RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY/QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET met with members of the media today at Daytona International Speedway to discuss sharing information with his teammates, the hot temperatures in Daytona this week, and other topics.
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT BEING IN DAYTONA AND WHAT THIS WEEKEND MEANS TO YOU: “I guess once you’ve won the race (Daytona 500) it is always special to come back and be a part of the sport that you love. Starting off Speedweeks we have just been a little bit off on overall speed. We really played it safe in the (Budweiser) Shootout, after watching Shootout practice and purposely laid in the back. We didn’t get the right moves at the end there. Kyle (Busch) kind of snuck one in on us. Just working on a little bit of speed, working on seeing how everything unfolds with the rules changes. Making sure we are doing the best on our end to capitalize on the cooling and the speed and the handling and all those types of things with the U.S. Army/Quicken Loans Chevrolet.”
HOW MUCH INFORMATION ARE YOU GATHERING FROM THE NO. 14’S (TONY STEWART) SUCCESS THIS WEEK? HOW ARE YOU APPLYING IT TO YOUR RACE ON SUNDAY? “The information sharing is no different with us and the No. 14 versus us and the No. 10 or across the board with anybody. Tony’s been in just a little bit better situation I would say. My car likes to be up front. When I’m hanging out in the back, I’m just hanging on. His car has been really good up front. I think our car will be too we just haven’t been able to put ourselves in that situation. We never got to the front in the Duel. When the pit cycling came around we lost one of the guys that was helping in our draft. We never got back to the lead group to mix it up. I feel confident in our car. He is 14 thousandths of a second away from two victories going two for two this year so far. We’re good.”
DID AT ANY POINT LAST YEAR YOU LOOK AT JIMMIE (JOHNSON) AND THINK ‘MAN THIS GUY IS JUST NOT HITTING IT THIS YEAR. IT’S NOT THE SAME SEASON FOR HIM.’ OR WAS IT JUST NOT THAT OBVIOUS? “We were more worried about ourselves than what he was doing. We are part teammates with him; with our information sharing with their information sharing and things that we have with Hendrick (Motorsports). At the same time we want to win and at the same time we wanted to see somebody else win. We never really focused on what their struggles were. In the Chase itself we had struggles of our own. It was not much of an issue.”
A LOT OF DRIVERS ARE HAVING TROUBLE SUCKING-UP IN THE DRAFT. IS THAT WHAT YOU ARE SEEING? DO WE KNOW WHY? “There are two reasons to that and part of it is just the rules package the way the cars are drafting. The second part of it is the cars are getting so hot. My feet were glowing inside the race car just from heat off the firewall. My pinky toe was laying up against the side of the foot rest and wherever there was any contact on metal it was hot. We are doing everything we can to get the cars cooled off. That means staggering out and getting some air and things like that. I think there are times when guys are paying more attention to their gauges than they are where they are going. I don’t know where that makes for the best racing.”
YOU CAN SUCK-UP THOUGH? “When you have somebody behind you then you have no issues sucking up. You just can’t be the last car.”
WHY DID WE NOT SEE A LOT OF CARS PRACTICE TODAY AND A LOT OF TEAMS NOT TALKING ABOUT PRACTICING TOMORROW? “I think it’s a little different with the testing. We have more to lose than we have to learn at this point. At least the people that aren’t practicing feel like they have more to lose than to learn. We worked on a couple of small things today. Just perfecting my brake bias and coming to pit road, simple things like that. Those things can really catch you off guard when you are trying to do a quick stop and no tires. When you have to do that abort and put tires on it and lose the draft. That is a significant change in your race strategy. We are working on a couple of small things, but as far as making the race car that dominant race car, I think everybody knows that the rules package doesn’t allow us to big like that or to do those things that we have in the past.”
DOES IT MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE THAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE COOLER ON SUNDAY? “It is going to help my feet. It’s going to help my radiator. It’s going to help a lot of things, but we are still going to push the cars to that limit. When it cools off we can push a little bit farther, instead of a straight-a-way we can push two straight-a-ways or three straight-a-ways. It just depends on the situation that you are in. The farther you are out front the more opportunity you have with the cleaner, cooler air. When you are in a group of 30 cars if you are 20 cars back then you are going to be hot no matter what. The grill opening is so small that the cars just don’t recover like they should or they need to.”