Charlotte II: Newman - Thursday media visit

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TRANSFORMERS: "REVENGE OF THE FALLEN" IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed the No. 39 team performance in the Chase, safety at Talladega, racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway, racing at ...

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TRANSFORMERS: "REVENGE OF THE FALLEN" IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed the No. 39 team performance in the Chase, safety at Talladega, racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway, racing at Martinsville and other topics.

TALK ABOUT BEING HERE AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY: "I look forward to it. Based off of our performance here in the spring and the more experience we have had together as a team and as an organization, I think we can hopefully try to deliver. Haven't had the greatest Chase. We have had some decent runs but between Jimmie (Johnson) and Mark (Martin) and a couple of other guys, they are kind of putting us to shame. I guess we haven't shined like we wanted to shine to this point, but it hasn't been for a lack of effort to try to try to luster."

HAS THIS SEASON BEEN WHAT YOU WANTED IT TO BE AND HOW HUNGRY ARE YOU TO GET BACK TO VICTORY LANE? "I really didn't have, per se, expectations. I had a lot of desire and I know we had the potential and the abilities, both personally and professionally with the team. I didn't expect to finish first; I didn't expect to finish in the top-10. I didn't expect to finish 15th. I didn't have expectations in respect to that. I just knew that if I put my best effort forward and worked to get the best I could with the team and the organization, then where we finish would necessarily be a surprise, but it all depends on what we are deserving of. I feel I feel that we have done a very good job as a team and as an organization to get to where we are. We haven't achieved all of our goals. We haven't won that race. So yes, there is a huge desire to win that first race. I'm as hungry as an Ethiopian; they still aren't getting fed are they? (LAUGHTER ALL AROUND AT METAPHOR) The bottom line is, there is a ton of desire there and this is a great place for it. We finished second here in the spring with a little strategy. We were in position to win the All-Star Race and won the pole. As we always say, it would be a great place to get back in victory lane."

WHAT IS IT YOU LIKE ABOUT MARTINSVILLE? "I don't know? (LAUGHS) I like the short track racing. The more a driver has input, especially with some of the race tracks we go to, you don't have to brake a lot, the more the driver has input, the more the driver has an effect. The short track racing I definitely enjoy because of that. You go to a place like Michigan or California, it takes less driver and more car than it does at a short track in my opinion. That is one of the things that I enjoy about Martinsville. We had a good run there in the spring. We struggled for the first two-thirds of the race and finally got the car better and got up in the top-10. I look forward to going back especially obviously with the Hendrick support and how well they have done there in the past four or five years. It is a fun race track as long as you stay out of trouble and keep your brakes cool."

YOUR CAR WAS SO FAST OFF THE CORNERS IN THE ALL-STAR, WAS THAT SOME R & D STUFF OR WILL WE SEE THAT THIS WEEKEND AS WELL? "We had a great engine package. That was one thing. It was designed for that All-Star Race. I think a lot of guys did. I think we got our car back right, we know we had a component failure early in the race. Got it fixed, almost got two laps down. With a little bit of Jimmie's help, got the lucky dog and got back on the lead lap all in one shot there. We were almost two laps down and got back on the lead lap and that kind of saved our day. Fought our way back up. We had a fast race car and yes, you are right, it was kind of biased coming off the corner. We had some awesome runs down the straightaways. It was a combination of car and engine. We just got in the wrong place at the wrong time or wrong place at the right time I guess you could say coming off turn four and got in the fence with the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon).

WHAT WILL CHANGE FOR YOU GUYS IF IT IS AS COOL SATURDAY NIGHT HERE AS IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE, WHAT WILL THAT FORCE YOUR TEAM TO DO OR CHANGES TO MAKE? "I don't think a whole lot. It isn't going to be cold enough, I think this is a track and the tire combination....the track has aged enough that the tires are getting back to being soft enough that you don't have to worry about cold tires. At some race tracks, you do have to worry about that, per se more the flatter race tracks. Places like Loudon and Richmond. I think, not a whole lot. It is just going to be cooler in the race car. The cars are going to be faster. It is going to be closer to wide open, a lot faster lap times than we typically see here in the daytime. I think it will be great racing providing Mother Nature lets us start on time."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE HALL OF FAME SELECTIONS? "I thought it was pretty good. I didn't see the whole list of nominees but I thought everybody that was elected was deserving of being elected. I think it is great what NASCAR is doing with the Hall of Fame to preserve and give honor to the people who have helped define the sport. It is a pretty cool deal."

ON HALLOWEEN AT TALLADEGA, ARE YOU GOING TO BE IN COSTUME AND TRICK OR TREAT IN THE COACH LOT? "I think anyone who Trick or Treats is going to Trick or Treat in the infield, not the coach lot. (LAUGHS) I guess I will have to go as myself. I don't do that stuff. Seriously. Look at me I eat enough candy."

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT LAST YEAR TO STAY FOCUSED ON THE JOB YOU ARE FINISHING UP AND NOT THINK FORWARD? "We were still trying to win races, but we weren't in the Chase. It was a little difficult in respect to that. I didn't change any of my desire but I think within the Penske organization, they changed some of their desire. I didn't get some of the new engine stuff. I didn't get the new chassis stuff. I was the Black Sheep from Michigan on, which was understandable. I not holding any grudges against it. I was looking forward to getting the year over obviously because we didn't achieve the goals we wanted to achieve. The only thing left to win was poles and races and we were struggling at doing that obviously. It was good season to end. Probably the happiest I've been at the end of the season and rightfully so. The most excited I have been to start a season this year in quite a while.

"I still did my team meetings. I was still welcome at the shop. It was a little different for me than it is now for him (Pat Tryson). I don't know if that was more his decision or the team's decision. I'm not in that loop and I don't want to be. I felt like I was treated with a lot of respect last year, it was a different situation."

WHAT IS YOUR ANALYSIS OF WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING WITH THE CARS AT TALLADEGA AND DAYTONA AS A DRIVER AND AN ENGINEER? DID YOU GET IN ANY TROUBLE FOR BEING OUTSPOKEN? "I didn't get in any trouble. I would tell you if I did because I don't mind being in trouble once and a while as long as it is for the right reason and that is talking about safety. The one thing that they, meaning NASCAR has done, has reduce the size of the restrictor plate which is important because the speed, not necessarily closing or drafting or anything like that, but just pure speed, the fast we go, the more likely we are to get airborne. You take horsepower away, you are taking speed away and therefore, I think it is going to be safer from that respect. I know the track has done things on their part with the fencing and the cables and the addition cables and additional fencing which is important for the fans. My ultimate answer still is whatever we can do to help keep the race cars on the ground aerodynamically. I don't know what has been done, I have my own ideas. My question is has the car been in the wind tunnel backwards to see how much lift it creates? Have we, as in teams or NASCAR, collectively done those things? When Carl's (Edwards) car was airborne, it airborne all by itself. He got turned around, but he was backing up the race track and it got airborne. I know that because when I hit him, he hit me right in the windshield with his left rear tire. His left rear tire was 36 inches off the ground. That started the big mess. But the small mess that started the big mess was his car getting off the ground. Whatever we can do as teams, collectively with NASCAR, to try and keep the cars on the ground is the ultimate, in my opinion, safety situation in respect to the type of accident we saw there. I mean obviously there are huge impacts. There are grass issues and there are other things that we have to worry about when we have crashes but cars getting airborne are some of the worst we've ever seen."

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MISSING FROM THE NO. 39 TEAM RUNNING AS GOOD AS THE NO. 14 TEAM? "I think part of us is just us communication wise and team wise being perfect because that is what it takes. We're competing against Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus and Jeff Gordon and Steve Letarte who have been together for so long. And obviously Darian (Grubb) and Tony (Stewart) are new together but I think their group gelled a little quicker than our group and that happens in racing. I think that we've struggled a little big making the car better from the start of the race to the end of the race. Our practice sessions typically go very well. Our average speeds are pretty much in the top-10 every week. If we start the race as a fifth place car, we'll end the race as a seventh to 10th place car. I think that we need to be better collectively at that. I don't know what the ultimate answer is in respect to that. Just looking at the trends and where we have been strong and where we have been weak, we're stronger at the start and weaker at the end. That's a big part of it in my opinion."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Chad Knaus , Kyle Busch