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<< News >>

Auto Racing News

Friday, 3 June, 2005 0:29 AM

Exclusive Interview with Tony Stewart at MIS

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Tony Stewart during the press conference at MIS.

by Jason Rzucidlo
AmericaJR@AmericaJR.com

AmericaJR.com's Jason Rzucidlo was the only Detroit reporter on hand for this exclusive interview with Tony Stewart conducted at Michigan International Speedway.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot NASCAR Nextel Cup car, made a special appearance at MIS in Brooklyn, MI. He was there to preview the new renovations to the race track including the AAA Motorsports Fan Plaza and MIS Champions Club. He also took time to answer questions from the media.

MIS President Brett Shelton describes the renovations, "We're building a Walk of Champions at the end of the start/finish line. There will be a wall of our champions since 1968. We recognize the hard work of the teams and drivers."

Mr. Shelton adds, "We've made a lot of progress. I feel good about it. I really do. It will be a pleasant surprise for the fans."

Bill Janitz is the director of public relations at MIS. He reports, "Six months to get all this done is pretty amazing. It all has to be done and will be done. Twnety-two out of the twenty-six acres will be paved. We still get to keep our history and we have a lot of the amenities."

Tony Stewart describe life as a NASCAR driver, "Get in the race car do what I do then go home. We don't have freedom to do anything anymore. I am getting older. I moved back to Indiana. When I go home, its an easy way to be grounded. You learn to realize what truly matters."

The Tony Stewart Home Depot #20 race team began back in 1999. Stewart confesses, "I'm too lazy to work my real job. I love what I do. I've been doing it for 26 years."

Tony Stewart was named one of the 2004's Most Caring Athletes by the USA Weekend Magazine. He started the Tony Stewart foundation with the dream to help chronically ill children and individuals with auto racing injuries. All of the funds that are raised go to The Make-A-Wish foundation, Ronald McDonald's Children's Charities and Kyle and Pattie Petty's Victory Junction Camp.

When asked how he started the foundation, Tony Stewart replied, "My mom came to me one day. It's been one of the most gratifying things."

"Racing to Play" is a new partnership between The Home Depot Racing Team, the Joe Gibbs Racing Team and local Home Depot stores. In just one day, a NASCAR-themed playground will be built just before a NASCAR race.

The first "Racing to Play" playground will be built on June 16, 2005 in Jackson, MI at the Jackson Arts and Technology Academy. The idea is to make a lasting impression on the lives of children who are considered "at-risk."

The following questions were directed by AmericaJR.com's Jason Rzucidlo:

Question: Who got you involved in auto racing?

Answer: My dad got me started in 1979 when I was 8 years old.

Q: What do you like most about MIS?

A: The fishing that's close to here. I'm a serious fisher. It's really a fun trip.

Q: What is your favorite part of racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series?

A: The neat places we get to go. We get to go to Daytona, Vegas, Indianapolis...

Q: How do you feel with the new Nextel Cup rules vs. the old Winston Cup rules?

A: I think it turned out fine. Before I was worried every week. The good thing is it gives you the flexibility.

Tony Stewart recently bought the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. On June 8th, an event called the NASCAR Nextel Prelude to the Dream will take place. Several NASCAR drivers will drive dirt super late models.

The current list of drivers who will participate in that event include Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Kevin Harvick, Dave Blaney, Kenny Schrader, Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace. Eldora Speedway is a half-mile clay oval.

Currently, Tony Stewart is 6th on the NASCAR Nextel Cup points standings. He reports, "Our season has been marginal."

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Tony Stewart talks about the "Racing to Play" playground which will be built at the Jackson Arts and Technology Academy.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

MIS President Brett Shelton and Tony Stewart.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Tony Stewart previews the MIS Champions Club.

Click here to see more pictures.

 

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