RYAN NEWMAN, NO.39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed the new Phoenix surface, his position in the chase, Charlotte Motor Speedway and other topics.

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

TALK ABOUT THE CHASE THUS FAR AND YOU’RE THOUGHTS COMING INTO KANSAS: “I would like to hit the redo button. We started off running out of fuel finished 8th instead of 3rd then had a tire go at Loudon, should have been 9th, finished 25th and Dover was a struggle pretty much all weekend for us, you know you get one mulligan but not two and a half. I think that by no means are we out of a shot at a championship, we just have a steep uphill battle, and that I think we are still capable of overcoming. I am not going to say that we’re not but it is not going to be easy.”

YOU’RE AN ENGINEER, YOU HAVE A RULE CHANGE AT TALLADEGA AND A NEW SURFACE AT PHOENIX, HOW MUCH OF A CHALLLENGE IS THAT? “The situation at Talladega is somewhat less of a challenge mostly because it takes some of what we did from a tandem drafting part of it, which was very challenging, out of it. There is going to be less of that activity, I guess you could say throughout the race. The difference is I think we won’t be doing that type of racing in the middle of the race. We will just sit there and ride. If that is what they want us to do, is not push each other, we will sit there and ride and then push each other at the end, which simply turns into a single file freight-train that nobody likes. I don’t know that, that is going to happen but that is my perspective on what I think will happen and I don’t think that is what the fan necessary want to see. When it comes to Phoenix, I think all the effort is going to be in making the track wider. I don’t want it to be where we get to the end of the Cup race and say yea the track finally widened out and we can race, but we have already had our last restart, so we will see next year. I think it’s a situation where we need to get the track widened out, make all the efforts and I know they are doing that but that is something even us as a group as far as drivers have stressed. We feel like we did a good job there but the situation of a new race track and a new tire and the way that the asphalt turns to dust when you run on it, it makes it a challenge to make it wider. The only people who make it wider are the one that mess up or have a misbalance and get out of the groove, so that is something they have to work on there. Every other race has its own challenges as well.”

ARE YOU GUYS WONDERING HOW FAR OUT IS TOO FAR OUT, GIVEN THIS IS THE FIRST TIME EVERYBODY HAS GONE THROUGH THIS, IS THERE A NUMBER OR A RACE THAT YOU LOOK AT AND SAY “WE’RE OUT”? “No, there is no number. I mean last week you guys counted Jimmie Johnson potentially out and he bounced back pretty vibrantly. That was one race and we have six to go, or whatever it is seven to go. From my stand point, just go out there and do our best, I mean it’s no different but we are 41 point out, 42 if you want to go for the championship I guess, because we don’t have the wins to beat some of the guys that are up there but, we can. There is still plenty of time; there are still plenty of wild cards, between Phoenix, Martinsville and Talladega. We don’t know.”

REGARDING PHOENIX, YOU SAID THEY HAVE TO PUT EVERY EFFORT INTO WIDENING THE TRACK OUT, WHAT ARE THOSE EFFORT, WHAT DO THEY NEED TO DO? “The biggest thing is just, flipping tires in those grooves that we are not in. Whether it’s the school cars, weather it is other cars that they can get out there, something. There is potential too I think to physically just clean that race track. I don’t know if pressure washing would help, I don’t know what all would be the contributing factors , I am no asphalt expert but I do know that the track itself will be good racing once we can move around on the race track a little bit more, and pass each other. The way it is now, you have to either shake somebody loose or be a good bit faster to pass somebody there. The tire machine was brought up, the Texas tire machine, so basically anything that provides tire slippage that would lay rubber and also clean that dirt or whatever it is, the physical change that needs to happen with the asphalt to make it rubber instead of that dirty new asphalt is what has to happen. It really requires the tires to slip. You can’t just drive a passenger car around it, you can’t just drive a school car around it, and you have to actually slip the tires so there is some speed involved is my point.”

THEY ARE BUILDING THESE TRACKS NOW WITH THE VARIABLE BANKING AND THEY PROMISE US SIDE BY SIDE RACING, WHY DOES THAT NOT HAPPEN RIGHT AWAY AS WE ARE LEAD TO BELIEVE? “Talking about Phoenix still? Basically where we are racing at we are not even getting to the part of the variable banking. I mean the groove is not wide enough to have any variance in banking what so ever, so once we get the track widened out, then that variable banking will make for great racing, there is no doubt in my mind. Between the front straight-away being wider, the corners being a little bit wider, it is like there are plenty of capabilities and the dog leg is going to be a little different situation on the back stretch the way it dips down and comes back up. It will be interesting to see what it is like to run side by side if you are there being the inside car, if you really get loose or not. It will be interesting but, it is not going to be interesting until that second and third and maybe as much as a fourth groove get in there where we can diamond the corners a little bit more once the tires fall off and do some passing.”

IT IS REAL WINDY TODAY, DO YOU BACK UP THE CORNORS WHEN IT IS LIKE THAT, DO YOU RUN DEEPER DOWN INTO TURN ONE? AND IS IT FRUSTRATING WHEN YOU HAVE THESE EXTREME WINDY CONDITIONS AND YOU DON’T THINK THEY ARE GOING TO APPLY TOMORROW? “Well were in Kansas, there is a good chance it is going to be windy tomorrow too. I was sitting in a tree yesterday and it was pretty windy here. It is the same for everyone as long as you have a good understanding of what the wind is and how it is affecting your car, then you do have to change the way you drive and the way you approach the race track compared to if there is no wind. It is something that everyone has to deal with. Another variable, just gives you another variable to beat the competition. It moves you up the track, you do not feel it move you up the track but you’re not carrying the same speed as if there were no wind. The deal with the wind is, the thing in one and two kind of gets blocked by the hill and everything out there so it’s not so much that the wind is holding you in, in one and two as it really. It gives you a chance to come down and really patch the ground and push you out in three and four. It was kind of blowing from two to four and the way the straightaway are, it really doesn’t get you so much.”

YOU DIDN’T FALL OUT OF A TREE DID YOU? “No I didn’t, I went hunting yesterday and I was up in the tree in the morning and then it got windy and then we went in the afternoon and I never got in the tree in the afternoon, I was smarter than that. A couple of guys on the team went and actually got down out of the tree, before the tree tried to win.”

TALK ABOUT CHARLOTTE, IS CHARLOTTE AS RACY AS IT IS GOING TO GET? “Well we all as drivers kind of chipped in just so that we would take that advantage away from Jimmie (Johnson) when it came to the pavement. I think that the racing is really good there. The track as far as running up against the fence, running down on the bottom, both end of the race track is really racy. I think racier that it has ever been in my career, when it was the original surface, and then it was levigated and then it was re-paved, I think it is the best now that it has ever been. The cars are so similar and the speeds are so fast that it’s still a difficult place to pass. It is really a fun race track once you get your car right there. The track is so different end to end that it does take a specific balance to get the car balanced out end to end. It is fun especially on qualifying days for me.”

BACK TO TALLADEGA, ONE OF YOUR FELLOW CHASERS SAID THAT THE ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTED TEST MAY ACTUALLY TURN OUT TO BE ANOTHER PRACTICE DAY TO SET UP FOR THE RACE, IS THAT SOMETHING YOU WOULD CONSIDER, MORE RACE SET-UP THAN WORRIED ABOUT NEXT YEAR AT THIS TIME? “I’m not exactly sure what all they are testing besides the fuel injection when it goes to a situation like that but, yea, I mean what it is the Thursday before, something like that. It is definitely something that you can look into but, in the end the rules are the rules for Sunday and we will see what we can do. I am not testing there. You do not get a chance to pick the rear springs the front spring are a no-brainer so I mean it’s more about the body and more so the engine than anything else.”

DOES YOUR MINDSET OR APPROACH THROUGH THE WEEKEND CHANGE FROM WEEK TO WEEK OR IS IT SOLID ALL THE WAY AROUND? “If I was last in points or if I were first in points it would be the same. And that is to do my best to go out there and win the race. If you have a car that is not capable of winning the race then you try to turn a 15th into a 10th or a 10th into a 5th by using strategy. You do whatever you possibly can to get that victory. I don’t have a different approach, maybe I should, I wouldn’t be 11th in points right now but I don’t think there has been a problem.”