RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) COMMENTS FROM NEXTEL WAKE-UP CALL DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO OWN A SPRINT CAR TEAM? "I had interest at a time, and I still have a little interest. I think it's great with Tony and I think Jason is doing...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger)
COMMENTS FROM NEXTEL WAKE-UP CALL
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO OWN A SPRINT CAR TEAM? "I had interest at a time, and I still have a little interest. I think it's great with Tony and I think Jason is doing a little bit and Kasey for sure. I think it's great what they're doing, helping give back to a series that created their resumes. From a time standpoint, I don't want to take time to dedicate to that and sacrifice anything else I do because that's more important to me personally. I think there's potential for it for sure, maybe 35-40 percent potential for it now. I'd say I was maybe 70 percent potential a year ago, but I'm interested in doing what we are here right now, trying to get the championship. That's definitely more important to me."
TALK ABOUT THE GEAR RULE AT MICHIGAN "I don't have a definitive answer for you. I know the gear rule this year hasn't had a huge affect at a racetrack and the way we've driven the track. I don't know the numbers for what the ratio change is here from what we usually run here compared to what the gear rule change numbers are and the options we have. I don't see it having a huge effect if any on the racing."
COMMENT ON TIRES IN GENERAL "I actually complimented Goodyear last week for having a tire that didn't marble up and give us an opportunity to run high in the corners. Usually when you get up in the marbles there you go straight to the fence, especially in turn three. That was the best thing I've seen there in awhile as far as tires go. Obviously there was an issue. I call it a sensitivity issue. Every track we go to teams aren't running the same cambers and pressures. That's a guarantee. That was the same case at Pocono. I think we just had a tire that was sensitive to being on the edge of failure in that respect."
COMMENT ON THE CHASE FOR THE CHASE "Former champions don't mean anything to me. I look at them as competitors. What were former champions could be guys that are never in the top 10 again. I don't mean that in a bad way, but guys for instance Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart made their way up and proved themselves to be former champions. The nametag doesn't mean anything to me. With the points the way they are right now, just the results and the way they've laid out as far as the performance everybody has put forth. We just go out and do our thing. We don't worry about anybody else."
HOW WOULD YOU CHANGE QUALIFYING? "I think it's fun to let the teams adjust on the racecars to make the cars go ultimately as fast as they can. Looking at the big picture compared to 10 years ago, I wasn't around in Nextel Cup, but looking at the big picture there's so many things we can't adjust on anymore because of the rules. Give us a few things we can adjust on to make the cars go faster and I think that would make qualifying a little bit more fun for the team. The results might be the same, I don't know that. Still two laps by ourselves, I think everything is fine there. I think points should be awarded for poles, not just because of my qualifying status because we usually spend a day on qualifying or there's a certain amount of time that's spent on qualifying. I use the example of guys that stay out and lead a lap to get the five bonus points that are running at the tail end of the lead lap and get five points and don't really deserve it. That to me is not fair. I think there should be something similar to a 5-4-3-2-1 in qualifying."
DO YOU THINK IT'S JUST A COINCIDENCE THAT FIVE OF 10 DRIVERS IN TOP 10 HAVEN'T WON A RACE THIS SEASON? "I still go back to Darlington. You can take one off the list there, but I'd say it's mostly a coincidence."
DO YOU THINK SLOWER RACES WOULD MEAN BETTER FOR THE FANS? "It depends on what kind of fan you are. There's a reason fans like us running four wide and getting in 27-car pileups at Talladega. If that's what you define racing as then no, the faster you go the bigger crashes there's going to be. But if you're a true race fans, in my eyes, you want to see cars that run two, three, four-wide in the corners just like here at Michigan draft down the straightaway and can race close together. That would happen if you'd slow the cars down. Read it for what it's worth. It all depends on what the fans want."
HOW WOULD YOU SLOW THE CARS DOWN? "It's not real hard. You just take the downforce off the cars and put a smaller carburetor. It's really simple, but there's a lot more to it. It's simple-minded, but there's a lot more to it than that. You have to rebalance the cars or have the capability to rebalance the cars and then see what the racing is like, but slowing them down isn't hard. I think at the same time my point of taking the downforce off of them, making them so the drivers have to manhandle the racecars, I'm not into tooting everybody else's horn, but I think that's why you're seeing Greg Biffle being as strong as he is this year. He's a heck of a racecar driver and he can hang a car out."
COMMENT ON ROUSH AND HENDRICK TEAMS DOMINATION THIS SEASON "That's one side of the numbers. I think another side of the numbers you're missing is that they make up 25 percent of the field. They've got 10 cars of 40 in the field so it's really good odds that they're going to perform well. Outside of that they're doing a good job. We've put ourselves in position to be sixth in points and we haven't won a race yet. We hope to turn that table around."
COMMENT ON LIMITING CUP DRIVERS IN BUSCH SERES "It all depends on what you want. If you want to see the best racing out there then let the drivers earn their way into the field by qualifying or whatever. There's no reason at all why you would put a limit on it. The Busch drivers that are complaining obviously have a lot of pull to get this far into the discussion. To me, when I ran Busch back in 2001, I looked forward to running against the best drivers or what I thought was the best drivers in the world. That was fun for me. The guys out there saying every time he's been in a crash this year it was a Nextel Cup driver, well, he was in the crash, too. There's different ways of looking at it. To me, I've always said if you're a minor league baseball team and you had a chance to play the Yankees, you wouldn't turn it down if you're a true player. When I ran the Busch race at Charlotte I raced just like I do in the Nextel Cup Series. I didn't take any more risks. There was no need to. Why take a chance crashing when you feel like you're got a car capable of winning? I don't do it and I've never seen where another driver does that. I think there are egos out there that play a role in it, but that's no different than any other series."
COMMENT ON CAUTIONS "I don't know how true the stat is I saw on Jayski, but there was a stat that said there have been 25 percent more cautions but there's been like 15 more laps of those cautions. If we've seen 200 cautions in the past, we've seen maybe 250 or 275 cautions this year. The number of laps is virtually the same. I think what you're seeing basically is NASCAR is either doing a better job of cleaning the accident scenes up or we're having accidents that require less laps to clean it up whether it's debris or what. I think in general, basically if you do the math, we're just having a better opportunity to crash because we're back green-flag racing sooner than we ever have been and in turn every time you do that you're bunching the field up which is usually when more crashes happen. My point is there was a stat that we're not necessarily having more caution flag laps. We're just having more caution flags."
COMMENT ON RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACING "It's still racing. It's just not racing like we want it to be, at least from my standpoint. If it was 100 percent racing back then it's 50 percent racing now. There's still racing behind it, but it's not the same kind of racing everybody has grown through as far as the series they've competed in. In USAC Midgets there's no restrictor-plate racing and things like that is my point. It's a different kind of animal and if that's what NASCAR feels makes the best champion then let it be."
COMMENT ON YOUR OUTLOOK FOR MICHIGAN "I've always liked this racetrack. I've always said it's an easy racetrack to drive, but it's a great racetrack to race because of the drafting, horsepower, you've got to get through the corners to get down the straightaways. It's unique. One and two aren't even close to three and four as far as the way you drive it. You look at it and it looks similar. We've had a good combination ever since we came here and raced the ARCA car in 2000. I just enjoy it. It's close to home and there's a lot of good things about this racetrack and that extends to Roger Penske previously owning it and all the things he's done here. It's always been like a home base for us."
COMMENT ON THE SCHEDULE "I'm hoping what I see and what NASCAR is trying to do is they're trying to make a two-day show and had to logistically play it out and see if they could do it in two days by doing it in three days from a time standpoint. In the future, if this schedule is a two-day event, I'll accept that. It's not the most ideal schedule right now I don't think. I think we can do it in two days. It's just a matter of whether the fans and the racetracks let us do that."