RYAN NEWMAN., NO. 39 US ARMY CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed Team Orders, the Ryan Newman Foundation events, his 2011 season and other topics.
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE SEASON THUS FAR AND YOUR THOUGHTS COMING INTO THE WEEKEND: “I think there are only two guys that are excited being here, but we are looking to end the season on a good note. Last weekend was a good race for us to come from 30th to fifth and it is important for our team to end on a good note, weather the No. 14 does or not. It is good for the organization to have two strong running teams at the end of a season and go into our biggest race next year. Weather I get to make it back in here or not we just need to have a good weekend and have some fun.”
YOU ALWAYS HAVE SOME REALLY INTERESTING THINGS THAT YOU DO IN THE OFF SEASON; DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING PLANNED THAT IS GOING TO BE SOMETHING DIFFERENT? “A little bit more hunting than I did last year, our typical snowmobile trip to Utah, some friends we have out there, we stay in a little cabin and run off of a propane generator and a wood stove and rough it for a week, snowmobiling and having fun out there. That is pretty much it, spending time at home, cutting down our Christmas tree as a family and enjoying the holidays.”
CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT IT HAS BEEN LIKE WATCHING TONY STEWART HANDING THE OWNER/DRIVER DUTIES AND BE SO SUCCESSFUL? “I don’t see that side of it, I just see Tony Stewart as a driver, and I don’t see Tony Stewart as the owner handling that part of things. That is one of the things I have always said, I think he does a good job of having the right people do their jobs so that weather he is the owner or not he has the title of the owner, but he had the right people doing that job as far as the ownership goes. He is listed as that, and he is running a company from a responsibility standpoint, he makes the ultimate calls and decisions, but if the other people do their job, then he does not have to be involved as much as some other owners. That helps him be just the driver that he is, I don’t mean just the driver that he is, just that responsibility side of it.”
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS TEAM ORDERS IN NASCAR AND ON SUNDAY IF YOU ARE FIRST AND TONY(STEWART) IS SECOND, AND CARL(EDWARDS) IS THIRD, TONY NEEDS TO WIN, DO YOU LET HIM WIN? “I think there has always been some form of team orders, but my little baby is one year old and I can order her around all I want and it does not mean she is going to listen to me. From my standpoint, it is business as usual, I will do everything I can to help him, I will do whatever I can to not hurt him, but I will not sacrifice for myself, for my team, for the US Army, everybody involved for the fans, I don’t think that is the right way of racing. I don’t think Tony (Stewart) would see it that way or if the roles were reversed he would expect or I would expect him to do the same thing for me, that is not how we were brought up that is not how we race.”
BRIAN (FRANCE) WAS JUST IN HERE AND HE SAID THE DRIVERS KNOW WHERE THE LINE IS ON TRACK AND THEY KNOW WHAT THEY CAN AND CANNOT SAY ABOUT THE SPORT, SO THEY WILL NOT BE FINED, DO YOU GUYS KNOW WHERE THE LINE IS ON THE TRACK AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT SAY ABOUT THE SPORT AT TIMES OF POLITICAL INCORRECTNESS? “There is two parts to that, one part is saying the right things at the right time, and the right place which we are all taught up to do when we were younger but the other part of it is how people are impressed or lack of impressed I guess from what you say at that time or at that place. We have seen it and we know certain people have been recipients of it, but I think it is a good thing that NASCAR manages that, I think it is a good thing that they do it the way they do. It is not anything that is fun to talk about or any part of it that we need to go into any deeper, but it is tough to speak your peace sometimes when you are peace is not what some people want to hear.”
SINCE YOU ARE AN ENGINEER, ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTION AT DAYTONA, WE JUST HAD A TEST DOWN THERE AND ONE AT TALLADEGA, WHAT DO YOU THINK FROM A PHYSICS STANDPOINT, THEY SHOULD BE DOING WITH THIS THING? “I think the one most important thing that we need to do is keep the cars on the ground, keep them at a certain mile per hour range. Keeping in mind that once they get in a pack of 43 that they are going to be even faster yet, go back to Talladega, we say cars qualifying at 178 mph or 180 mph and they are racing at 200 mph. There is a big discrepancy there between the cars in the pack versus cars by themselves. Ultimately, the fuel injection, I have not tested it at a restrictor plate track yet, I did it at Martinsville, I did it at Charlotte, but from what I have experienced and what I have seen is we are spending a lot of our time on the fuel injection, trying to get them to drive like the carbureted cars, which we have an infinite amount of experience with. Once we can get a better understanding of electronic fuel injection and then apply that to restrictor plates and apply it to make the cars actually drive better. In my opinion we are not educated enough and do not have enough experience with the fuel inject to actually go to a place like that and say yea these are the things that we need to do. I don’t know that there is a significant difference in how a fuel injected engine reacts to restrictor plate versus a carbureted engine, I don’t have that experience to be able to speak on it. Daytona, the most important thing is that we go down there and give the fans the kind of racing that they want. Obviously, that has not been, at least the majority rules, that has not been the tandem style racing, which I typically enjoy more than New York style traffic, grid lock, stuck in the middle of the pack, so we will see what they come up with.”
TONY (STEWART) SAID YESTERDAY THAT “HE WOULD WRECK HIS MOTHER TO WIN THE TITLE” IF YOU ARE FIRST AND HE IS SECOND AND HE CAN GET TO YOUR BUMPER, WOULD YOU EXPECT HIM TO MOVE YOU? “If he needed to yea. I would do the same thing to him, I am racing for a win, and he is racing for a championship. If he has to pass me to win and yea that is part of it. I am not going to pull over for him and like I said, he would not pull over for me. We are not raised that way. Do what you have to do man, in the end he owns my racecar so whatever he wants to do is fair game.”
THE WAY TONY HAS BEEN APPROACHING THE LAST COUPLE OF RACES, ARE YOU LOOKING AT TONY AND SEEING A MASTER AT WORK HERE WHEN IT COMES TO TRYING TO GET INSIDE CARL ( EDWARDS) HEAD? “I think he is having a lot of fun with it. I think he obviously, he has performed better than I think anybody expected in the “Chase” not just from a win standpoint but just pure leading laps and the cars. They have turned their team around. I think he there is a since of enjoyment there for him on the mental side as much as it is on the physical side of just putting up the numbers. He has a lot of fun doing that. I think the next couple of days are going to be interesting to see how all that stuff plays out. I think and I don’t mean to sound un-biased, but I think it is a pretty equal game right now. I think they are both stabling pretty hard at each other.”
BRIAN, ALSO SAID THAT YOU GUYS DEFINITELY KNOW THE LIMIT ON THE TRACK AND WHERE THE LINE IS AND WHEN YOU GO OVER THE LINE AND WHEN YOU DON’T, I HAVE HEARD A LOT OF DRIVERS SAY THEY DON’T REALLY KNOW WHERE THE LINE IS? “I would have to say that Brian, I assume you are talking about Brian Vickers? NO BRIAN FRANCE, Brian France ok, well Vickers has had a few issues here the last couple of weeks, so I am just checking. I don’t think it is fair for him to say that we all know the line because I don’t think that line is a black and white line, I think it is obviously got some senses of confusion about it. I am not trying to ruffle anybodies feathers but I don’t think he can say that we all understand because we all don’t understand otherwise we would not have some of these situations or dilemmas and I don’t think people are going to put themselves in a position where they are going to lose their money because of their opinion. Nobody is that dumb in our sport.”
YOU HAVE SOME CHARITY EVENTS COMING UP FOR THE FOUNDATION, HOW IMPORTANT IS THE HOLIDAY SEASON FOR THE RYAN NEWMAN FOUNDATION AND THESE UPCOMING EVENTS? “ That is one of the tough things about our schedule is we only have so much time to do some of the things that we love. Our fishing tournament on December 10th and our foundation dinner on December 9th, the night before is something that we have purposely planned to be in the off season so that we can dedicate the time and our resources to be able to have some fun and do that. Raising money for the animals and doing the things that we do, Bass Pro Shops has been a great partner for us, giving away, I should not say giving away, the winner receives a Nitro Z9 boat for our fishing tournament, so some amazing things that we do and amazing partners that we have with the Ryan Newman Foundation, to do the things that we do raise the money that we raise as well as the awareness which is sometimes more important than the money.”
YOU MENTIONED EARLIER THAT YOU CAN ORDER YOUR DAUGHTER AROUND AND SHE MIGHT NOW LISTEN. IF YOU PUT YOURSELF IN THE ROLE OF YOUR DAUGHTER AND NASCAR IN THE ROLE OF YOU, WITH BRIAN FRANCE SAYING THEY DO NOT WANT THE DRIVERS TO SAY NEGATIVE THINGS ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF THE SPORT, DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, HOW HAS THAT CHANGED HOW YOU ADDRESS THINGS? “If I could get NASCAR to change my diapers it would be an amazing thing. (Laughs) In all seriousness, like I said it is tough. Sometimes you get blindsided by those things and my point was, it is subjective, it is a matter of some ones opinion and what I say, what I understand in my mind, but the way you take it or want to take it, can be taken a different way and it all depends on your mood, it all depends on the listeners mood, and what their perspective is. If they have a negative impression of you or of the race or whatever that goes before that and you speak your mind, or you speak your peace, then that is not taken the right way and there is a penalty for that, it is known that there is a penalty for that. Like I said, it is not something that we want to discuss or talk about because it is not good for our sport, but it has to be managed and I think they do a fair job of managing that. Weather it is a certain driver or a certain car owner or certain situation, every cause has an effect and they have to play that judge.
HAVE THERE BEEN TIMES WHERE YOU HAVE HELD BACK ON SOMETHING BECAUSE OF YOUR EXPERIENCE AND WHEN YOU LOOK BACK YOU THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD THING, OR TIMES YOU THOUGHT MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING? “I want to go back to the comment about what Brian (France) said was that we all know that and we don’t all know that line. We know that area, but we do not know that line. Yes there are times and I am sure you can probably talk to every driver out there where they probably wanted to say something at one point and they decided not to. Weather it was a four letter word, weather it was a comment, weather it was a biased opinion of somebody, whatever, that has always happened, and has always happened in the history of all sports, but knowing that line is entirely different than knowing that area of where you crossed that line. I think we have all been in that area, and we all have an idea of where that line is but not everybody has the same understanding of exactly where that line is and that is my point.”
INAUDIBLE: “There are things that I have heard people say, that I have questioned, there are things that I have said that I don’t think should have ever been an issue but they were. Like I said, it is not black and white, it is not cut and dry, it is not that simple period.”
IS THERE ANY RHYME OR REASON AS TO WHY YOUR ROLES HAVE REVERSED, WHY YOUR TEAM HAD A GREAT 26 RACES AND THEN THE ROLE REVERSED AND THE No. 14 CAME OUT STRONG IN THE CHASE? “I am not sure, it has baffled me. You look at our stats, we had the top-fives the top-ten’s going we had everything going for us as far as being one of the guys that should have been there in the “Chase” at least with four or five races to go been in the hunt. We are not, and I think if you look back at it, from my standpoint, we had some struggles. We were the team that should have finished at least third at Chicago but ran out of fuel, and finished eighth. We go into New Hampshire, we back up our qualifying efforts but we did not back up our race efforts from the spring race, I forget if we finished ninth or tenth, whatever it was but our teammate goes out and wins the first two. That performance of the other team did not affect our team but we knew that we were capable of it and we were not following through. Then Dover and Kansas were a struggle for us, Kansas we had a lug nut fall off on a green-flag pit stop, lost two laps, the race went green for a really long time and took us until the last actual caution flag to get back on the lead lap, I think we finished like 18th or 20th or something, so we just have not had the performance, going into even into Chicago, we had a loose wheel on the car had to come in, sorry Texas, had a loose wheel on the car and had to come in, lost two laps, the very first pit stop and came back and finally battled back to finish 16th I think. The 16th number is not something that we are proud of, but going from 37th to 16th is what has been the strength of our team. It is so frustrating for me to have to spend so much time fighting back, when I know our team is capable of so much more.”