Stewart will race in the Daytona 500 on Sunday.
Dan Patrick: Are you enjoying the fact that your long hair is upsetting some people?
Tony Stewart: I love it. Just the fact that they keep raising such a big stink about it keeps making me want to grow it longer and longer—just to make them more upset. I've never seen any sport where a topic like this is actually a topic.
DP: This may be sacrilegious to you, but if they remade Smokey and the Bandit, would you be the Bandit?
TS: Oh, God, absolutely. Are you kidding me? I would stop everything I'm doing just to play that role.
DP: If I said Smokey and the Bandit begins shooting this week or you drive in the Daytona 500....
TS: I'm going to shoot the movie with you.
DP: I'm putting Burt Reynolds in there as Smokey, O.K.?
TS: Yeah, absolutely. I think the only way this is really going to work, though, is if you play Buford T. Justice.
DP: If I said you're going cross-country and you've got three guys in the backseat, who's going with you?
TS: Well, I can promise you it wouldn't be three guys. I'd take three girls with me.
DP: That's fair. Who are the ladies?
TS: I would pick Halle Berry, Carmen Electra and probably Angelina Jolie.
DP: You're looked at as that blue-collar workingman's driver from the Midwest. But you switched from Chevy to Toyota. Any grief from the fans about going with a foreign car?
TS: Not so far. The thing that I like about Joe and J.D. [Gibbs] as car owners is that they are going to do whatever it takes for us to win championships. Obviously, they thought that this was the right direction for us. So I stand behind them on that.
DP: Aren't you proud? The interview's over and I didn't ask you how important it is for you to win the Daytona 500.
TS: That's why I actually like you.
THE FINE PRINT: Phil Mickelson took an 11 on the 14th at Pebble. So Peter Ueberroth, who was in the foursome, got to say "You're away, Phil" four times in a row.
Go to DANPATRICK.COM for more from Tony Stewart and other recent interviews, and hear live audio of Dan's radio show, 9 a.m. to noon ET, Mon.-Fri.
GRANT HALVERSON/GETTY IMAGES (STEWART)
TONY GUTIERREZ/AP (STEWART)
ILLUSTRATION BY KEITH WITMER