“NASCAR has a program called the Winners Circle Program,” Stewart said. “Drivers that have won from the previous year, every event that is coming up on the schedule a driver will go do an event like we did (Tuesday) to help promote that. It is a great program and if you think about it, it makes sense.
“I’m not sure when a football team is coming to town that they actually take the time to do that in advance. It is a program that NASCAR has put together and all the drivers are pretty supportive of it.”
The idea of stopping safe drivers is something that the marketing department at Talladega Superspeedway had success with several years ago and they decided to bring it back.
“We were very excited to have Tony Stewart here today,” Senior Director of Communications and Consumer Marketing Kristi King said. “Tony is a big advocate of Talladega Superspeedway. When we found out that he was one of the drivers that we were going to get in NASCAR’s Winner Circle program, we contacted them and tried to come up with something new and creative instead of the traditional media tour.
“One the thing that we have been known for over the years is the state trooper pulling over campaign. The only other person that has done it was Dale Earnhardt, Sr. several years ago here and it was legendary. We spoke with Tony’s folks and they were interested in doing it. We met with the highway parole and they were interested in doing it. We had a great day out there (Tuesday). The fans were excited. Tony stopped people for following the law. Tony pulled people over for doing the right thing like wearing seat belts, so it was a lot of fun.”
Stewart won the Aaron’s 499 in the spring of 2008, but he is not a huge fan of Talladega being one of the 10 races in the Chase.
“I like Talladega, but I’m not sure if I like it as a Chase race,” Stewart said. “I like having two races there; they are definitely important races to what we do. When you are a competitor in the Chase and you realize what’s on the line and what’s at stake. It is a little nerve racking, that race. That is a race where it is not about what you do; it’s what everyone else around you does.”
Stewart is currently 10th in the Chase points standings, 165 points behind leader Denny Hamlin. He knows he has a lot of ground to make up if he is going to contend for the championship.
“I’ll be honest,” Stewart said. “I didn’t even look at the points the other day, so I don’t know who is where. I couldn’t even tell you who is leading in points. This is the stuff you guys have to talk about every week, but it is not stuff that we think about. I know that I am in a hole already. I don’t know how bad the hole is. I know it is bad enough that I don’t even want to look at the point sheet. To me, it is a matter of going out the next eight weeks and going out trying to win races. Whatever we get out of it, we get out of it.”
Being pulled over by the state trooper most of the time means that you are you going to get a fine, but today drivers were excited about getting a different kind of ticket.
“It is very exciting,” Dewayne Dill said. “This is going to be a good ticket.”
Contact LaVonte Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.