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Volume 24 No. 117
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Motorsports Marketing Forum: Tony Stewart Talks Being Owner-Driver, Winning Title

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart kicked off the 12th annual NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas yesterday. Stewart was asked about the recently completed season and stated it was easily one of the best ever. Stewart: “I definitely think so, and not from just our standpoint. Trevor Bayne winning at Daytona, David Ragan also winning in Daytona in July, Regan Smith winning in Darlington -- this was a pretty cool year for first-time winners. Look at so many drivers that ended dry spells. And then you throw on top of that the battle that Carl (Edwards) and I had at the end of the season. You take all those things into account, and this was a very exciting season for a number of people. It was a pretty cool year in NASCAR racing.” Stewart said he learned a great deal about managing during the team’s struggle to even make the Chase for the Sprint Cup and then during the final run to the title. Stewart said his team refused to quit during tough times: “The car ownership side, to me, even though it has been three years, is still new. I don’t have a business background, or management background, but I learned more about my team during this Chase than they learned about themselves.”

NEW WAY OF THINKING: The Stewart-Haas Racing team had a good year on the sponsor front, and Stewart was asked about the team’s approach. “Our attitude is, everyone is trying to fight for the same sponsors, but I think what has attracted new sponsors to us is that we are really trying to think outside the box and how can we work with these partners and really try to maximize their investment and their goals. That has been a part of our company that may be different from other teams. We have a formula and I think it works. I am proud of that.”

* On talking trash to Edwards during the Chase and whether it affected Edwards: “Carl is way too nice to get in that kind of a battle. ... I truly felt it could make a difference. Even if it was just 1% of the difference. It was worth taking four days and taking jabs at my buddy and making him uncomfortable.”
* On flying his entire Stewart-Haas Racing team to Las Vegas to celebrate at the NASCAR banquet: “Probably not my smartest decision. And when I get that hotel bill on Saturday, I’ll probably be sicker from that than the hangover I will have. And I will have a hangover; it’s just part of the business.”
* On whether he is spending time focusing on business metrics: “I can’t even spell 'business metrics.' But I watched the movie ‘The Matrix.’ It was great!”