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Monday Conversation: James Stewart

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San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart recorded his 10th victory of the season in Jacksonville, pulling to within five points of championship leader Chad Reed. But it wasn’t the win that was the news, it was the constant confrontations between the two that got everyone talking. We talked to James after the race to get his side of it all.

Racer X: First off, James, talk about what went on in practice between the two of you. You guys were jawing at each other quite a bit in that second practice session.
James Stewart: We were just talking about who was going to win the race tonight... That was it... No, I mean, the championship’s on the line, and there is tension. If I threw dirt at him, or he threw dirt at me, we’re going to flare up, and it’s just part of racing. He rode great tonight. I can’t take anything away from him, and for me, I just came out on the better end. I have a week off to regroup, and we’ll see what happens.

In the main event, you guys started getting into it with each other again. From your perspective, what was going on there?
Racing for a championship. There are five points separating us, and that’s all that’s about. I think anybody in the world would do that, and at the end of the day, it was a fun race; nobody went down, and it was a fair battle.

When you come into Jacksonville, I know it’s not super-close to home, but it’s sort of a home race being in Florida and everything. How did that affect your weekend?
Honestly, I hate it! I hate it being so close. There are so many people, and everybody knows you, and it’s more of an inconvenience than anything. But man, the track was awesome tonight, and Dirt Wurx and everybody did a good job covering this track. A couple of days ago, we didn’t think we were going to have a track like this, and it’s pretty cool to see this. It’s definitely the best dirt I’ve ever rode on, for sure.

Really?
Yeah, by far...

Is it because this is kind of the type of dirt you grew up riding on?
Yeah, you know, I came here and built the track on Monday, so I guess I can’t say anything bad about my track [laughs]. But no, it was really good. It kind of reminds me of my house a little bit, and it would probably for anybody who lives in Florida, they would recognize this dirt.

With the break coming up, what do you plan on doing? Are you going to take some time off, or...
Well, I don’t know. I mean, I have plenty of time off, so I’m going to just keep it going and work hard. For me, tonight, that showed a little bit, and we’ll see what happens from here. I think everybody’s happy for the week off, but for me, I’m just going to go back, play a little golf, and have some fun.

Well, I saw that video Wes made for opening ceremonies [that shows Stewart struggling on sport after sport before finding his motorcycle], and it looks like you’re not very good at golf...
Hey, that’s just a video, guy... Just a video [laughs].

When you and Chad Reed got together at the end of the straightaway following the second triple, what was going through your head? You were getting into the turn and then you and Reed tangled...
I landed and was going to the inside, and we hit. I knew he was that close, obviously, but I didn’t know he was going to go in... Obviously, I knew what he was trying to do: He was trying to get up the inside and block me for that next corner, and I was trying to shut it down. We both tangled, and it kind of scared me right there. But it was good, because I was glad he didn’t go down, and I didn’t go down, because that would’ve sucked for the fans, and we rode it out all 20 laps, and I was able to take it.

So are you expecting that when you and Reed are out there racing, that there will be a lot more tension?
I think it would be tense for anybody. Whether you’re out by 40 points, it’s still tense, because you don’t want to make that mistake, and I think for us, there’s a lot on the line. Who knows what’s going on after this, and I think he feels the same way. We both just want to win this title, and I think it will be special for both of us. At the end of the day, if you can have races like that, and battle, I think people are going to show up.

{LINKS}What are your plans for the outdoors?
I’ll talk to you next week!

There is no “next week” for us, it’s Easter!
Call me [laughs].
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