4 September 2013
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing - Q&A
I don't know that I learned much about myself. I pretty much knew already that I could sleep 20 hours out of a 24-hour day going into this. But the team I've learned a lot about. The one thing, Greg Zipadelli, I can tell you this, when I heal, Greg Zipadelli is going to be the first one to try to kill me when I heal from this, but I've never been more proud of him and everyone here at Stewart-Haas. To go through what we're going through and try to make the changes and the growth that we're going through all at the same time and in such a short amount of time and go through this injury, this team has stayed extremely focused.
I'm proud of the group we've got. I think everybody has just kind of said this is the cards we're dealt, now what's next and what do we do. Nobody sat there like oh, this is doom and gloom. They're like what's next, how do we make the adjustment and what's the plan going forward.
I've probably learned more about the team than I have about myself, which I've been very impressed with. I think they've done a great job.
When you were injured and you're sitting there in your own space, how much concern did you have about letting people down, your team and your employees and your sponsors and all the tentacles that come from Tony Stewart?
You know, you never want something like this to happen, but a perfect example this week is Bobby Labonte was riding his bike and broke three ribs and missed a race. It's just life, guys. Things happen every day. You can't guard against all the time, and the thing is you've got to live life. You can't spend your whole life trying to guard against something happening. If you do that, in my opinion you've wasted your time. We are all here a short amount of time in the big picture, and I'm somebody that wants to live life. I'm not somebody that wants to sit there and say, I've got to guard against this and I've got to worry about that.
I mean, if I got in a race car and didn't wear a helmet and didn't wear seatbelts, then that would be dangerous, and that's being foolish. We don't do that. But I'm going to go live my life. I'm going to take full advantage of whatever time I've got on this earth. I'm going to ride it out to the fullest and I'm going to get my money's worth; you can bet your butt on that.
Last week Gene Haas was here talking about the fourth team, and he made a couple of jokes and comments about you guys weren't necessarily on the same page when he proposed the idea to you. Are you now? Have you guys worked through it? Are you excited about it? Where are you?
Well, it wasn't as dramatic as he made it sound. You know, when Gene came to me about the fourth team, he told me on a Monday, and then on Thursday I was told that they had a contract ready. So it definitely moved a lot faster, but in that time frame there were a lot of meetings in three days. And the biggest thing was having Greg Zipadelli sit there and say we can do this and we can get it done in a time frame. That was my concern. It wasn't that I was against the idea of what Gene had in mind.
In all honesty, you think about what role he's played in this company, ever since I've been a part of Stewart-Haas with him, every year he's become more engaged than the year before, and for him to go out and take an opportunity like this to go find somebody like Kurt and do it in a time frame and make this happen in such a short amount of time has really been encouraging to me as his partner in this deal.
It was just me getting caught up more than anything, and when he asked me about it, I wanted to make sure that we had the time - the timing is very tight, and we're going to have to get a lot done in a short amount of time to accomplish this. But I think it was really Greg saying we can do this and we can get this done in the time frame, and it may not be fun and it may not be easy, but we can do it. That was what made me finally give my 100 per cent blessing on it.
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