5 Minutes With... James Stewart

February 19, 2009 8:35am | by:
At San Diego, San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart reeled off his sixth win in a row and tied rival Chad Reed for the points lead. After Anaheim I, there were few people who would’ve predicted that. Now, as the series heads east, it’s almost like a new series altogether. We talked to Stewart after the race.

Racer X: How does it feel to be the co-points-leader?
James Stewart: (Laughs) It feels good! It feels like we’re walking into the A1 press conference again. To come out of here tied with the points lead after [what happened at] A1, I don’t think anyone would’ve believed that except for myself and our crew. We went back and started working hard, and I think it’s been showing. The tables have turned from A1 and Phoenix. I don’t believe in momentum. I believe in working hard and making things happen, and I get to go home now, and I haven’t been home since December, so for me it’s going to feel good.

That’s interesting that you don’t believe in momentum. So, you’re basically saying that last week’s win has nothing to do with this week’s win, is that correct?
No, I think the guys on the team working their butts off is where you get all this. If it was momentum, I wouldn’t have to be working so hard, but I still work hard. People who believe in momentum start slacking, and I don’t. I think it’s showing right now. The last few races, I’ve been feeling really good, and it’s been showing, so, for me to go home and ride on my tracks, it’s only going to help, hopefully.

People did the math after Anaheim I, and with 18 points down on Chad Reed, and you had six rounds before the series headed east... Considering how that went, I don’t think many people would’ve put money on you being tied for the points lead as the series headed east.
Yeah, there was a lot of criticism and all that, and like I said, I believe in myself, and I knew what we had to work on after A1. I wasn’t giving my title fight up there, and we’ve still got a long way to go. There’s a lot of series left, and I know that, so with 10 rounds to go, we’re going to keep working hard and making it happen. I do know for sure, though, that there weren’t a lot of people after A1 who believed that by the time we left San Diego, we’d be tied. If the series ended tomorrow, I’d be the champion.

Right, because the tie goes to the guy who has won the most races...
Yeah, for sure, so we’re going to keep working hard. The track here in San Diego was awesome tonight. It was short, but it was a fun track. I don’t know why, but it was really fun tonight, and I had a great time.

You looked really smooth, too. Obviously, you were going fast, but everything looked deliberate, which hasn’t always been the case this year.
I think the biggest thing that’s happening is the bike is working really good. There was no twitchiness or nothing out of the ordinary, so that makes it look smooth. Honestly, for all these victories, I want to give my team the props. While I’ve been busting my butt, working hard, all of them have been, too, and all the credit goes to Larry Brooks, Oscar, Paul – all those guys back at the shop – because they really made it happen. They made me feel comfortable, and I can’t say enough. To go into the east coast tied after the way we started, those guys deserve every bit of credit I can give them.

When did you start feeling this comfortable? Was it in Houston?
Yeah, I think it started in Houston. Everything was starting to click there, then at San Fran I felt good, and at Anaheim III, I felt good, but tonight was the best so far. For me, that’s a good feeling, knowing that I’m starting to feel good, and that now I get to go home and feel comfortable during the week, not riding on the test tracks, and doing my own deal. My hat’s off to them, and hopefully we can keep it rolling.

{LINKS}Now, what do you think about the tracks as we head east?
I mean, I think it will be good. One thing I’m pumped on right now is my cornering, and it was really good tonight, and I look forward to the east coast because if I can turn here, I definitely can turn back there. I think that’s going to make a difference. I know Chad, and he’s a champion. He doesn’t have that number-one plate for nothing, and he’s going to work hard just like we are, and like I said at A1, the best guy will end up winning, and whether it’s me or him, it’s going to be a dog fight.