Las Vegas: "Fireman" Newman - Dodge Friday interview

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) "We only got to do one qualifying run in practice, and that put us 15th, but I think we've got more speed than that. We switched over to race trim to get some race trim runs in. We changed a few things...

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge)

"We only got to do one qualifying run in practice, and that put us 15th, but I think we've got more speed than that. We switched over to race trim to get some race trim runs in. We changed a few things over from the test and wanted to make sure we knew what we were doing. I think we do. We made sure we know what changes to make come race time."

COMMENT ON CHARLOTTE GETTING NASCAR HALL OF FAME "To me it doesn't matter that Charlotte got the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The interesting thing to me was that so many cities were battling for it and geographically that was good for NASCAR. Bottom line, I say let's build it and have it there for the fans so they can enjoy it for years to come."

WHY DOES SOMEONE ALWAYS SEEM TO HIT THE RIGHT SETUP HERE AND CHECK OUT? "You mean like the Roush cars? The Roush cars are strong right now, especially at these types of race tracks. In general this is kind of a unique track. Even Kansas, which is kind of like it, isn't really like it. Looking at it, they look very similar, but they're not. Things are just a little different out here. Maybe it's because of the weather and stuff like that."

COMMENT ON YOUR FIRE FIGHTING EFFORTS ON MONDAY IN LENOIR, N.C. "It kind of got blown out of proportion. We had an opportunity to put a fire out and we did. It wasn't that big, but it was big enough to get bigger. A couple of other guys helped. I brought the old Leatherman and busted a few screws out and popped the vent off and sprayed some fire extinguisher in it. We were trying to have lunch. It was sitting on the counter and I grabbed it when we were leaving.

"It was a wood-fired grill and what you call a grease fire. I think somebody didn't know what they were doing. Bottom line is it was on fire. The hood fire extinguisher went off, but it was too late. The grease on top of the hood going up into the rafters caught on fire. Basically it was between the ceiling and the roof top. You could see it from the inside, but you couldn't see it from the outside. The building was on fire. (My friend) is an ex-fireman, and it was good to watch his lead, but we both worked hand in hand pulling a couple of screws out, kicking the roof hood off, which has the electric motor and stuff on it. It was quite an experience, but I was glad to be able to help out. It kept smoldering. Once we put it out it kind of relit itself just based on the heat. It was probably 30-40 minutes. The real fire department was there with their boom truck. They helped out, too. Don't think it was just me. It was good to be part of something that was good.

"I had never been to this restaurant before, but I'll go back. They said I'd get a free meal when I come back. I got it (last Monday's meal) free. I even took a little red basket and told them they weren't going to get it back. There were probably 60 people in the restaurant. It might have been 30, but it seemed like 60. They said get out. I looked up as I was walking out and could see the roof on fire. You could see the glow up top. The fire department got there really quick, but I think a lot of our initiative slowed it down before they got there and it didn't get any bigger than it was.

"It was blown out of proportion no doubt, but it a big enough fire that it would have got bigger if we hadn't helped out. I think the fire department would still have got it put out, but it could have gotten a lot uglier. It was actually the fourth floor of an old brick building. We were four stories up when we were doing it. They wanted to give me a key to the city and everything else, but I told them I wasn't in it for that.

"It was a little Leatherman tool. I had a pair of pliers and pulled a couple of bolts off. It was a Christmas present from a friend. I usually carry it with me. I always take it fishing with me. I use it for cutting line and whatever I have to do. It's got a good knife for opening packages."

-dodge motorsports-

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Series NASCAR-CUP