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Tony Stewart's new look for Kansas

2 June 2011

Tony Stewart fans may have a little trouble picking out their hero's car during the STP 400 Cup race on Sunday, as a one-race sponsor paints the #14 with a wholly unfamiliar livery. For this week at least, it seems that Stewart's future is not only bright but is indeed very orange, with a large citrus fruit adorning the hood of the #14.

But it was the colour yellow that also dominated the press conference ahead of this weekend's race. Stewart was asked about the controversy surrounding the reasons why a yellow flag didn't come out for a crash at the end of the Coca-Cola 600 simply because it seemed that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was about to win the race.

"I think NASCAR just has to be consistent," he said. "I don't think anybody really has a problem with however they do it, as long as they do it the same every time all the time ... I think just the consistency is the biggest thing."

Pressed to be specific about the end of Sunday's race, Stewart ducked: "Well, we were kind of in a situation that it didn't really pertain to us anyway. I ran out of fuel at the start/finish line or it didn't get to the pick-up, so we really weren't a factor in how the outcome ended up."

Stewart also spoke briefly about the dramatic end to the Indy 500 which saw rookie JR Hildebrand crash out on the final corner at the end of the race.

"You feel for him for sure. The guy was less than a mile away from winning his first Indy 500 in the biggest race of his life. But you know what, it was definitely a mistake. He'll look at that a million times and realize what he could do different," said Stewart.

"His interview after the race [along with car owner John Barnes], I thought those guys were a class act. I don't know how you can even handle that kind of situation being in the position those guys were both in. I just thought they handled it well and with a lot of class."

Back on the subject of the car livery design for the STP 400 race at Kansas, Stewart explained that the large orange emblazoning the hood of Stewart's #14 Chevrolet is to promote a US television cop show set in the Florida Everglades which is called - appropriately enough - The Glades. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) the show has not been picked up by UK television networks yet.

As well as the livery, Stewart also filmed a cameo appearance for the show along with Carl Edwards and Joey Logano.

"No one threw the clapboard down or walked off the set, so I guess I didn't do too bad!" he laughed. "Actually, it was pretty cool. When I got the script, I thought there was no way I could memorize all the lines, and I was right. It was like a page-and-a-half of lines.

"I kind of knew them, but not well. But the director [former Star Trek: The Next Generation star Jonathan Frakes] would feed me the beginning of the line and I'd pick it up and go from there.

"I was nervous at first, but everyone made me feel really comfortable and after that it seemed somewhat normal. I still don't need to quit my day job anytime soon, but it was fun ... I was definitely out of my element. In a racecar, I know exactly what I'm doing, and even when something crops up that you didn't anticipate, experience tells you what kind of action you need to take. But acting's a different deal."

The episode will air in the States on June 26, the weekend that the Sprint Cup competition will be at its road course event at Infineon in Sonoma. "We played ourselves, all three of us were just ourselves as NASCAR drivers. It's a NASCAR-themed show that week."


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