RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY RESERVE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway and discussed racing at night at Texas Motor Speedway, the bumps at TMS, traction control and more.
TALK ABOUT THE NIGHT RACE FOR THE FIRST TIME AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY. “I think for us just trying to get adjusted to the different schedule and laying out our tires so we can be advantageous to take advantage of the timing of events and qualifying so that we can have good pit selection and a good starting spot. I think that has kind of changes everybody’s outlook on what to expect and the unexpected is the race itself as far as going into the night this time of year. We’ll just do our thing and rely on our teammates to swap out some information and things like that when it comes to the car. Just in general look forward to it. It was a good track for us last fall. We got stuck on the outside on a restart, I think (Greg) Biffle had no third gear and I got shuffled back at the end. Just really enjoying the race track here as it’s gotten some age on it and widened out. It’s still got the character of the bumps but at the same time it’s really smooth and really fast.”
YOUR LAST PRACTICE STARTS AT 2:00 AND ENDS AT 3:30, YOU’RE NOT RACING AT THAT TIME, YOUR NOT QUALIFYING AT THAT TIME, HOW MUCH DO YOU TAKE AWAY FROM AN AFTERNOON PRACTICE SESSION TODAY? “I don’t know 100 percent the answer to that other than the fact that I think it’s closer than what it was supposed to be just due to the cloud cover that we have. I don’t think it was supposed to come in until a little later based on the meteorologist. It’s gonna change the same for everybody as far as what the track does. Just having some variable and some options of what we need to do to make the car loose and make the car tight is the biggest part of it so if and when the track does change we are ready for it.”
SOME GUYS YESTERDAY SAID THE NIGHT RACE ISSUE HERE MAYBE ISN’T THAT BIG OF A DEAL BECAUSE YOU’VE FINISHED RACES HERE UNDER DARK BEFORE, IS THAT GOING TO TRANSLATE AT ALL OR HOW BIG OF AN UNKNOWN IS THIS BECAUSE MOST OF THE RACE IS NOW AT NIGHT WHERE AS BEFORE YOU JUST FINISHED. “It’s not like it’s the only thing we are thinking about, but it’s definitely just different. Mostly because of the schedule and the way the practice sessions are lined up and the timing of events. We are kind of used to practicing at 10:30 in the morning and starting the race at 12:30 or 1:00. We’ve got a bigger difference than that going into this weekend. I don’t think it’s going to be like whoever gets this right, the time change and all that stuff and the night race is going to win the race, I think it’s something to consider when it comes to setting the cars up and working with them. It’s not a do or die situation.”
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO MASTER THE ART OF KNOWING WHERE TO GO FAST AND WHERE NOT ON PIT ROAD AND IS IT A FUN CHALLENGE FOR A DRIVER OR IS IT KIND OF ANNOYING? “We do whatever we can to make the best of what we have to work with. Whether its restarts or pit road or getting in and out of our boxes, there’s rules that go along with everything and it’s how you work those rules and not get caught is the name of the game for the last 50 or 60 years. Pit road is a part of it and there is time to be made or lost.
We do whatever we can to make the best of what we have to work with.
“Getting on to pit road and off is another big part of it. I have learned what to do and what not to do. I’m usually more conservative than most but I feel I can make more time up getting on and off pit road than I can on pit road.”
LAST NIGHT RICHARD PETTY WAS HONORED BY THE TEXAS MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME, IN ADDITION TO HIS SEVEN CHAMPIONSHIPS HE HOLDS RECORDS FOR WINS, WINS IN THE SEASON AND WINS IN A ROW, AS A DRIVER WHICH OF THOSE RECORDS TO YOU FIND MOST IMPRESSIVE? “I think the wins in a row. Ten is pretty stout .. that’s getting the job done week in and week out without a doubt. That to me is probably the biggest. You look at his number of wins and he’s got the starts to go along with that. I don’t mean to knock him and I’m not. But the 10 in a row, that’s tough and he did it when it was pretty tough racing back in the day. That to me is your answer.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE BUMPS AND PUT THEM IN PERSPECTIVE HERE TO BUMPS AT OTHER TRACKS? “There is a different way to characterize bumps verses humps verses dips and the frequency of the bumps and how long that patch is. Here is really just dips from the tunnels. We call them tunnel bumps but they are really tunnel dips where the race track has settled. It’s the center of (turns) one and two where the tunnel is and just past the center of (turns) three and four it feels like is where the bumps are. There’s a couple of little character bumps but most of those big bumps we talk about are those tunnel dips.”
WITH FUEL INJECTION COMING INTO THIS SPORT IT WOULD BE REALLY EASY TO PUT TRACTION CONTROL ON THE CARS … “It would be?”
THAT’S WHAT I’VE HEARD. “Who did you talk to?”
I’m all for no traction control...
FROM A DRIVER’S PERSPECTIVE WHY DO WE NOT WANT TO SEE TRACTION CONTROL IN NASCAR? “It’s important that we see the drivers have a big impact on what the fans can attach themselves to. I’ve always said the more the driver has an impact on the result … I like it to be 50/50, the car and the driver. Traction control takes a big part of the driver, like 25 percent of the driver out of it and that’s not good I don’t think for the sport. It gets to the point where the cars are robotic, where’s it’s mostly the driver is just pushing the pedal and all he has to do is steer verses control the pedal and I’m all for no traction control and keeping it closer to 50/50.”
TALLADEGA COMING UP, IT SEEMS LIKE THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS YOU’VE EITHER COMPLETED ALL THE LAPS OR YOU CAR IS DONE, ANY DIFFERENT THIS TIME BASED ON WHAT YOU SAW AT DAYTONA? “We’ve got a different insurance program now for our race cars when we go to those race tracks. I think that we’ve learned a lot of things from last fall’s Talladega that we applied to Daytona and I think that a lot of teams have sharpened up their skills when it comes to Daytona or this coming Talladega.
“NASCAR at the same time has kept an eye on what we should be able to do and be capable of when it comes to the way we draft and how things work. I don’t know how all those things are going to work out. A lot of that depends on the ambient temperature of the day and we could have a 60 degree day or we could have a 90 degree day and that really changes the effectiveness of what we do.”
DO YOU STILL EXPECT THE TWO-CAR DRAFTS? “I expect it yeah unless they say don’t expect it. We’ve been down that road before. I feel the same way, it’s better as drivers to control ourselves.”