Dodge This Teleconference Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2003 Ryan Newman and Matt Borland MATT BORLAND (Crew chief No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) HOW WOULD YOU DESIGN POINTS SYSTEM FROM SCRATCH? "The biggest thing I would probably emphasize the wins a...
Dodge This Teleconference
Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2003
Ryan Newman and Matt Borland
MATT BORLAND (Crew chief No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
HOW WOULD YOU DESIGN POINTS SYSTEM FROM SCRATCH?
"The biggest thing I would probably emphasize the wins a little more and possibly poles and qualifying, giving it a little bit bigger split for doing that. We spend a lot of time in qualifying trim and there should always be a big emphasis to win a race. Right now, you get the same points as the guy who finishes second and that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I think there's a lot of talk about it because Kenseth has one win this year. When you look at his season, he's done what every team is trying to do. He's finishing on the lead lap in almost every race and he's competitive in every race and he's won a race. He should be leading the points, and I don't think there's anything they could or should do to change that. We haven't been the most consistent team. We've had a lot of wins and a lot of poles and the guys have done an awesome job, but at the same point, we haven't had a championship season when you compare us to Matt Kenseth. To go through 26 or 27 races and miss just two laps, that's unbelievable. He's the guy who should win."
WHY ARE NONE OF THE OTHER DODGES WINNING?
"I don't really know a good answer to that. There's a lot of competition out there right now. I think you'll see it. Bill Elliott had a great car this weekend and just wasn't in position at the end of the race. Rusty has had a good car at a lot of places and just hasn't been in the right position at the right time. I think you'll see other Dodges win, and I think the teams are getting a better handle on the cars. I think you'll see more and more of them winning here in the future."
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH CHANGES ON TRACK THAT MIGHT CHANGE RACING STRATEGY?
"We try to talk a lot about strategy before the race starts so when things happen hopefully we can adapt quicker than the other teams to those situations. The other piece of it is sometimes you make the calls and they're not the right calls or it might be the right call and the situation didn't work out. I think the biggest thing is you have to accept those times and not change your strategy because of that. You also have to learn from the times you made the wrong call and not let those happen again and not over react to the situation when it was the right call and it didn't work out. (Winning) keeps all the guys motivated. They're real excited, and they're behind Ryan and I 100 percent on the calls we make during the race. We do the best job we can and everyone is just real pumped up right now."
WAS THE SHORT TRACK WIN AT RICHMOND IMPORTANT?
"It's definitely good to win there because we've run well there in the past. We've had problems there early this year. It was real rewarding to win there. It's real nice to keep winning at different tracks and getting poles at different tracks to know that we're not just good at one certain thing. We're trying to get better at everything we do every week. To get wins at different tracks just lets you know that you're accomplishing those goals."
WOULD A WIN AT TALLADEGA COMPLETE THE CIRCLE?
"That would definitely be nice. We've definitely struggled on speedway stuff. It's a different type of racing, and it's something we've got to put a lot more focus into. It would be real nice to get hold of the speedway stuff."
WHAT GOES INTO A PIT STALL SELECTION?
"Usually I do the picking, and it's different at some tracks, but the philosophy is kind of still the same. If you qualify good, you want to get an opening where you've got a clean exit. Some guys will try to get a clean entrance versus a clean exit. We like to get a better exit, hoping you're going to be running good to get a good entrance anyway. But then the other piece of it is we usually try to get up toward the front, but the disadvantage to that is what you can do on pit road as far as pit speed. It keeps you out of the kind of trouble that happened this weekend. If you can get down pit road and be at the end of it, you're not hitting cars on the way out or hitting cars on the way in. It's just a lot safer strategy that keeps you in the race."
WHAT'S THE BEST PIT AREA AT TALLADEGA?
"There's a good argument there, and for speed reasons, being in the middle of pit road is better. The down side to it is you can get hit on pit road very easily coming in or going out, and you can mess up your fenders and it hurts you the rest of the race. By being down in front of pit lane, you're not as able to get as much speed leaving and you're going to get behind by some extent, but you've got less chance to get damage to your car or crew members. It depends on the track, but it's always nice to be pitting near your teammate. In case you have trouble, they can help you and if you're having trouble, they can help you easier. A lot of times it just doesn't work out that well based on the way they do pit selection here. In the CART series they used to let you pick by the way your team qualified versus how your car qualified and then you picked pit stalls beside each other all the time. About the only reason you try to qualify good, besides just making a good showing for the sponsors, guys on the team and owners, it's always a good motivational thing to qualify good and let you know you have a pretty good racecar, but there's not really any advantage on track."
WHAT MAKES RYAN SUCH A GREAT DRIVER?
"It might sound funny to say it at this point in his career, but experience. He's been driving cars since he was 4 years old. He knows how to drive a car better than walk or run or do anything else. He's got a lot to draw from even though he's only been in Winston Cup for two years. The other aspect that makes him really strong is he's got a very logical, level-headed attitude and mindset. That's one of his strongest points. When a race is going on, 90 percent of the time things don't go the way you want them to. You've got to have a driver that's level-headed enough to think past what's going on right now and figure out the best way to make the best of the day.
"He's very good at that. He doesn't dwell on the past too much. He's always looking at what we've got the next day or next week or next practice session. That's definitely a quality he does have. He doesn't get mentally hung up on things that might have gone wrong.
"Yeah, a couple of times, but it's pretty rare (having to calm down Newman). He's usually the opposite way. If things go wrong, I'm usually pretty calm, but I might get worked up and he calms me back down. He usually doesn't get in that kind of mindset. He was a great open wheel driver as far as sprint cars. I think he would have been very dominant in Indy-type cars."
COMMENT ON PIT ROAD ISSUES AND RACING BACK TO THE FLAG
"In the CART Series they actually had radar detectors to monitor the speeds. You basically had a button that you hit on the dash that set your pit road speed. The driver couldn't really gun the car to gain an extra spot. If they did, they'd have to turn the pit road limiter off and the radars would pick up their speed. Here, it's done across two white lines. Within those two white lines you can speed and that's how you can pass other cars. (In open wheel) it goes back to the previous lap. Racing back to the yellow in one way is nice because you can get your lap back before you get the yellow. This weekend just proved a point there how dangerous it is. If Jarrett's car had been on fire and he had to jump out of it, it would have been a pretty ugly situation. Some of the guys on the lead lap will back out of the gas right away if there's a yellow. Other guys their spotters might not tell them about it right away, so there's a big speed differential. Then you've also got guys trying to get their laps back. At New Hampshire, you saw cars speeding up and slowing down and speeding up again. It's just a real dangerous situation. John Erickson, our spotter, let Ryan know that (car was stalled on front straightaway). The trouble is every spotter stand let the drivers know at different times. You can see it in the replay. When John let Ryan know that he (Jarrett) was stopped on the track, you saw Ryan get out of it after he had already gone by Bill. I think Bill found out about it earlier. At that point, Bill was trying to get back around Ryan and Ryan was trying to back off. I think the 15 got the message and he tried to back off. Casey just about spun. It's just a big timing issue of when they're finding out about it and their reaction time to make a decision on what to do. It's just a messy situation."