PRESS CONFERENCE: NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: ALL-STAR RACE
May 19, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
KERRY THARP: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has transferred into the Sprint All?Star Race by virtue of his second?place finish here tonight in the Sprint Showdown. He drives the No.17 Best Buy Ford for Roush?Fenway Racing. Ricky, talk about now you move on to the big race, an opportunity to win $1 or $2 million. Congratulations.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Thank you. That's going to be tough. That was really cool getting in through the Showdown. We wanted to win that thing. I thought we had a car yesterday that was going to be capable of running up front for the lead, but we'll take second and give ourselves an opportunity to keep working on it and see if we can't figure out some things for next week.
The more laps the better for me in a Cup car. We're definitely excited about it and we couldn't keep up that first segment and Scott and the guys made some great changes to the car and we were able to get it freed up and get it turning a lot better for us and were able to hold on to second.
The restart was a lot of fun, and I'm sure we're going to have a lot more of that here in a minute.
Q. Right before the start you did something with DW and you seemed kind of confident that you would race your way in. How come? Is it just because you were that confident in the car?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Yeah, I think I enjoy mile?and ?a?half racetracks, and seems like we've been better on short runs this year than what we have throughout the whole race.
I felt like we had a better car than what we had there. I was a little disappointed once we went green to start, but definitely it was a lot better that second run. But I was a lot more confident in the car than when we started after the first three laps of that first segment, I was a little disappointed.
Q. Who did you vote for for the fan vote?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: No one.
KERRY THARP: Our winner of the Sprint Showdown and now he'll transfer into the 2013 NASCAR Sprint All?Star Race is Jamie McMurray. Congratulations, had a strong car. You drove the No.1 Bass Pro Shops National Wild Turkey Foundation Chevrolet, and talk about your run out here tonight. Congratulations on the win.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, I mean, obviously being out front is massive. When I got by Martin at the start of the race, I was only running?? I was trying to take it easy because I didn't know with the track being green how quickly the tires would fall off, and even running at like 80 percent it was amazing what a difference just being in clean air was. I had a really good car in practice yesterday. I thought honestly the 56 and I had the two best cars looking at times yesterday, and then the two?tire stop was the right call for us, it got us up front. When the 13 chose the inside on the restart I felt really good about being able to get around him on no tires and the fact that I had the outside.
That was good.
Q. Jamie, you've won here before. You've got 40 laps on the field of knowledge. Do you think you can do it?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Well, starting in the back is going to be completely different. I haven't run one lap behind a car yet. In practice yesterday I pulled out on new tires behind a car that was a fair bit off the pace and it took me four or five laps to pass him and then as soon as you'd pass, you'd be half a second, three quarters of a second faster. It's going to be really hard to pass cars. I think there will be a lot of strategy in the pits.
So I don't know. I will tell you that I've raced my way in before, but I have a much better car tonight than what I've ever had here. I feel really good about it. I think if we have track position certainly we could be a contender tonight. Our car is really quick.
Q. Jamie, are you saying that we may be looking at a race where the guy who gets out front is just going to say goodbye to the rest of the field?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Well, it's only 20 laps and these cars have so much grip that it's going to be hard to pass the guy up front, absolutely. It's that way every week, it's just that here only being 20 laps you don't have to conserve anything. You can drive it as hard as you want, and it's very aero sensitive. The thing that I noticed in practice is normally the top groove in 3 and 4 will come in and if you get tight on the bottom you can make a lot of ground up on the top. I always run up there and I couldn't make it work yesterday.
I'd be curious to see if we can make that work with a lot more cars on the track and how it's going to come in. It's no different than any other week, I'm just telling you that my car up front was quite a bit better.
Q. What does it mean to get in, even if you're not able to win the money and everything, just to get in, the attention. What does that mean?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Well, if you're a full?time Sprint Cup guy and you don't win a race and you're not in that race, last night for me, it's really hard. You want to feel like you're a part of that A team and that you're a part of these guys, and it's even harder when you've been a part of it before, when you've won races and you get to do all the pit crew stuff, you get to come in on pit road at 10,000 miles an hour last night, I wanted to get to be a part of all of that. When you go home early tonight, the guys that are leaving right now, it's hard. They'll all tell you that. It's really hard to get in your car and drive out of here and listen to this race on the radio or get home, take a shower and then watch it on TV. Yeah, I feel it's an honor to get to do this tonight.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Yeah, it means a lot more sure. For me, first year here and first opportunity to make the All?Star Race. I've watched it a lot and hopefully we can continue to be a part of it. Definitely didn't want to go home early. I've not qualified for a race throughout my years, and that's about as bad as it gets. So definitely excited about it.
Q. Jamie, you mentioned a vibration on the radio. Is that anything to worry about?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, I'm a little worried about it. I didn't know what it was. We've had some issues with tires spinning on the rims and getting out of balance, and it doesn't feel like that. We all bring engines here that are on kill. Our engine tonight is running much hotter than normal, got more tape on the grille, just experimenting, so I get nervous about that just because I worry about everything in general so when something small happens I tend to worry more. I wasn't going to say anything on the radio but I said something?? I didn't know if they let them plug the tap lap in to check whatever changes we can make. There's nothing we can do about it, but I really don't know what it is.
KERRY THARP: Thank you, guys. Good luck in the all?star race.
Also transferring into the 2013 NASCAR Sprint All?Star Race is Danica Patrick as she wins the 2013 Sprint Fan Vote. She drives the No.10 Go Daddy Chevrolet for Stewart?Haas Racing. You had a nice run out there tonight. Talk about getting to race under the lights for $1 million, possibly $2 million in the Sprint All?Star Race.
DANICA PATRICK: Well, obviously first and very foremost, thank you to all the fans who voted for me or maybe voted so many times for me. I'm very fortunate to have the fan base that I do, and I never forget that. Thanks to the Sprint Fan Vote.
Obviously being able to vote on your app and have that vote twice, that's probably helpful. It's a big honor. This is for the fans. God, I'm going to sound really cheesy right now. I'm going to race for the fans tonight because I really, really?? I got done with that race and honestly I feel really fired up. I wanted to make passes and make my way up and do what I could to get into those first two positions and didn't do that, and I feel like I owe it to them to put on a good show or a better show in the All?Star Race.
My good team here made something?? I didn't know they made it, so I don't want this to sound like I'm coming up with this all on my own, but they knew how good my fans were and I knew how hard they worked, so we made a thanks, fans, sign to put on the car just in case I won, so thank you, Team Danica and Stewart?Haas. So that'll be on the car. Anyway, glad to be in the race.
Q. I don't know if you thought you had the fan vote in your pocket or anything, but I'm wondering??
DANICA PATRICK: Shoot, this looks like it was in my pocket, doesn't it? (Laughter.)
Q. It's because you kind of thought that you would get in that way that you were able to conserve or keep the car clean or anything?
DANICA PATRICK: I mean, I think that it enters your mind that you don't do things that are going to put you in a position to crash, but I didn't think about that at the beginning of those 20?lap runs, but when it gets to end of them, like at the end there where I was running where I was running, I clearly wasn't going to be first or second, so if I was in a fortunate enough position to be where I am now and be the fan vote, I can't move on with a crashed car and there's nothing to be gained by trying something desperate in the last five laps. I suppose at that point in time you say finish the race and there's nothing to be gained to do something that's not calculated at all.
Q. Why do you think your fan base is so rabid and supportive of you?
DANICA PATRICK: I feel like that would be a good piece. I don't know. I feel like some fans need to be interviewed and find out what it is. I've said many times that I'm not sure exactly what it is that people like or see or cheer for in me. I would imagine I'm a driver and I race cars, and to some degree obviously being different being a girl there's things there, but what is it? There's lots of unique different drivers out there.
I don't know. All I have said and that I know is that I do my best to be myself all the time, to let the fans see different sides of my personality, to be honest with the fans, and at the end of the day, even if they don't necessarily agree with everything I say or do, at least they can respect my honesty. I've just been really lucky and I've been very fortunate to have you guys on my side many, many times, and that makes a difference.
KERRY THARP: Danica, congratulations. Look forward to watching your race.
DANICA PATRICK: Thank you. I'm fired up. Let's do this.