Newman - Atlanta Friday media visit

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Dodge Motorsports press release

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY RESERVE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Atlanta, his season so far, the Chase.

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

Photo by: Ted Rossino

TALK ABOUT YOUR SEASON SO FAR AND COMING INTO ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY: “It’s unique, first of all, to come here for the first time in Atlanta in September. From our standpoint as a team, we’ve done good enough to be in a good position points wise. We’ve won a race. Look forward to coming to Atlanta. It’s a place I’ve always performed well at as a driver on qualifying day and have yet to be to victory lane. After (Tony) Stewart won last year, we’ve learned a little bit from the things that he’s done and the things that we’ve learned this year; so hopefully we’ll have a good combination to have the U.S. Army Reserve Chevrolet in a good position on Sunday night.”

IS THE SITUATION THE NO. 14 TEAM IS FACING AN SHR ISSUE OR IS IT SPECIFIC TO THAT TEAM? HOW HAS TONY BEEN TO BE AROUND? “On a personal level, everything is the same. I think his frustrations have been on race days. He’s displayed that, I don’t have to speak for him. He’s Tony Stewart, he’s mad he finished ninth. Some guys are dying for a top-10 and he’s mad he finished ninth and talks about it. It’s kind of a role reversal so it’s a new situation for me. This is the first time I have been this consistently and consecutively in front of him from a points standpoint. From a performance standpoint, our top-fives and top-10s. It is a role reversal from last year. Not to say that you guys didn’t talk about me not performing last year and my frustrations, but it’s a part of the sport. It cycles. He’s still in a good position. He’s not in the best position, but he’s still in a good position. He’s going into a race where he won last year. He runs well at Richmond typically. Then after that he’s got 10 races to get it all sorted out.”

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT TEAMS GO THROUGH CYCLES AND IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT? “I believe in the cycle theory but I believe the strength of the team depends on how that cycle flows. A great team is going to have a bad cycle at some point but they won’t stay in that bad cycle very long. Whereas, let’s say a good team that has gotten lucky, it’s going to have a harder time figuring out how to get out of bad cycle. And I say that because it is the history of our sport. I don’t know any real theory behind it. I guess it is emotions and the mentality that goes into what we do physically.”

DOES IT MAKE YOU A BETTER TEAM BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE THE PRESSURE OF STILL TRYING TO GET INTO THE CHASE? “I have never in my career been locked into the Chase before Richmond so if we are blessed enough to be able to do that, that’s going to be a sense of achieving something huge. Because, I’ve always been that guy that is barely in or out and trying to make it in. Our situation now is as close to great as it can be. There are other guys that are better than us, but we’re really close to clinching. Once that happens; we’re focused on doing the same thing we do each and every week regardless which is win races. Win races for the bonus points and win races for our team and our sponsors. Those next 10 races, as an organization or as a team, we’ll sit down and figure out the things that we need to do and the things that we need to not do in the Chase.”

HAVE WE BECOME SO JADED IN THIS SPORT THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CALLS AND INVITES A BUNCH OF PEOPLE UP THERE, THAT WE SAY WE CAN’T MAKE IT THIS WEEK, MAYBE NEXT WEEK? “Who said that?” YOUR BOSS: “I didn’t know.”

AND FOUR OTHER DRIVERS, THEY ARE INVITING 12 DRIVERS: “We are like media people; we do have schedules and obligations. So, there are things that we predetermined before you get that phone call.”

SO YOU ARE WILLING TO TURN DOWN THE PRESIDENT? “Would I be willing to? I am being careful with every word that you say in your question because one word can be misconstrued very easily.”

I’M TRYING TO ASK VERY PRECISELY; FIVE GUYS ARE NOT GOING TO THE WHITE HOUSE WHO WERE INVITED TO THE WHITE HOUSE AND I’M JUST CURIOUS AS TO WHY? “Was it date night or ice cream night (SMILES AND CHUCKLES) What do they say? I’m asking a question to your question because I’m more curious as to why they aren’t going.”

WELL, I AM TOO; I’M TRYING TO FIND OUT. I ASKED TONY (STEWART) AND HE SAID HE HAD SOMETHING ELSE TO DO AND I GUESS GREG (BIFFLE) HAD SOMETHING ELSE TO DO. JIMMIE (JOHNSON) IS GOING UP THERE AND BRIAN FRANCE IS GOING UP THERE, I JUST THOUGHT THAT BEING INVITED TO THE WHITE HOUSE WAS AN HONOR THAT YOU DON’T TURN DOWN, BUT I GUESS I’M WRONG: “I don’t know how to answer that. I’m going, I’m supposed to go. I am going, I can tell you that. Unless we get a fresh truck of ice cream come through Statesville or something, who knows. (SMILES AND CHUCKLES)”

CLARIFICATION FROM PUBLIC RELATIONS REPRESENTATIVE: “Ryan is going to the Pentagon, he wasn’t invited to the White House function, it is for the 2010 Chase contenders. But, he has received an invitation to the Pentagon and he is going to attend.”

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO BEAT BUDDY BAKER IN THE NUMBER OF POLES HERE AND DO YOU HAVE SHOT TOMORROW? “I haven’t been in the Army car yet, but I feel like we’ll be in contention. We were in contention the last time if I remember correctly the last time here and didn’t make it happen. It’s an honor just to be tied with Buddy Baker, the last thing I told you when we were in here talking about it. He is a good friend of mine, he taught me a lot. I have always said he taught me more of what not to do than what to do. To break that tie with him would be an honor.”

DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST PERSONAL CAR? ANY SPECIAL MEMORIES OF YOUR FIRST PERSONAL CAR? “My very first personal car was my birthday present from my grandparents was a 1974 Triumph TR 6, my grandfather had a stroke and couldn’t operate the clutch anymore so it was actually a car that my grandfather was in. He was a body repairman; basically, he took this car off the streets I guess it was impounded or whatever and rebuilt it as his step-in out car you could say. He had it for awhile and my dad convinced him for my 16th birthday to give it to me for a birthday present. I think when I was 15 he had the stroke, my dad and I restored the car, did some of the body work stuff and my dad rebuilt the engine, I rebuilt the suspension and I still have that car. That was the very first car that I ever had to my name.”

RYAN- YOU ARE DRIVING A TRUCK THIS WEEK THAT IS KIND OF SPECIAL WITH BEAU SLOCUMB ON IT. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO SPEND ANYTIME WITH THE FAMILY SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN DOWN HERE THIS WEEK? TALK ABOUT WHAT IT WOULD MEAN TO WIN WITH HIS NAME ON THE CAR? “Truck” (laughs) “Yes, Beau Slocumb was a really good friend of mine, and this race is special. This is something at the memorial service for Beau, Steve Turner and I talked about it a little bit. We put our brains together and decided that this was something Beau always wanted to do and it is in Atlanta which is his home track. It worked out time wise; it worked out with Realtree and Brandt, coming on board to sponsor the truck. Just to give the family a chance to come out and enjoy and that is why my name is on the left side and Beau Slocumb’s name is on the right side. I’m drivin Beau’s truck is the way I feel about it. It was the truck that he never got a chance to drive because of the cancer that came and took his life. His wife is very close with us, she actually lives with us. All of the family, it is just a great group of people, great morals. I had a lot of things in common with him, love of the outdoors, love of racing, and really admire their family the way that they are knitted together. It is a no brainer for us to come out and do something and hopefully Beau is looking down from heaven going to be pushing down really hard on that truck just to get us some extra grip tonight.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON IS STARTING TO PUT TOGETHER A RUN FOR A SIXTH CHAMPIONSHIP, WITH SO MUCH TO GO HOW DO YOU NOT LET YOUR GUYS OR YOU BE AFFECTED BY THAT. HOW MUCH DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE CHAMPIONS, HOW MUCH DO YOU NOT LET THAT AFFECT YOU? “It doesn’t affect me at all personally. On one hand they are a teammate or half-teammate however you want to call it, but on the other hand they are an entirely separate team. I am not at all worried about, provided that we make it in the chase, worried about what other teams’ strategies are. Whoever has been a five time or three time, two time champion, it is all about going out there and stringing ten races together and then you can create your own dynasty.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags atlanta, dodge, newman, sprint cup