Newman - Chicagoland Friday media visit

Stewart-Haas Racing press release

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY MEDICINE CHEVROLET met with media and discussed last week’s racing at Richmond, answered questions about deliberately spinning out to cause a caution, his team’s intermediate program and more.

Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Ted Rossino

ON RACING AT CHICAGOLAND AND STARTING THE CHASE AT A DIFFERENT VENUE “I’ve been successful here, both on qualifying days and on race days and look forward to the opportunity to prove that our 1.5-mile program is better than it was in the past couple of years and I feel like we’ve had a good start today in doing that. Our focus in the second practice session is going to be more on longer race runs. The track is really fast. The tires are grippy and consistent. So, just from our standpoint, making sure we have everything polished up and keep an keep an eye on Clint (Bowyer) whenever he’s going to make his announcement.”

HAVE YOU EVER SPUN OUT OR DELIBERATELY SPUN OUR OR SEEN SOMEBODY DELIBERATELY SPIN OUT TO CREATE A CAUTION ANYWHERE IN YOUR CAREER? “That’s putting me on the spot. But one time I had a tire that went down and the smart thing to do was to spin it out and that benefitted me at the same time but it was the safest thing to do. So, I think everybody has always contemplated it at different times. NASCAR, at places like Richmond, you’ve seen them penalize guys for stopping on the race track; causing the caution, even if they don’t spin out. There’s times when guys spin out and just wait for the caution. So, I know the situation you’re talking about and there’s a lot of question about it. But I will definitely say that when you’re having a bad day and the way this sport works with teammates, there are times when you think about it and it’s never the right thing to do.”

WE’VE BEEN ASKING A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS RIR SPIN-OUT THING. ARE PEOPLE IN THE GARAGE TALKING ABOUT IT? “Not today; not that I know of. I’ve seen it on TV. That’s it. Our focus is the U.S. Army Medicine Chevrolet and not wondering what happened last week. That’s pretty much it.”

WAS THERE ANY TALK YESTERDAY AFTER THE MEDIA EVENT? “Actually, I think I read it on Jayski (www.jayski.com) for the first time last night. I’m responsible for questions that I can answer and nobody really asked me to give my feedback yesterday, so I didn’t say anything.”

HOW IS YOUR 1.5-MILE PROGRAM RIGHT NOW? HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK THAT WILL PLAY INTO ULTIMATELY WHOEVER WINS THIS THING? “I group the 1.5-mile and 2-mile race tracks together. From an intermediate standpoint, we are much better than we were last year. I feel that we’re a little bit better than we were the year before. And not that we were horrible there, it’s just our short track program has been so good at Stewart-Haas Racing. Martinsville, Phoenix, Richmond, and places like that; Loudon, that’s the benchmark that we set for ourselves to be able to do that at other tracks. I don’t think our average is as good on intermediates as it is on short tracks this year, but it’s much, much better. And obviously that’s a core group of the races in the Chase and something that we knew, if you look at the entire season, it’s the backbone of the entire season as well. We knew we needed to work on that. I think our crew and everybody has done a really good job of pitching in and helping out to be more competitive at those tracks.”

IS IT TOO PREMATURE TO SAY WHEN WE COME OUT OF HERE ON SUNDAY THAT WE MAY KNOW WHO’S INTERMEDIATE PROGRAMS ARE WHERE AND THAT WOULD GIVE US SOME INDICATION OF WHO IS ON TOP? “I don’t think one race determines your intermediate programs because the race tracks are so different. You get to places like Kansas with the tar strips and the sensitivities there and again, the weather has a lot to do with that. Just because you’re good here at a 1.5-mile race track doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at Charlotte when the conditions are different and the banking is different and things like that. No, is the answer.”

NOT HAVING A COMPETITION DIRECTOR AT THIS STAGE FOR THIS MANY WEEKS, ARE RESOURCES BEING PULLED IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS? CAN YOU GO THE REST OF THE SEASON WITHOUT THAT ROLE BEING FILLED AND HAVE IT NOT BECOME A DETRIMENT? “The role hasn’t been filled from a personnel standpoint but the job description is being covered by multiple people. Matt Borland is the key member of who is taking care of those responsibilities and he’s done a very good job doing his job as well as the competition director’s job because his job couldn’t be left alone at the same time. So, yeah, is it a weakness of ours? I don’t think it’s a weakness. Can we be stronger with the addition of that competition director? I think so. I don’t see us failing or not winning or being as productive performance-wise. But, I think when it comes to stepping-up and being above or being ahead we definitely look forward to hiring that person. And Matt (Borland) has openly said that it’s a job that he’s doing because he has been asked to do it. It’s not something that he’s strived to do or raise his hand when they said any volunteers.”

GOING BACK TO RICHMOND, THERE WERE 15 CAUTIONS AND A LOT OF WRECKS. WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? THERE WASN’T THAT MUCH ON THE LINE SINCE MOST OF THE GUYS WHO WERE GOING TO BE IN THE CHASE HAD ALREADY MADE IT IN “It reminded me of Phoenix and that was kind of after we did all the tandem drafting stuff and the restarts at Phoenix I mean it was like you had bullets whizzing past your head every time it seemed like. The start at Richmond was very similar to that it seemed like. I think you’re a little bit wrong in that there was a lot on the line for a lot of drivers who, if they had a good night and got a victory and when there’s four or five guys that take that approach, there are guys around them that take that approach too, to hold them back or whatever. So I there were more accidents I think than there should have been, based on aggression; but that’s a part of our sport. We’ve seen it before.”

DO YOU EXPECT THAT HERE? “I don’t expect that here because of the race track and the difference of what was on the table last week versus what’s on the table this week. It’s a different kind. We’re almost like at a re-boot phase where we’re back into starting the consistency running for ten races from the top 12 standpoint. Obviously we’re going for the win; and you have those guys that were going for the opportunity to get their name and their sponsor and themselves in the Chase. That is out the door for them. That’s off the table.”

THERE ARE STILL ABOUT FIVE DRIVERS WHO NEED RIDES AND SPONSORS FOR NEXT YEAR “That happens every year. I mean, I don’t think that’s anything different.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Tags chevrolet, chicago, newman, sprint cup, stewart