RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed the wreck at Talladega, tire testing at Indy, racing at Richmond and other topics. WHAT DO YOU NEED OUT OF YOUR CAR HERE AT ...
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed the wreck at Talladega, tire testing at Indy, racing at Richmond and other topics.
WHAT DO YOU NEED OUT OF YOUR CAR HERE AT RICHMOND? "The biggest thing at Richmond is it is pretty high braking so you have to keep a brake pedal in the car all night. Track position is typically pretty important. It is hard to make up a lot of ground here. You can go from the back to the front, but it takes a long race to do it. It is also a place where strategy as far as getting off-sequence on tires has potential too like we have seen at some other race tracks. It all depends on how the yellows fly too.
HOW MUCH MORE IMPORTANT IS QUALIFYING HERE? "I'd say this is not the easiest place or it's not the hardest place at the same time as far as passing. It is great side-by-side racing here at Richmond. I enjoy it. I've won here. We did it in '03 staying out on old tires and had a good car to be able to do that."
WHERE IS QUALIFYING MORE IMPORTANT? "Talladega is the least important of all as far as qualifying of all the race tracks we go to. Here, I'd say it is top-10. The road courses are probably more important for sure so that takes two of the eight."
HAVE YOU WATCHED THE REPLAYS OF THE END OF TALLADEGA? "I've seen a couple of replays. I saw it firsthand so, I mean, it was scary enough then. It is part of racing. I was glad that everybody, within reason, was safe afterwards. Carl (Edwards) included, but I was more worried about the fans. Not to say that was a perfect situation. I'd say we escaped what could have been a worse situation."
NASCAR SAID CARL'S CAR WAS ON THE WAY DOWN SO THE FLAPS WERE WORKING AND EVERYTHING LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO: "No. Like I said, we saw two cars that got upside down, all by themselves basically. They got spun around, but they still got airborne by themselves. So, there is work that needs to be done. I'm not satisfied with it coming back down. It should never get air borne in the first place."
SO WHAT DO THINK COULD BE DONE TO PREVENT THAT IN THE FUTURE? "Work, I mean work on it. I was talking to Don Miller, who is still a good friend of mine; they developed the roof flaps in 1992. Its 17 years later and they have not changed much at all. We're dealing with a different race car. We're dealing with a wing versus a spoiler. Just put some work in to it. I am not saying that they're far from being perfect, but, I am also saying that it is something that needs to be looked at. Looking at the big picture, we go faster at other race tracks than we do at Talladega. We just don't sustain it for the entire lap, so there is potential for crashes to be bigger at other race tracks."
DID YOU GO TO THE SHOP AT YOUR CAR TO SEE IF EVERYTHING THERE WORKED THE WAY IT WAS SUPPOSED TO? "I went in Monday morning and looked at it. The windshield bed was folded in about four inches I would say. That means it moved in farther than that and sprung back to where it is. So it was pretty close to the steering wheel, obviously, still a good foot away from my head. But either way, it was a scary situation. I'm glad that Carl was in the position that he was. If I would have took all his car load, it would have came in farther on me.
"Everything on my car did a good job, yes. The biggest thing was if Carl's car wouldn't have gotten airborne, I wouldn't have hit him higher. The situation is, keep the cars on the ground all the time. Keep them tire side to the ground, that is the most important thing."
NASCAR SAID THEY WANT TO POLICE IT MORE TO AVOID THE BUMP DRAFTING AND THE BLOCKING AND ALL, HOW CAN YOU REALLY DO THAT? "The fans like that kind of racing. So, if we just work on the race cars, we will still have good racing from their standpoint. It is not the best racing from our standpoint, but the fans like that. So keep the cars on the ground and let us do that. It is still our responsibility to not crash each other. Granted, Carl admitted he pulled down to try and block Brad (Keselowski) and he spun himself out in doing so. You could do that at any race track, any time, anywhere."
SHOULD THE BLOCKING NOT BE ALLOWED? "Blocking is part of racing as long as there is a second car on the race track. I mean the guy that blocked put himself in position to get turned around. I still stand, in my opinion; Brian Vickers put himself in a position to get turned around by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at Daytona. It is part of that racing. We have seen it two times this year in two restrictor plate races. It is just a part of it."
WHAT ABOUT HOLDING YOUR LINE? "This is racing. We are not here to hold our line. We are here to put on a show for the fans. I blocked on Saturday and was lucky enough to not get turned around. I blocked Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the Nationwide race. I was mirror driving, I drove the entire lap looking in the rear view mirror. Didn't even look out the front. It is just the way you have to do it there. I didn't win, but I came close."
HOW DO YOU POLICE IT? "You don't. You can't police it. Let us race, just fix the cars so they don't become airborne. We're going to have crashes. We have crashes at Martinsville. We have crashes at the road courses; we have crashes at the superspeedways. Just let us race. Let us drive the cars, it is bad enough that we have to have an out-of-bounds line. We don't want that but it is a good thing for this sport, but we don't want that. We don't want more rules that tell us how we have to race the cars."
DO YOU AGREE THAT KYLE BUSCH DRIVES WITH A CHIP ON HIS SHOULDER AND DID THE INCIDENT HERE LAST YEAR WITH JUNIOR HURT HIS IMAGE? "I would say, without a doubt, every driver has sort of chip on their shoulder. I would say Kyle; he has a defined chip on his shoulder. We all have too. I don't think there has ever been a successful race car driver that didn't have some sort of ego that he carried with him. Whatever happened to him here at Richmond (in last year's race), whether it was the first race or second race. Whether he was receiving or giving, it is part of racing. What comes around goes around typically. That is why I said on Saturday, I lost a race by six foot, eventually I will win a race by six foot. It is just a matter of time."
HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN INCIDENT WITH JUNIOR AND EXPERIENCED THE BACKLASH FROM HIS FANS? "No, I have been turned around by him; I have never turned him around. So, I guess he has that coming for him. (Laughs)."
GOODYEAR SAID THEY WERE ABLE TO PUT RUBBER IN THE TRACK AT THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY TIRE TEST, WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT FROM WEDNESDAY'S TEST? "I would say it was a small gain in the Goodyear tire test on Wednesday at Indy. It was a small gain in respect to the number of laps we could run. The tires still are not ideal. I know Goodyear is still working on that. It is just a tough situation, man. We spent the first part of the day cording tires then they last part of the day blistering tires because they weren't wearing. We just have to find the happy medium. It is really tough to do with four cars, but I think it can be done."
DO YOU HAVE CONFIDENCE IT WILL GET DONE? "I have confidence. It is going to be interesting to see what the track is like after May. If the Indy Car tires have a good effect or a bad effect or no effect at all on what we do in June to help the race track out. It is just a matter of finding the right tire and right tire combination to go with that asphalt because that asphalt is so course and ground that it is difficult."
DID THEY BRING SETS OF TIRES OR TWO COMPOUNDS OF TIRES? "There are options that Goodyear and NASCAR I am sure will have to consider. Whether we have extra sets of tires or different compounds of tires. Whatever we need to do. The bottom line is, last year was an embarrassment for the Series and the fans and we need to redeem ourselves. Whatever we have to do to do that should be considered."
WHAT WAS THE MOST LAPS YOU GOT ON THE TIRES? "I think we ended up doing 18, not consecutive, but 18 laps. Last week it was 10 and you were, no matter what. So it was a gain in a number of laps, but the tire life itself is still less than a half of a fuel run."
JEFF GORDON JUST GOT DONE SAYING THAT NASCAR SHOULD CHANGE THE WICKER ON THE CARS BECAUSE THERE IS TOO MUCH AIR COMING DOWN ON THE CARS TO SLOW THE CARS DOWN AT TALLADEGA, DO YOU HAVE A THOUGHT ON THAT? "There is two ways to slow them up. Either way it is horsepower. It is either drag horsepower or engine horsepower. Slowing the cars up I don't think is the ideal way. I mean, we get it to the point we are running rental cars around there, we are running 140 miles-an-hour, it is still four-wide, four-deep. It is all in keeping the race cars on the race track in my opinion and making it safe for the fans and for the drivers. We know that the cars can take a hit at 200 miles-an-hour. It is just finding that ideal package so that the fans enjoy the racing as much as the drivers do."
I KNOW YOU DON'T DRIVE A DODGE ANYMORE, BUT WHAT IS YOUR REACTION YESTERDAY TO THEIR FILING BANKRUPTCY? "I just heard about it. I don't know anything about it other than the fact that they did. I believe there are different forms of filing for bankruptcy. It is a tough situation. You don't want to see anybody go through that especially somebody as influential and has been around as long as Chrysler has.
"We are all doing what we can to help everybody out. From GM standpoint, it is nice to have competition. You don't want to see your competition fail, you just want to beat them."
DID THAT ACCIDENT LAST WEEK SHAKE YOU UP AT ALL? IN THE POST RACE MEDIA CENTER INTERVIEW, YOU SEEMED SHAKEN. "I was just not happy about it. I told you, seeing two cars, being within 30 feet of two cars going upside down, two days in a row and have lived through that before, it's not any fun."
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS WEEKEND? "Oh yea. I really look forward to Richmond. It is a great race track, a lot of great fans here. Try to have fun."
ARE YOU A GOOD QUALIFIER HERE? "Yes, but I don't know what the rain situation is going to be like. We will see what happens."
-credit: gm racing