Tuesday, July 29, 2003 DODGE THIS Teleconference Ryan Newman , No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid DO YOU THINK BRICKYARD 400 HAS HELPED NASCAR'S POPULARITY IN INDY? "It's definitely been a positive for NASCAR in respect to the Indianapolis and the...
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
DODGE THIS Teleconference
Ryan Newman , No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid
DO YOU THINK BRICKYARD 400 HAS HELPED NASCAR'S POPULARITY IN INDY?
"It's definitely been a positive for NASCAR in respect to the Indianapolis and the Indiana markets. The closest we got was Michigan before Chicago came along to that market, and I think from a fan's perspective and from a racer's perspective there's been a growth of NASCAR fans in that area. I've realized that just from some friends I've known throughout open wheel racing. I went back and visited a few of them at the Indianapolis test, and they're pretty excited about the Brickyard."
DOES INDIANAPOLIS HAVE THE CHOKEHOLD ON YOU IT HAS ON TONY STEWART?
"You can put the chokehold on yourself as easy as somebody else can put the chokehold on you, so we're just doing the best job we can on a given day. I know Brendan does the same thing. You just tackle what you can with what you have to work with. Tony has had some good runs going and fell short late in the run. Hopefully we don't run into that situation. We'll just go there and do the best job we can."
DO YOU REMEMBER SOME RELUCTANCE WHEN NASCAR FIRST CAME TO INDY?
"I remember a little of it. Everybody's got an opinion. It's going to be like that as long as this world revolves around the sun. Whether it's Indy cars versus stock cars or open wheel cars versus fendered cars. You're going to run into that. It's a great racetrack, a great facility. It's legendary. A.J. Foyt, Richard Petty, all the people that have walked through that garage area and you're stepping in the same footprints they did years upon years ago. The list goes on of the racing greats that have been there."
DAYTONA OR INDY, WHICH WOULD YOU RATHER WIN FIRST?
"Indianapolis by far."
WHAT DO YOU DO TO CHANGE YOUR LUCK?
"We've got a good bunch of guys, and we're a championship caliber team. That's what it's all about. Number one, the guys have to be capable, and number two, you have to perform. You have to tighten up the nuts and get everything right. The driver has to do his job. He has to finish the best the car is capable of, regardless of that position, whether it's a top five car or truck or a top three car or truck, he's got to be able to put it in that position. We struggled at the beginning of the season with a couple of crashes here and there, a blown tire, a failed rear gear at Richmond while we were leading. Part of that is racing luck. Part of it is lack of preparation. The bottom line is you don't change your luck. You create your luck. People use luck as an excuse or reason sometimes. Matt (crew chief Borland) and I don't build those racecars, so we're just a part of the team. People work on the engines. People do everything on those cars, whether it's put the decals on or sweep the floors or whatever. It's a combination of everything, and on top of that you have mechanical parts that are built outside the company that do fail also, so there's a whole list of things. That's what makes it so difficult, and that's what makes it so gratifying when you pull into victory, knowing you conquered all the odds against you."
WHY DO YOU THINK YOU'RE THE ONLY DODGE TEAM THAT'S WON?
"Again, preparation and teamwork. A lot of other Dodges are running good, and they just haven't pulled off the entire equation. It's all about being at the right place at the right time. You've got to be fast."
DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST GOODYEAR TIRE TEST AT INDY?
"I remember either in '93 or '94 when they were first there. I was across the street doing something with my open wheel car. It's an awesome sound hearing the rattle of the grandstands from the 800 horsepower exhaust pipes. It's something that kind of raises the hair on your skin. It's something I thought was always cool. I look forward to participating just like I did then."
COMMENT ON '53 PLYMOUTH
"I still have it. It's a car I drove for four years to college. I was coming home on Thanksgiving weekend, and a lady pulled out in front of me. I wrinkled the fender up pretty good. We straightened the fender out and put another left front wheel on it and straightened the molding out and stuff. I decided I was going to put some decals on it to cover up the scratches and dings. It was number 39. That was my midget and Silver Crown number."
COMMENT ON VALUE OF HAVING A COLLEGE DEGREE IN RACING
"No matter what you study, when you come out of college you're a smarter person. You've learned a lot and you don't realize it sometimes. I tell people there are two big things I learned in college that didn't necessarily have anything to do with engineering. One was time management and the other was problem solving, which basically has to do with getting by in everyday life. There are a lot of things, at least from my perspective, that I learned different than going to high school and then maybe getting a job. I think anybody that has the chance should take the opportunity and go to college, even if they have to make it stretch to do it. I think it makes a difference to the person."
DOES IT MATTER IF PEOPLE THINK YOU'RE BORING?
"Not a bit. Everybody's got their own opinion. You can take your opinion to the grave with you or you can voice it. To me, I just go out and do the best job I can. I know Matt (Kenseth) is doing the same thing as well as Jimmie (Johnson) and I and everybody else. That's something for you guys to write about. You have to (be yourself). If you're not, then you're not the person you believe you are. You have to be the same person in the public eye as well as the private eye in order to be happy in my opinion."
IS ONE RACE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE OTHER?
"To me, Indianapolis is a racer's race. There's no restrictor plates. There's no out of bounds lines. You have to do your job as a racecar driver as you normally would, as I grew up thinking. That's why it's more important and the biggest race of the season. Again, it's 185 points either race, so from a team's perspective, and from a Winston Cup championship perspective it's no different, but as a racer, and I think Tony Stewart would say the same thing, he's rather win Indy than he would the (Daytona) 500."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO COMPETE IN TRUCK SERIES?
"I think from a racer's standpoint, they put on an awesome show. I think the trucks are quite a bit less on downforce and a lot more on drag. I think that goes back to Winston Cup rules of five or six years ago where track position is important, but it's not the key to winning the race all the time. That makes a difference from the racer's perspective. You can hustle that thing up through the pack and make a difference."
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU RACED AT INDY RACEWAY PARK?
"I raced there basically from 1995 through 2000 in midgets, sprint cars and Silver Crown cars. It's definitely a steppingstone. A lot of great racers have been at the speedway and some of those legendary racers used Indianapolis Raceway Park and USAC as a steppingstone to greater series. I used that racetrack as a steppingstone. I met a lot of great people and won a lot of great trophies, but that doesn't mean anything when you try to win next week's race."
ARE YOU OUT OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE?
"We just do the best job we can and anything can happen. Anything can happen to us or Matt Kenseth or anybody else for that matter. Everybody thought that Sterling Marlin was pretty bulletproof at this point last year and he had some unfortunate things happen to him. It's just a matter of us doing the best job we can. Until we're mathematically out of the championship, we're going for the championship. When we're mathematically out of it, we'll go for second and so on and so forth. We're going to do the best job we can for our sponsors and our people."
IS YOUR TEAM MORE AGGRESSIVE THAN RUSTY'S?
"We made some aggressive moves on Sunday, I can vouch for that, but I think what Matt and everybody did enabled us to win the race, and that's what we're there for. If they didn't do that, that's their call and their deal and he can say what he wants."
HOW MUCH SWEETER IS IT COMING BACK TO INDY ON A ROLL?
"It's awesome knowing the history as far as the carryover from Pocono to Indianapolis. Bill Elliott (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid) won the pole, won the race and then came back to win the Brickyard last year. We've got that same opportunity. We've got that same streak going on, and hopefully we can follow through with it. I know that doesn't make any difference at all, but we've got to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together to have it all done by Sunday."
HOW MUCH OF THE POCONO SETUP TRANSFERS TO INDY?
"I'd say nine times out of 10 the guys carry the same car to Indy, so that'll give you an idea of how much the setups carry over."
DOES WINNING BREED WINNING?
"You've got all these guys behind you hanging sheet metal, building chassis, changing tires, doing whatever else. They live for that. Not to say that we don't. We go out there and do the best job we can and when we win it gets them psyched up. It gets them all pumped up knowing they were the best on that day and that gives them the idea they can be the best the next week and the week after."
DISCUSS PENSKE ENGINES
"The engine guys have done an awesome job as far as building reliability into a brand new engine program for us. They have to build engines for two different teams and have reliability and dependability and at the same time horsepower. It's the hugest task we've had all year in my opinion switching from the Ford to the Dodge. They've done an awesome job and have great power. I don't think we have the advantage that we had after seeing the 20 car pretty much walk all over us at Chicago. We had some work to do and still have some work to do. We've always got work to do, but I look forward to the power we're going to have at Indy. Good horsepower and at the same time reliability and you've got to get fuel mileage along with it for certain instances. Those three things don't always go together, and usually you don't hear them in the same sentence, but the way the racing has been that's something we go for because having that flexibility gives you different options and opportunities to win the race."