RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) YOU WERE INVOLVED IN THE GOODYEAR TIRE TEST HERE AND HAD TWO PRACTICE SESSIONS YESTERDAY--HOW IS THE RACE TRACK? "I think the racetrack and the tire combinations are in good condition, respectively. I...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger)
YOU WERE INVOLVED IN THE GOODYEAR TIRE TEST HERE AND HAD TWO PRACTICE SESSIONS YESTERDAY--HOW IS THE RACE TRACK? "I think the racetrack and the tire combinations are in good condition, respectively. I felt the speeds were very close to what we had anticipated from the tire tests and the fact we purposely were slower at the test and were going to pick up the speed here at the track competition wise. I thought everything was good. The track, I feel, they did a great job. Keeping the old traditional Darlington shape and the character with the exception of the bumps that was the reason for the repave."
YOU ARE THE DAYTONA 500 CHAMPION, WHAT WOULD A WIN AT DARLINGTON MEAN? "I've always said it was my favorite racetrack. Obviously it has changed a little bit with the repave, but man it's a special place. We ran second to Jeff (Gordon) at the Southern 500 (2002). We've run well here (six top-six finishes in eight races). I've always liked it. We've always been fast. We've some failures and things like that. Typically, I'm a conservative driver in the essence that I keep it off the wall and probably limit myself a little bit speed wise, but I have a good car there at the end and that will be the goal on Saturday night."
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THE RACING AT RICHMOND LAST WEEK THAT YOU SAID WASN'T UP TO PAR? "In general, I don't know what my exact comment was that you are referring to, but I would say the racing at Richmond wasn't as exciting as it typically is. I don't know what the stats are, but I don't think there were as many passes. From my standpoint in the car, it was kind of boring racing and didn't seem to have the excitement that Richmond usually offers. I don't know if it was just that race or a combination of this car and the fact we can't turn each other around with the bumpers or what. It just didn't stand out as the typical exciting Richmond."
DOING A STORY ON THE CLOSENESS OF COMPETITION OF NASCAR RACES. THESE DAYS, THE MARGIN OF VICTORY IS BY TIME. I'M CURIOUS WHAT YOUR GUESS WOULD BE FOR LAST YEAR'S 36 RACES, THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME FOR THE MARGIN OF VICTORY? "A little math quiz here. Number one, you want to see if I can really add. And second, to see if I'm smart enough to figure out the question. Do you have the answer? OK, I'm going to go with 52 (seconds)." The answer: 60.9 seconds.
DOES THAT SURPRISE YOU? "No. Not at all really. The level of competition has increasingly grown tighter and tighter. Here's a question for you. What was the last race that was won by at least a lap?"
Answer: Jeffrey Bodine at North Wilkesboro in 1994.
DID THE TEST AT LOWE'S EARLIER IN THE WEEK HELP YOU FOR THE SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE AND THE COCA-COLA 600? "As long as you have a decent test, absolutely it helps you preparing for those things. I wish personally that we didn't have the time to test there because I think the better prepared teams will shine with less testing and less practice whereas you can only catch up so much. You can only make a car so good. I would rather it be where we just show up and race. I don't think we need to show up and test. Somebody told me yesterday that we have a test there again in the fall. I mean, it's ridiculous. We don't need to waste our time, the team's time.
It's not like the fans are getting anything out of it. It's not good for the sport in my opinion. It shouldn't be a science project where we have to come to the track and figure out if the tire is going to live; the car is going to be competitive and things like that. We should have a better idea than having to go and test to see if we can make better racing. The sport has done well over the last 50 years having good racing without having to spend two days testing at the race track."
-credit: dodge motorsports