Dover II: Pole winner interview

Ryan Newman Nabs Another Dodge Pole at Dover!! Note: Ryan Newman earned his 33rd career Bud Pole today in his 144th NASCAR Nextel Cup Series career race. Newman moved to a tie with Fred Lorenzen, ranking 20th on the all-time NASCAR Nextel Cup...

Ryan Newman Nabs Another Dodge Pole at Dover!!

Note: Ryan Newman earned his 33rd career Bud Pole today in his 144th NASCAR Nextel Cup Series career race. Newman moved to a tie with Fred Lorenzen, ranking 20th on the all-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Bud Pole list. This is Newman's second Bud Pole and seventh top-10 start in eight Cup Series races at Dover. His qualifying time of 22.770 seconds was less than ½ a second from Jeremy Mayfield's track-qualifying record of 22.288 seconds, set June 4, 2004. The pole was the ninth of the season for Dodge. Chevy has 12 poles this year, and Ford has five.

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Charger) -- First

"It was good. I don't think it was perfect, but it was a very good lap. We were faster than in practice, so we're happy with the speed. We also think we could've went faster, but you know, could have, would have, should have. But, we're happy with our ALLTEL Dodge Charger.

How important is momentum this weekend, coming off your win at New Hampshire?

"It's important, but we always look forward to coming to Dover. I really enjoy the racetrack. We've always performed well here -- both from a car setup-wise, and I think me enjoying the racetrack is a big part of it. We'll see what we can do on Saturday and Sunday. Dover is a really fast racetrack, and when you're off just a little bit, you can be off a lot and that usually means that the wall is coming closer to you at a faster speed than you want it to. It's just a really fun track when everything is working just right. I really enjoy it.

On the cooling temperatures later this weekend:

"This is definitely a physically demanding racetrack, so it's actually just going to help us out more being inside the car with the heat. That'll be the biggest thing. Everyone has the same advantage as far as the track getting faster if that happens. This car here is the same car that has qualified well in the past, and it's been in victory lane here in the past. So, this will be another opportunity for it. We'll see if that doesn't work.

What do you attribute to getting both poles today?

"Two fast racecars... I've just got to thank everybody from Penske Racing. There's a lot of great teamwork on both sides and together. I just really enjoy this racetrack. It's not necessarily the concrete, it's just the shape of it and the speed and the banking. I really enjoy banked racetracks. Again, not to be sarcastic, but having two fast racecars, I just enjoy being able to sit in them and drive them that fast."

Is this your chance to gain some points on Stewart, who qualified 31st?

"Obviously, yeah. Every chance is a chance. But, we're not just racing Tony Stewart, we're racing everybody for a win, and the other nine guys for the championship. Just because Tony Stewart qualified 31st doesn't mean he won't be fast tomorrow in practice."

On having a chance to match Sam Ard's record in the Busch Series tomorrow:

"I don't know how that deal works, if it's four consecutive races or four consecutive races by a driver. But that's a cool deal for me, whether it counts or not. Winning one race is awesome, but winning three or four in a row, that would make a great season in itself. We look forward to the opportunity. I'm not sure how it ranks in the NASCAR book as far as stats go, but if we can get into Victory Lane, we'll be happy one way or another."

What is it about you and qualifying?

"I enjoy qualifying. I enjoy attacking the racetrack. The only person I have to beat out there is the racetrack. There's no traffic, no dirty air, nothing but myself and the racetrack to be able to go as fast as I possibly can for one lap for that matter. I enjoy it. The team enjoys it. Obviously, I can't sit here and do what I'm doing as far as qualifying well, I'm in to represent the whole team. And those guys have given me fast racecars. I have to thank them. I've always told Matt (Borland, crew chief) I said, 'If you give me a straight arrow, I can shoot it pretty straight.' And these 33 poles are a representation of straight arrows.

It seems like guys who win poles in an impound race generally aren't very good in the race:

"Yes and no. I don't mean this in a bad way, but who would have thought that Matt Kenseth would have gotten the pole at Bristol and then went on to win the race. First of all him getting the pole, but the pole and then winning the race... So, there are definitely cases where guys who can qualify well and race well at different racetracks. Yes, we have seen some instances where guys that qualified well can't race well. But, whether it's an impound or not an impound, we go with what the rules are. We didn't qualify the way we should have at Loudon. We were just misbalanced. We definitely raced better, but I don't think that was necessarily a representation of how we did qualify."

Doesn't it defy logic that when there's an impound race, where the cars should be closer to a race setup, that qualifying should be less of a parameter of how the race is going to go.

"You can say that in a way. But, you know yourself how much speed there is available by doing different things to the car. It's like the person who's addicted to chocolate, who has a candy dish in front of him the whole time. If they had an opportunity to get just a little bit more, as far as speed, then they would. Obviously, we're here for competition to be the best and look good for our sponsors, so some teams may do things... If you look a difference instance, but the same idea, the No. 32 car has been qualifying a lot better because they've had to qualify. They've changed their procedures, and it's been obvious. That's part of it. And I think that that's kind of like a masking of what happens at the impound tracks. Does that make any sense?"

What has happened to you and your team in the last four weeks? What's the difference in your position today as compared to one year ago:

"There's no one thing that's happened to our team. We had some personnel changes back five or six weeks ago. We took the same racecar to Loudon as we did the previous race. So, there's no one thing other than teamwork, a lot of effort and just pure performance to make the car go faster and us look better. That's a good question there's nothing that stands out in my mind that says, 'Man, this is why we're running good.' It's not like we've found some trick right-front spring or something. There's nothing that stands out.

"Compared to a year ago, we had just come off being out for blowing an engine at Loudon. So, now we're coming off a win. And in saying that, it's a perfect example of us just going out to try as hard as we can. Just because we blow an engine last year and came back to win the race doesn't mean that we're going to come back and be better now because we came off of a win. We're just going to go out and do the best job we can, and hopefully that is a win."

Do you feel that you're more of a threat, having won last week?

"I appreciate Biffle saying what he said, because it means a lot, knowing his success this year and his talent as far as driving a racecar. It's nice to be considered a threat, but we have been in the past and you've got to follow through with that. But, whether we're performing up to your expectations or other people's expectations, you've got to go out and do your job.

"We haven't exactly been sitting back kind of working. We didn't intend on going into Richmond in 11th in points at all. Just because we get a little streak going doesn't mean that we're the dominant team. I just think that right now, in the last two weeks, including this weekend, we've been looking pretty good."

What's your race plan for Sunday?

"I think every driver has the want to lead 400 laps. But you have to be careful. You never know what the balance is going to be like. And you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow in practice. Hopefully we can keep this car in one piece, start on the pole and lead a bunch of laps. But, yeah, we'd love to lead the first one to get those bonus points, and lead the 399 more after that."

Have you stopped to think about how dramatic of a turnaround this has been?

"Not really. We don't really sit around thinking about that. We just try to keep the car going faster and faster each run. Yeah, it has been sort of a turnaround. But I don't think that you can consider one race at the right time of the season a turnaround. But, we've got a good start on a series of 10 races, and hopefully we can do that for all of them. But, it's going to take 10 races to win a championship. You can't just count them two or three through.

Do you have a sense that this race, specifically, is going to be a big race?

"Every race is a big race. And every race is equally as important. Statistically, we've got a good shot at winning, and our competitors look at it like that. But, we've got to follow through as a team, stay focused."

Do you expect this race to be as eventful as last week's?

"I don't expect, and I didn't expect last week, to see a helmet laying on the back straightaway. I

don't know. But at this racetrack, it's especially important not to play bumper tag for egos as has happened in the past, because of the speeds and because of the safety issue. Then when we go to Martinsville we can play around a little bit."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Ryan Newman
Teams Team Penske