RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus HOW WAS YOUR RACE? "It was pretty eventful from the get-go with the rain. Conditions changed all throughout the weekend. Everything was really nice on Friday and Saturday was OK, and then just for race day here...
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus
HOW WAS YOUR RACE?
"It was pretty eventful from the get-go with the rain. Conditions changed all throughout the weekend. Everything was really nice on Friday and Saturday was OK, and then just for race day here it was pretty wild. Luckily, Matt and everybody on the team did an excellent job of getting the car fast. We had good pit stops and good track position. I told Matt at the end that we definitely were not the fastest car on the race track, but it was just one of those things where track position pays off. I was just doing what I could to hold Kurt behind me and then try to get around the 40 car and some of the other lapped cars at the same time. Everybody did a great job of racing clean, especially Kurt."
MATT BORLAND, Crew Chief --12-- ALLTEL/Mobil 1 Taurus
WHAT WAS YOUR PIT STRATEGY WITH THE IFFY WEATHER?
"The first stop at lap 20 when the yellow came out, I think a lot of the guys towards the back took that. We obviously couldn't take that. We were hoping it would be a half-race strategy at 150 laps, so we knew we had to get to lap 75. I think we ended up pitting on lap 77 and tried to race to 150. As it turned out, the rain never came there so everyone had to stop at lap 156. I don't know if Ryan knows this, but we were talking about putting just two tires and half a tank (of fuel) and kind of chickened out and we put four tires on. That paid off."
DON MILLER --12-- ALLTEL/Mobil 1 Taurus
"This has been a long time coming. I know a lot of the guys in this room and I told them that this guy was gonna be good and he is good. The last couple of weeks we've been knocking on the door and we finally kicked it in today. It's a wonderful feeling. I'm happy for Ryan and this whole young crew. This crew is only about two years old now, so this is an enormous boost for the team and for Ryan Newman the person."
BUSCH GAVE YOU A TAP ONE TIME.
NEWMAN: "That's what we've got mirrors for, you know? (laughing) I knew he was there. Like I said, he did a good job. I thought he got me once there between turns one and two, but it was just clean racing. The track is definitely tough to pass on and he had a faster race car, but the fastest race car doesn't always win sometimes."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS THIS WEEKEND?
"I said when we were here on Friday after qualifying that qualifying was one race and the race was another. It definitely proved that way. The weather played a big part, no doubt, not only in starting the race but the way it finished -- which was definitely in our favor. But to boost our lead in the rookie points and to move up to eighth in Winston Cup points -- to get that track record and lead the most laps -- we almost conquered everything here this weekend. But next weekend it could be a total invert, so we'll just have to see how things go."
HOW MUCH LONGER COULD YOU HAVE HELD OFF BUSCH?
"It depends on how many times he hit me (laughing). That's the bottom line. If I was in the middle of the race track, he wasn't gonna get around me and that's what I was doing. I drove a pretty fast line that was defensive, but I wasn't blocking him -- at least I hope he sees I wasn't blocking him because I wasn't purposely doing it. It was just one of those things where you just run as hard as you can and put yourself in the position. The guys did a great job in the pits of putting myself in position to win and from there on out it was just my driving."
HOW BUSY WERE YOU IN THE CAR?
"Just take everything you said and multiply it by 100. That's how fast it happens and do it every corner (laughing). It's difficult, but when you've got a car that's handling pretty good, you can look in the mirror more often and see what's going on and you can listen to your spotter. The guys at the engine company did an awesome job building us a horse that pulled down the straightaway and that pulled us out of a jam there a few times, but we still handled through the corners pretty good in order to hold him off."
DO YOU LIKE NEW HAMPSHIRE IN GENERAL?
"So far it's been pretty good. We've got other tracks that are better, but the hard part about this place is passing. We've been pretty good here qualifying, even in the Busch car we were pretty good qualifying, and once you get that track position it's easy to lose it but it's something you can take advantage of in a big way. That was what I said about today. We didn't have the fastest car at a few points in the race, but, at the same time, we were in the right track position to be able to hold everybody off. I guess to answer your question more directly, it's an all right race track. It's fun to race at and hard to pass on, but it doesn't make it my favorite just because I won."
WAS THIS EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE -- WITH A GUY RIGHT ON YOUR BACK?
"It was definitely fun and it won't set in for quite a while I'm sure. One of the coolest parts, as well as my dad (Greg) being here and being able to enjoy it with him, was when I got the checkered flag, every driver out there came by and congratulated me. That means a lot. There are no enemies. Everybody was grateful and it was gratifying for me that they congratulated me the way they did. That's something that's special in a series like this that's so competitive -- to get friendships that are so meaningful like that."
HOW DID THE TRACK CHANGE FROM THE FIRST RAIN TO THE END?
"Not a whole lot. It didn't seem to change a whole lot. I think the biggest change was from yesterday to today because of the cloudiness. The track was a little bit tighter from the start, but that was kind of good for us to be out front at the beginning because we were a little bit tight and we had clean air."
WHERE DID KURT HIT YOU?
"I think he got me a little bit between turns one and two. He just shot up and got me in the left-rear corner just a very little bit and it shook me loose. It felt like there was about 20 to go. He was definitely hounding me and it seemed every once in a while I could catch a break with a lapped car, and every once in a while he would run back up on me. Like I said, I've got to congratulate him as much as everybody else because he very easily could have taken us out of that."
WHAT ABOUT THE PIT CREW TODAY?
"That's the crew chief's job to tell you that. He's the one that trains those guys and helps them to perform the way they do. I didn't get into pit lane as hard as I should have and I was pretty conservative on pit lane as far as not getting caught speeding, but it was just one of those things. They knocked off a great stop and we were able to hold our track position and get back by Kurt Busch."
BORLAND: "All the guys did a great job. They've been working hard all year. Fortunately, we busted off a good stop and it was real good to see all the guys, with that kind of pressure on them, perform to that level. It's just real gratifying for everybody."
ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FRIDAY AND TODAY WITH THE TRACK?
NEWMAN: "Not really. The track was pretty much the same as it was when we first came here in July. The only change the track has had all year was when it tore up a little bit in turns three and four. That didn't seem to be an issue at all today. I think it might have been had the sun been out, but, overall, the track seemed to be pretty consistent to me. This track is basically two drag strips with a couple kinks on the end and it's tough to drive sometimes because there's so much corner and then such long straightaways."
DID YOU FEEL THAT WOULD GIVE YOU AN EDGE?
"No, he had the edge at some points there because he was behind me and he could have taken advantage, but, like I said, that's why I'm grateful that he didn't."
WHO MENTIONED THE RAIN FIRST?
"We had a little angel out there floating in the sky and it hit her first. I know I came on the radio first and said, 'Hey, I've got some rain on the windshield.' Matt came back and confirmed it and said he told NASCAR and it's just one of those things where it kept getting worse and worse and worse. I was sitting there when we were idling around and the track was kind of half dry and half wet I'm like, 'Just please rain. There's no reason why you shouldn't rain right now (laughing).'"
HOW TENSE DOES IT GET WHEN THE RAIN STARTS COMING DOWN AND YOU STILL HAVE TO RACE?
"At that point, it's the same for everybody. It wasn't like we were on a two-mile race track and I was the first guy running over fresh pavement that could have just been rained on. I had Sterling in front of me and I could gauge a little bit off of him and that was important for me. I guess maybe the tightest point of the race was when we were actually racing back to the yellow flag and I saw Kurt coming on the low side and I had to shut his line off a little bit."