Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Humble Stewart 'Just a Piece of the Puzzle'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Humble Stewart 'Just a Piece of the Puzzle'

Article excerpt




Tony Stewart won his second NASCAR Cup Series championship in four years with a 15th-place finish in the Ford 400 on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Stewart finished 35 points ahead of Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards to earn more than $5.8 million in bonuses, pushing his 2005 total to more than $12 million.

After the race, Stewart talked to the media about his season. Here are excerpts of that news conference:

Q: You had a meeting with team president J.D. Gibbs last year about your position at Joe Gibbs Racing. You went into that meeting not knowing if you had a job, but you said you came out with a better understanding of your position with the team. What was said in that meeting?

The impact of it was pretty big. And we don't have to go into the details of what it was about. Sometimes bad things have to happen for good things to come out of it. This was something that was definitely an eye-opening experience for me.

It was a meeting that Zippy [crew chief Greg Zipadelli] wasn't in. He had always been the in-between guy. When the guys would complain about something I did, they'd complain to Zippy. And if I was going to complain about something the guys did, I'd complain to Zippy about it. He was the go-to guy in all that.

That's why 2002 was such a year of turmoil for all of us. That's why this year means so much more to win it for him without all that turmoil where we can enjoy the year instead of just being glad the year is over because of all the garbage that went on. All the guys and me sat down, and we talked . . . everybody got to air everything out. It was probably the most stressful meeting I've ever gone into in my life. I didn't know what the outcome of the meeting was going to be. I didn't even know if I was going to have a job. …

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