Indianapolis: Newman - Friday media visit

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET, met with media and discussed his hometown state of Indiana, similarities between he and Tony Stewart, and more. CAN THIS RACE TURN YOUR SEASON? "Any race can turn a season. Obviously the bigger...

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET, met with media and discussed his hometown state of Indiana, similarities between he and Tony Stewart, and more.

CAN THIS RACE TURN YOUR SEASON? "Any race can turn a season. Obviously the bigger races mean more and have more in the public eye. But from a racing standpoint, any win is a great win. They can turn the math around in the points and turn the mentality around for your team in one race; no matter where it is or what it is."

ON THE WING VERSUS THE SPOILER, HAVE THERE BEEN ANY MAJOR CHANGES FOR YOU? "No, the cars driver very similar with the spoiler verus the wing on the back. I think that the spoiler is safer from a lifting standpoint and when the car is going backwards especially. I don't think 90 percent of the drivers out there can tell you the difference in the wing versus the spoiler. So, to me everything is pretty much the same as far as the way the car is driving and the way the cars feel; front to rear downforce and that type of thing."

ON SPENDING TIME IN INDIANA "We came up early. I had an appearance in Noblesville on Wednesday and went to the Hendrick's County Fair with my family on Wednesday night and came out and ran the Silver Crown Midget race last night. But I spent a lot of time at home. I enjoyed being home for a little bit."

DO YOU ENJOY INDIANA? "Oh, yeah, I enjoy Indiana. Where I live in North Carolina (is because) there are quite a few cornfields. But when you come to Indiana you realize how many cornfields there actually are (laughs). It's just nice to be back home."

ON VISITING WITH FRIENDS "I got to see my old college roommate last night. Most of my friends were friends from racing. It's good to be back home and see the people who are still doing what I used to do in racing."

WAS THERE A TRACK HERE FOR YOU THAT WOULD HAVE GONE TOWARD INDYCAR RACING? "No, I never aspired to be an Indy Car driver or Open-Wheel car driver in the essence of having the wing on the car. I really enjoyed my career as an open wheel driver with USAC Midget Sprint and Silver Crown Series, but I really wanted to race stock cars. I thought that was the greatest racing there was side-by-side and door handle-to-door handle racing. I really feel greateful to be where I am doing what I'm doing."

WHEN THE BRICKYARD 400 STARTED HERE, DID YOU COME TO ANY OF THOSE EARLY RACES? "No, because we were always racing our own in '93 and '94, I was racing Midgets across the Midwest here so we were typically racing. If not, we took time off from racing to watch a race car from home."

HOW SIMILAR ARE YOU AND TONY STEWART? "How similar? I don't know. You'll have to ask him that (laughs). We have a lot of things in common, no doubt. We're definitely different people but we have a lot of common roots being from Indiana, the things that we do and the things that we've done racing-wise and personally, we just have a lot of respect for each other for sure. I think all those things together make us very similar but yeah, we're still different."

WAS IT A PRETTY EASY MESH? "Yeah, that's one of the things I focused on before I made the transition over to Stewart-Haas racing was what's it going to be like working with a teammate who is also titled your boss? And it's been all teammate and no boss. I mean he's been very respectful of me and my position and I try to be to him and his position. We've had a good relationship on and off the race track."

SINCE TONY STEWART LIKE TO JUMP BEHIND THE WHEEL OF DIFFERENT CARS, IT'S NICE THAT YOU CAN DO THAT "Yeah, I tried to run his Midget last night but we struggled a little bit. It's always nice when you get the excuse when your car owner is calling you up to drive something else besides a Cup car and it kind of gives you a little bit of freedom to do what you want and we both have an understanding that we definitely enjoy the racing outside of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."

BEING ONE OF THOSE GUYS WHO CAME OUT OF USAC, WHAT TRANSLATED SO WELL FROM THERE TO CUP RACING? "Just our mentality of racing different race tracks. You're not a track champion; you're a series champion. A lot of guys in Late Models and whatnot are track champions and that's different. You have to have the ability to go and adapt to different tracks on different nights in different conditions. And Cup racing is like that. Every time I come back to a race track it seems to be a little bit different but you're racing different race tracks all throughout the season. Charlotte in the spring is not necessarily the same as Charlotte in the fall; whereas racing at South Boston might be the same every weekend. So, that was one thing. I think the 30-lap sprints that we typically have are very similar to our 30-lap fuel runs at a lot of race tracks. They're 40 or 50 laps but it's the same principal of running as hard as you can and get everything out of the race car and put another set of tires on and do it again. And car control; those three things are the biggest part of it."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SITUATION BETWEEN CARL EDWARDS AND BRAD KESELOWSKI? "I don''t think NASCAR has taken care of the situation. I think they've issues what is that for Carl, his second probation this year? Yeah. See I don't know what probation actually means anymore (laughs). So, yeah, when we used to get probation for the season, and then when you crash somebody and put them upside down and they almost get killed, you get probation for three races. I don't quite understand that."

WHEN YOU SAW THE PENALTY, DID IT MAKE YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING TO RACE EITHER ONE OF THEM ANY DIFFERENTLY? "It doesn't change the way I race them. It changes my level of respect for them; more so Carl (Edwards) but there's been race car drivers doing that or having that affect on people or racing for the last 100 years. It's just there are more cameras on Carl right now."

SHOULD NASCAR TAKE THE WIN AWAY? "There is a point when NASCAR should take a win away. I don't think that was the condition for that but I know there's been no direct response for NASCAR taking away a win in the last 20, 30, 40, or 50 years that I know of; or ever. So my point is, I don't foresee that but I think that penalty was not just. And I'm not saying an eye for an eye, but if you look at what Carl did to the rest of the cars that got crashed behind him, that's not right. When you admit that you crashed that race car and therefore crashed six or eight cars behind him; to the point that those guys, that's all they have for a good race cars at times. That's not cool."

THAT SEEMS TO BE THE 'HAVE AT IT, BOYS' MENTALITY "Have at it boys is not that. Have at it boys means even if we crash each other or get into an accident or lose respect for one another, you go talk about it. That's the 'Have at it Boys'. You go behind a trailer and you talk about it. We can get in each other's faces. That's 'Have at it Boys'. Going out there and purposely crashing somebody; turning right or turning left just to crash 'em on purpose, whether you're winning the race or not, is not at all 'Have at it Boys'. Some people have thought of manslaughter or attempted manslaughter, but that's closer to what it is. That's not 'Have at it Boys'

"I'm all for 'Have at it Boys'. Let us race. But that's not racing. We should paint up a No. 99 or No. 88 Chevy Impala for Carl to go race demolition derbies with, it that's the case. We're racing; we're not demolition derbies."

SO WHAT IS IT THAT IS NOT WORKING OR SHOULD BE HAPPENING? "Brad hasn't decked Carl yet. To me, that's all it is. Brad just needs to go up there and lay one across his lip and everything will be fine."

HOW AWARE ARE YOU GOING TO BE THIS WEEKEND AS TO WHERE THEY ARE ON THE TRACK COMPARED TO WHERE YOU ARE ON THE TRACK? "That, to me, there is more of a chance of somebody cutting a tire down in front of you than there it getting caught up in their mess. But obviously, yeah, you would look for it; you just don't focus on it."

ON RACING AT POCONO NEXT WEEKEND "I think the track is good bit different now. Typically the tunnel turn at Pocono is the closest thng to anything at Indianapolis. Ironically, all four corners at Indianapolis look the same from the sky, but they're not. That will translate to the tunnel turn versus Indianapolis. But they're a different tire with similar set-ups but Pocono is so much different because of the roughness of the three different corners."

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU LEARNED IN JUNE AS YOU HEAD THEIR NEXT WEEK? "We have a little bit of work to go. We were really, really good there last year; both the No. 14 and the No. 39; but we just got caught a little bit behind this year and definitely have some things to improve upon when we go back."

FROM INFINEON AND HEADING TO WATKINS GLEN, WHAT DID YOU LEARN THERE AND WHAT WILL YOU TAKE FROM INFINEON TO THE GLEN? "I think we had a better race car than we had last year. We struggled really bad with being just loose in general at both race tracks. So I think we had a better set-up for Infineon this year. I had this mediocre qualifying run but I had a good car in the race and I like Watkins Glen better than Infineon. So I'm looking forward to it.

"They are really entirely different animals because of the asphalt; I think the tire might be a little bit different but just the speed of the race track, Watkins Glen is a good bit faster. There is a lot less emphasis on acceleration and forward bite at Watkins Glen. So your set-ups do change a little bit there."

IS IT ALWAYS SPECIAL TO COME BACK TO INDIANAPOLIS? DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE HOST HERE? "It is nice to be back in Indiana and visit with family and friends I used to race with quite a bit back in the day. The speedway means so much to me personally, just because it's the speedway and all the history of auto racing here it's really special. So, I'm just happy to be back with friends and family and at a great race track and doing our best to win what I think is the second biggest race of the year."

HOW DOES TONY STEWART'S MENTALITY CHANGE WHEN HE WALKS IN THE GATE HERE? "Well, I think it's changed a little bit since he's won but it's still the same and that's to go out and win. It's bit for him and it's big for me because it's Indiana and it's the speedway and that to me means more; not necessarily because I'm from Indiana but because of the history of auto racing on these grounds here."

CAN YOU MAKE A CHARGE OVER THE NEXT FEW RACES AND MAKE THE CHASE? "Oh, we can and we have to and we're capable of it. It's just a matter of catching breaks. We've had good cars. We've had better cars than we had at this point last year and we've had some rough luck. We have some work cut out for us but we're capable of it."

HOW COOL WOULD IT BE TO KISS THE BRICKS? "I would definitely enjoy it because it's special like I said because it's the speedway, but it's a huge race and a great track position race and a great strategy race and the speedway itself with every driver that's walked up and how Gasoline Alley is special to me."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart