RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) -- pole winner
"It didn't feel like it (perfect lap), but I think when you don't overwork the car here it rewards you. It was a good run for the ALLTEL Dodge. I didn't expect to be that fast. When we tested here we were actually a little quicker, but the track is different today. It's definitely not as quick as it has been.
"It didn't feel as good as it was. I guess if you slow down here a little bit you might go faster. We unloaded good off the truck. That made a big difference. Hopefully race trim will be as good as qualifying trim. It's good for our pole awards. It's a good starting spot and a good pit selection for tomorrow night's race. It (team attitude) is pretty good right now. Attitude can help you win races and help you lose races. If we just stay focused on what we have to do, we should be OK.
"It is any other race. In the grand scheme of things it has more weight on it, but it is just another race. I'm going to need a pace maker before Loudon (said in jest). It's definitely got some load on it. Like anything else, if you can stay focused and maintain your own mentality, if it's a good mentality, you'll be just fine. We just try to do the best job we possibly can. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
"Actually I've slept a lot this week, more than I should. I've been sick, and I'm still kinda sick. I'm still trying to get over it. I'm not 100 percent yet. I would have said I was 100 percent Wednesday, but I actually feel a little worse today.
"All we can do is our best and focus on what we can do to make ourselves better. We can't affect every other team out there. We've just got to focus on what we've got to do and go from there.
"Overall it's been a good day for us so far here today at Richmond. We ran pretty good off the truck. We were waiting for the racetrack to pick up some speed, and we did with it. Matt and the guys back at the shop have done a good job preparing the racecar. It's up to me to keep the fenders on it in Happy Hour and hopefully have a good race tomorrow night.
"None. I didn't even know that was a fact (Dodge not having a car in top 10). I was just focusing on what I had to do. Dodge isn't calling me up saying 'hey, what are you doing? Why are you slacking?' That's not the case. We're trying our best. If we're the only one or there is no Dodge, it doesn't matter. We'll focus and do what we have to do with the 12 car the best we can.
"If this was Rockingham and we were talking about this I would be pretty confident, but we've had our struggle points this season. We've got hit in the left rear quarterpanel a few times and had a DNF as a result. I think a lot of other people can use that as an excuse, too. The last two races we've stepped up the program. That's mostly from teamwork. We've got the same racecars and same Goodyear tires and same engines. It's just a matter of capitalizing on what we have capability wise.
"Nobody from NASCAR has contacted me or said anything about it (Newman's criticism of new points system). I always figured freedom of speech you can say what you want. It probably wouldn't be their place to slap my hand seeing as how that is one of the constitutional rights. Bottom line is, I say what I believe and everybody knows that. We can leave it at that. You can say the word stinks, but I've always said I don't think it's fair for everybody and the points system should be fair for everybody. We'll leave it at that.
"Not knowing how the race is going to start tomorrow night it could be the most pivotal pole we've had if there is a big crash in the middle of the field on the first lap or something crazy like that. To me, it's another day at the office. So far it's been good.
"For us, it (strategy) really hasn't changed much at all, but I think the bottom line is we taught a lot of other teams what to do and what not to do last year in our experiences and some of the strategies we used to win. Whether it's strategy that wins a race or an extra pound in the right front, you still get to victory lane before everybody else.
"I can speak basically off our statistics here as well as our test here a few weeks ago. I thought we had and still have a great potential and chance to win. I can say that over different racetracks. I guess that's a good thing, but it doesn't boost my confidence and make me a tenth of a second faster each lap. It's just a matter of history, and history is constantly changing.
"I think there's plenty of potential for that (desperate moves on the track). I think this will be the race of all races this year that that would most likely happen, but obviously it's just pure speculation. Just speaking off Bristol, everybody thought Bristol was going to be a beat 'em up, bang 'em up race, and it was probably one of the cleanest races we've had all year, especially at a short track. We'll never know until it's over."