RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) NOTE: Newman, who led the way with six poles in 2002, posted the fastest lap in the first Budweiser Shootout practice on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. Newman's speed of 186.220 mph led the...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
NOTE: Newman, who led the way with six poles in 2002, posted the fastest lap in the first Budweiser Shootout practice on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. Newman's speed of 186.220 mph led the way for the 19 drivers entered in Saturday night's 70-lap race. Newman will start 15th Saturday night.
"The ALLTEL Dodge was pretty good out of the box for the Budweiser Shootout. You learn a few things here testing, but when you come here for race practice everybody pulls everything out of the box. Being fastest in the first practice session was a good thing, but at the same time we've got to keep working. Everybody else is going to be working hard, too. We'll see how things go. The second practice will give us a better idea. It'll give everyone else to sort out what will work better for them in tomorrow night's race.
"We're trying to figure out the balance in the new car, not necessarily concerning the Ford to Dodge switch. This is an entirely new car, new bodies and everything. We're trying to figure out what differences we can tune on to make a difference in the race. It's an advantage for us to be in the Shootout. It's a testing session for the 500.
"It doesn't pay anything to be fastest in practice. It looks good for Dodge and ALLTEL, but it doesn't pay anything. It's a pick me up for the guys, but at the same time, nobody writes that down in the record book.
"I'm more confident this year going into the Budweiser Shootout. I think we've got a better race car. I think the team has learned a lot and hopefully it'll show up on race day. We ran 33 laps in practice, and I think that's about a fuel run. You'll have guys stretching it out a little bit, but we were a little conservative. Fuel mileage really won't mean much for the Shootout. You've got a 20-lap segment, and then a 50-lap segment and you'll have to pit on that at some point. Nobody is going to stretch it that far. There's a chance someone might just stop and take on fuel only, but I'm not sure that would be a big advantage over a regular pit stop or not.
"I turned my fastest lap behind the 20 car, and he's pretty strong, too. He'll be another one to look out for. It'll be the same ol' deal. The 28 and 2, 24 and 48, they'll all be strong. I'm sure it'll be a very interesting race."