NASCAR Nextel Cup Wake UpCall Richmond InternationalRaceway Friday, September 9, 2005 RYAN NEWMAN What is your focus this weekend? "Like any other time we are coming in here to race to win. Whether it's Richmond or Bristol we're here to...
NASCAR Nextel Cup Wake UpCall
Friday, September 9, 2005
What is your focus this weekend?
"Like any other time we are coming in here to race to win. Whether it's Richmond or Bristol we're here to win. We definitely have three teams we need to beat to be in the Chase but if we beat every team that answers that questions, so we are just going to go out and pull out all the stops, is what they say and see what happens. If we win the race, everything takes care of itself so we're trying to pull off a Jeremy Mayfield"
What did you learn from the spring race?
"We came back with the same car we raced in the first race where we finished third and had a chance of running second and we made that car faster right off the truck so we feel like we had a good piece that was a top-5 piece and made it better. So that in conjunction with pretty good lap times to go with how the car felt at the test, if we can come back and repeat the feel we had at the test I think we can run in the top 5, which will hopefully get us an win."
How do you feel about the pressure?
"I know what one of the top two was, and it had nothing to do with racing. I don't look at it as pressure. I know there is pressure, but I don't feel pressure. You have to be aware of what's going on, it's no different than any other situation and I'm focused on what I have to do to keep the car up front and win the race. It's definitely a high-pressure situation, but again the pressure has no direct effect on the results."
How big is this event?
"I've been involved in this sport for about six years, but each time we come back here it's the racing and the event and basically the speed week of it is more and more important and has more hype around it, especially with the new points system. I really like the racetrack, I like the event. Definitely night racing is cool and we look forward to it. But it is the same amount of points as any other weekend, weight-wise it's always the same. But hype-wise, it's definitely got a little bit more than some other race tracks we go to."
Are you racing in your head?
"I've already got the numbers in my head: I know what I've got to do. If I win the race, that answers all the questions, so that's our main goal, as it is every week. We're one point out, so if we finish ahead of McMurray by one spot, provided he doesn't lead a lap, we're in. Gordon, I think, its four spots and I think Sadler is 12 spots. I know the math, but you can't help that when you have a loose lug nut or a tire going down or a situation that's outside your control, so you just try to perform as best you can each and every lap."
How do you feel about clean racing?
"You'd like to expect clean racing, but I know last year it wasn't clean racing. There were a couple drivers who intentionally tried to do some things to make their way into the Chase, and you never know what's going to happen. As we said, it's a very high-pressure situation, but you expect people to have a lot of respect and race people like they always did. Whether that happens or not is just a situation of time will tell."
How does it feel to be one point out?
"I would not say there is any psychological advantage, but we approach the whole weekend where if we get the pole, we get a chance to lead a lap, the first lap, and we're already back in 10th at the drop of the green flag. We'll see what happens. You guys know as much as I do. You never know."
Will Kurt be a good teammate?
"I don't think even Kurt knows the situation how it will unfold but yes, potentially, way more than I have right now, for sure."
Has Dale Jarrett talked to you yet?
"We talked in California Friday before practice started in NASCAR hauler to work out differences. I told him like I told everyone on national television I didn't intentionally hit him but it was obvious he intentionally hit me. He voiced his opinion on the situation, not necessarily in that race but in previous races. I told him that was a hard deal for me to take when someone turns right on a left-hand racetrack. But we walked out arguing about who was going to open the door for each other. So I think we should be all right."
Last year's race?
"It was pretty obvious if you watched the race who was doing what and why they were doing what they were doing. That's all I need to say."
Are you worried of another Bristol?
"You're worried all year that something can take you out, just so happens that this is the last race, so you have not shot to redeem yourself afterward. Has potential to be like every other race to this point, didn't know what to happen. At Bristol, expect something like that to happen, didn't expect retaliate. If we go through night without incident and don't make the Chase, we'll go back and look and say Man, what if Bristol didn't happen. That's coulda woulda shoulda. If you get spun or spin somebody."
How has it been with the pressure and numbers?
"It's been all right. I haven't had any migraines. It's been life as usual. I'm a numbers guy but it's all about performance and performance happens, the numbers fall in place the way you want them to."
Naming names, what kind of incidents are over the line?
"There's a guy who intentionally spun at least one, maybe two cars. He was pretty instrumental in Jimmie Johnson's crash."
Was the driver intentionally spinning people the same as Bristol? Or Spencer?
"I don't think it was Spencer. What were we talking about? This lasts 45 minutes? How long's it been?"
"I think they should be (every man for himself). I don't know if they will. It should be every man for himself. You never know. Jeff Gordon upset with Brian Vickers this year, other drivers upset with other drivers. Whether they're on the same team or not. It should be every man for himself, you never know how team situations play out. If five Roush teams are in top 10, they might have an obvious advantage and no longer be a favorite such as Jeff Gordon if he makes it. The way they were swapping the lead at California for bonus points makes you wonder if they have something planned for the last 10 races."
With the championship as important as is, why is it wrong for teammates to swap the lead for points?
"I don't think it's wrong or unfair. I just think that's part of sport and the advantage of having teammates to do that. Would Rusty Wallace pull over and give me the opportunity to have five points, I don't know. I'm not saying that because of my relationship with Rusty. That's way the sport is. Sitting in fifth, watching guys swap the lead, they're giving time and effort to do that, so you're catching those guys because of teamwork. So there are pros and cons."
Do you worry about being taken out?
"I'd say it's a worry, until it happens it's reality. Because of situation and what we do for living, it's high possibility. It all depends on your attitude."