Stewart-Haas Racing press release
So You Want to Be the Boss?
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (March 6, 2012) –Ryan Newman wants to be the boss – on the racetrack.
In his 11th full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and fourth with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), Newman has his sights set on one goal. His goal is to win, to be on top and to put himself in position to earn his first championship.
After watching his teammate and team co-owner Tony Stewart’s epic run to his third Sprint Cup championship last season – a run that saw Stewart impressively claim victory in five of the final 10 races – Newman is hungrier than ever for his own shot at a title.
Newman knows that the SHR organization and, more importantly, his No. 39 team have the tools needed to make a legitimate run at the 2012 Sprint Cup Series title. But having the tools to make a run for the title is only one piece of the puzzle.
It’s one part preparation, one part strategy and one part luck. After two races in the 2012 season, Newman & Company are looking for a little “Lady Luck” to be on their side at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In the first two races this season, Newman was running solidly in the top-10 and moving up through the field when he was been collected in wrecks not of his making. Thus, Newman sits 18th in points, which means he has ground to make up in order to be a contender for the title.
And while the always analytical Newman is carefully studying each race along with the big picture so he can make his run at a championship and clinch his opportunity to be the top dog in the Sprint Cup Series, his sponsor Quicken Loans wants to make one lucky race fan the top dog at Stewart-Haas Racing.
In its first of nine races this season with Newman and SHR, Quicken Loans is kicking off a national sweepstakes in which one lucky fan can win the chance to be Newman’s boss for one weekend this season and win $10,000.
Newman’s No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend will carry the sweepstakes Web site address – www.BeRyansBoss.com – on the car’s TV panel.
In 11 starts at Las Vegas, Newman has one pole, two top-five finishes and five top-10s, including a fifth-place effort at the 1.5-mile oval last season.
Newman and his No. 39 team showed vast improvements on the intermediate racetracks in 2011, and he wants to make his presence on the track known at Las Vegas this weekend. He and his crew know that building consistency will help him get to his goal of making the Chase for the Championship and putting himself in contention for a title run.
In a city known for pit bosses who carefully supervise the monetary transactions and gambling activity in the famed Las Vegas casinos, Newman wants to put himself in a similar role – as the boss on the racetrack.
RYAN NEWMAN, Driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet Impala for Stewart-Haas Racing:
The first two races this season haven’t been what you expected or had hoped for. Heading into Las Vegas, you are sitting 18th in points and are searching for some luck. What are your thoughts on the season so far?
“Saying that we need to have some luck is an understatement. We’ve been laps away from a top-10 at both Daytona and at Phoenix when we’ve gotten caught up in a wreck not of our causing, and that’s been really frustrating for me and the entire No. 39 team. At Daytona, we fought back from an early accident and two laps down and we were making a run for the leaders when I got caught up in a wreck that was happening behind me. Then, at Phoenix, I put us in a hole early because I wrecked the primary car in practice so we had to go to the backup car. The backup car was still strong, but there’s a reason it isn’t the primary car. It isn’t the best. I think we were going for fifth place, racing side-by-side with Carl Edwards and he just slid up into me and it sent me into the outside. I am 99 percent sure that Carl didn’t mean to do it, but we lost a lot on what was going to be a really good day for us and that’s something you just don’t forget. So, in the first two races, we’ve had three wrecked racecars and two 21st-place finishes. It’s very frustrating.
“Compared to where we started last year, it’s definitely not what we were hoping to see in the first two races of 2012. We’re in a little bit of a hole, but we’ve been in this position and we know that we can get out of it and put ourselves in the position to make the Chase and contend for the championship. And in the end, that’s our ultimate goal. We have 24 more races until the Chase, and I think our entire Quicken Loans team agrees that we have some work to do to be as competitive as we want to be, but our guys have fought really hard in these first two races. I’m really proud of them for not giving up and for their determination. It’s going to come together for us. And, hopefully, we’ll find a little ‘Lady Luck’ this weekend in Las Vegas.”
The No. 39 Chevrolet has been a really fast, strong car at Las Vegas each of the last three seasons. How does that help the team prepare and have some confidence going into this weekend?
“It’s like Tony Gibson has said several times, it’s like a snowball effect. Good finishes and success will improve the confidence of everyone on the team and that just builds momentum with each and every race. We’ve had really good racecars at Las Vegas the last few years. The first year, we qualified sixth and we were really fast during the whole race. Unfortunately, we had a loose wheel and that ended up costing us, but it was a race we left feeling really positive about what we had. We came back to Las Vegas last season and we qualified third, but we had a couple of issues on pit road during the race that hurt us so, again, we didn’t get the finish we were looking for last year, either. Last year, we were finally able to put a good start and a good finish together at Las Vegas. We really battled with the car during the race because it was too loose but, once we got the handling right, we had a super-fast racecar and ended up with a fifth-place finish. It was one of several mile-and-a-half tracks on the schedule where we ran really well and, hopefully, we can put together another good run at Las Vegas this weekend. We need a good finish after the past two weeks that we have had, and it would be nice to get some momentum going in the right direction for us.”
Talk about racing at Las Vegas.
“Personally, for me, I really like Las Vegas. I always say it’s my kind of racetrack because I like the ones that have hills, and this track has some great banking. As far as the track goes, they’ve made some changes to it over the past few years. The track is higher-banked. It has a rougher surface in that there are more bumps. The track has some character to it. Over the past couple of years, the bumps in the track have typically been pretty tricky, but that’s something I like. We have some good notes from what we’ve done there the past few years and I really hope we can build on those.”
This weekend is the first race for new sponsor Quicken Loans. Talk about how hard Stewart-Haas Racing has worked to bring in sponsorship, and also talk about what it means to represent a new sponsor like Quicken Loans.
“It’s an awesome opportunity and responsibility to go out and represent new sponsors who are coming into the sport, especially when it’s a tough economy. Quicken Loans is a really cool sponsor for me, personally. The company’s tagline is: ‘Engineered to Amaze,’ and that’s not just because of the racing program. That’s what the company believes in. So, tying in my engineering degree to what the company believes in and the things that it does is going to be a lot of fun for me. It’s a great company and I hope we can make this program successful.
“One of the really cool things we’re doing starts this weekend at Las Vegas. Quicken Loans has worked really hard to put together a cool sweepstakes where one fan can have the chance to be my boss during a race weekend later this season. That’s what the ‘BeRyansBoss.com’ is on the TV panel of the No. 39 this weekend. I’m sure it would be a pretty cool deal for a race fan to win – come to the race shop, be part of the team, sit on the pit box and even win $10,000. I think what’s really been a lot of fun for us with the sweepstakes is we shot the commercial at the race shop in February. They used me and Stewart and a lot of the No. 39 team guys, so we had a lot of fun goofing off and just joking around while we were shooting the different scenes. I hope that the finished product turned out OK. We haven’t seen it but we hope the fans like it. And we hope a lot of fans go to the Web site and register for a chance to win the sweepstakes.”