think we're getting - I think he will dictate the crew members on that team like every crew chief always does, but I think Zippy is more in tune with exactly the details of what all is going to be - what all is going to have to happen to accommodate the fourth team, to get a lot of the new equipment that Gene wants to get through this process, and things that will help not only his car but all of our cars.

That's more a question for Zippy as far as every aspect of what it's going to take to do it. My role through this as well as healing is to be a cheerleader and keep Zippy pumped up. Like I said, he can't wait for me to get healed up because he wants to beat the crap out of me right now for getting him in this position. But he's been amazing through all this. This is a new - this is a relatively new role. He's been in this role for two years now, but there's a lot that's going to be happening, and two winters in a row we're not going to be on cruise control like he would - I don't think any team ever is in cruise control in the winter, you're always pushing hard, but this is going to be a different year just like last year was of getting new cars done last year.

Now it's going to be new equipment, making changes to the building, adding a second building on the lot next door. There's just a lot of stuff that's going to be new, and Zippy is really the spearhead of that whole thing and going to be the guy that's going to organize and orchestrate that.

Again, like we mentioned when we did the press conference about hiring Zippy, there's nobody I trust more through this process than him, and literally like when he said that he thought we could do this and it wasn't going to be fun and it wasn't going to be easy but we could do it, then that's what pushed me over the edge to say, okay, I'm in 100 per cent with the timing of it, let's do it.

Q:
(No microphone.)

Tony Stewart:
Yes. Yeah. I don't know if we've done any formal announcements on that, but yeah.

Q:
We just did.

Tony Stewart:
Welcome to Tony doesn't remember protocol here. (Laughter.)

Q:
Since the news of Kurt Busch came out, I was just wondering if you'd had a chance to have a heart-to-heart with Ryan, and are you guys okay at this point?

Tony Stewart:
Ryan and my relationship is still the same. Since this has happened the last week, I really haven't had time to sit down with a heart-to-heart. Obviously he had a busy weekend with the Coke ride-along last week and the dinner on Thursday and then Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and during the weekend I wanted him to stay focused on what's going on. But I think today will answer a lot of his questions, but I still will have a conversation with him about it.

But the biggest thing is I want him to focus on what we're trying to accomplish this year, and even when we spoke earlier this year before we made the announcement at Loudon, we were both very adamant to each other that our friendship was going to stay the same and we both knew where each of us stood as far as the business side of this and understanding that it wasn't emotionally driven, that it was business driven, and that through this our friendship would stay the same, and this won't change that.

Q:
In the immediate time after the accident, did you fear about losing your leg or the end of your career or something like that because this sounds like such a dramatic injury? And secondly, you mentioned earlier about coming in and running the team in essence for the last five years, now Gene is seemingly becoming more involved in some sense. What kind of an adjustment is that in trying to learn how to work with in essence a 50/50 partner as they start to assert themselves a little bit more?

Tony Stewart:
Well, the great thing is for five years I've done all the press conferences, all the meet-and-greets, and I welcome Gene doing some of these. I don't think there's a shot that he'll do that.

But it's not really - I welcome that change. Like I said, I'm proud that I have a partner that wants to be engaged and has steadily done that for the last five years and become more engaged as this has gone on. That's a good sign. I mean, for a guy that has a lot of responsibility of running a multimillion dollar CNC business, he's emotionally invested in this as much as he is financially. He keeps adding to that emotional side to it, too, which is great.




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