RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) "It was just clean air. Our car was a little bit tight. It enabled me to be fast out front. I hung on to it, and I had to do what I could on that restart and get a good jump. I spun my tires. Without ...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
"It was just clean air. Our car was a little bit tight. It enabled me to be fast out front. I hung on to it, and I had to do what I could on that restart and get a good jump. I spun my tires. Without power steering, I couldn't scrub my tires very easy. It lacked in that area, so I knew the start was critical and the clean air was going to be there. Obviously the first person to get to it was me, and could keep it at the same time was going to have the best shot to win the race and fortunately we did.
"This track is awesome as far as holding up and not changing. It changes a little bit as the race goes on, but that's just because of the rubber on the race track. It's an awesome race track, it's fun to drive and it's fast and tough. I'm just happy to do well at it. It's just like when we started. Names that have done good here are pretty great names.
"I wouldn't say the toughest of my career, but it was definitely tough. You've got fast guys behind you. I didn't have the mechanical advantage as far as having power steering. I couldn't get my tires cleaned off very well. I was focused on it, and I had to do a little blocking myself going into turn one on Jeff. From what I understand he had to do the same for Tony, but it worked out pretty good. We finished the last six laps under green, which typically doesn't happen sometimes on these restarts with about five to go.
"I knew he (Tony Stewart) had a really fast race car and at times the fastest on the race track, but whatever we could do. From what I was told he screwed up in the pits and he pitted out of his box. He had to take the one-lap penalty. That's not a piece of tape or a blown tires or something like that. That's his own screwup. We did what we could to keep him a lap down knowing he had a fast race car. Thankfully I think we did seeing he came all the way back and finished third (fourth).
"It's just too hypothetical to say. If we had power steering the whole race I might have lapped the field. It's just hearsay.
"He (Stewart) tried to bump me. I had to run clear up the race track. I guess it's just kind of typical. He was pretty upset, and I'd be upset, too. But he had a fast race car and he would have done the same thing to me I believe if the roles were reversed.
"It's all part of the sport. It's been that way. As long as we race back to the yellow flag it's going to be that way. If you get your lap back and the yellow comes out and people are locked in position, you've earned it. We've done a couple of times this year already. It's just part of the sport and something you've got to go along with. It's no different than politics or anything else.
"You can give it to him or they can take it. He wasn't in position to take it, and I wasn't in position not to give it to him.
"When you're on a paved race track like this and you're in a situation where you potentially could be oiling down the race track, officials typically frown on that. I was kind of wondering what was happening, too. All the gauges looked good in the car. As soon as I started losing the power steering I wanted the NASCAR officials to know I was losing the power steering and it wouldn't be but a couple of laps and it would be gone and quit smoking. Fortunately, it did.
"I did it at Atlanta for 150 laps, and I think we finished 10th there (without power steering), and I think the time before that was at Watkins Glen last year.
"All it takes is one little thing to slow you down. We're going to ride the wave as long as we can and see what happens. Hopefully we won't bite the dust.
"We raced quite a bit in midgets and silver crown cars. I never raced sprint cars much with Tony, but we've got a background doing that up through '95 when Tony started moving on and even after that when he came back and ran through '99. We don't have a full year of racing each other under our belts, but pretty close to it.
"Once I realized it was the power steering I knew I could overcome that. This is one of the hardest places to have that problem, and overcome it, but we had a fast race car and I wasn't about to pull it in the garage and say that's it. Our team is no different than anybody else. We've got a great bunch of guys. That to me is the difference as far as their character. They're a great bunch of guys and the same things happen to everybody. It's who can fight through it the best, and they've done a great job of doing that. I think it showed up today.
"I'm definitely tired. My arms hurt, my back hurts, my neck hurts, and I'll be really sore tomorrow and probably Tuesday, but it pays good money to win you know.
"We look forward to going to Pocono. We led quite a few laps in the spring race and finished in the top five in the fall race. I think we've learned a lot since then and can go back and be fast and competitive again. I look forward to that, and Michigan is pretty much home for me as far as race tracks go. I look forward to the next few weeks, and going to the road courses is going to be interesting, too.
"We're racers. We compete against each other and we try to be friends, but it's a competitive sport. He's not going to invite me to dinner tonight. There's times I haven't wanted to invite him to dinner either, but we can get through it. We'll talk and get over it and go on. To me, it was his own fault. What happened, happened, and we'll go on.
"It's a tight pit road no doubt, but that's what qualifying is about. You get that good pit pick in those positions and it pays off. It's the same for everybody else. I guess Tony just missed it.
"Midgets and stuff don't have power steering. I've had midgets with power steering that didn't have power steering at the end of the race, so it's old new for me, but it's just a pain in the arm."