Ryan Newman: "I think we could have much better qualifying and give the fans more laps to see and a little bit more drama if they give us the units to actually cool the cars down."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed the new qualifying procedure, his expectations at Las Vegas, how it’s going at RCR so far, and more. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
LAST WEEK AT PHOENIX WE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT WITH QUALIFYING AND NOW YOU WILL DO IT AGAIN. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM LAST WEEK? DO YOU LIKE THE FORMAT? “It was really close last week. I think we were 15th and six thousands out of 11th at that point. And I expect it to be pretty close again; well, pretty much everywhere all season. You really have to dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s just because of the situation of cars pulling out in front of you. I’m not a big fan of not being able to cool the cars down.
I think we could have much better qualifying and give the fans more laps to see and a little bit more drama if they give us the units to actually cool the cars down. That, I think is something we need to look into. But in the end you’re still going to have a pole winner. You get to certain race tracks like California, it’s going to be crazy that the pole winner is a second and a half off of what the track record might have been set for the first session. So, a difference set or sense of drama, I guess you could say, in qualifying than we’ve ever seen.”
AT PHOENIX, A LOT OF THE DRIVERS SAID THEY LIKE NOT HAVING TO SIT AROUND AND WAIT. DO YOU LIKE THAT IT’S QUICKER THAN IT HAS BEEN? “My answer to all of it is we need to put it into an hour window or we need to put it into a 45 minute window. Put two, three, four cars and you rifle those cars through and you get one shot at it. To me, that’s the best way to do it. It would be a similar scenario as to what we do at the road courses.
But instead of turning five cars loose for five minutes, you turn a car loose and there’s no cooling down; the race track is meant to be raced on, not to go out and cool your race car off and get in somebody else’s way. To me that’s not cool. But I know there’s a sense of drama and there’s a good part of it that surrounds cars getting beat out and things like that, but you’re going to have that regardless. Do it once and be done with it.”
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR NEW SITUATION? ARE YOU SETTLING IN? “We had a good run at Phoenix with the RCR Chevrolet and everybody is doing a good job. Quicken Loans and Caterpillar and we’re having some fun getting going. I was really disappointed in Daytona in not being able to show our stuff and getting crashed out when we did, because we really did have a fast race car. So, I guess I, in a roundabout way, feel bad about that for two different reasons.
I didn’t show my stuff early so you could tell, and than at the end I never could show my stuff because we got crashed. But in the end, it was relieving to know we had a fast car. And then we went into Phoenix and made improvements all week long to qualify 15th and race up. We probably could have been fifth if everything had worked out right, but finishing seventh was a good day for us.”
GUYS SEEM TO BE REALLY AGGRESSIVE IN THE FIRST TWO RACES AND TAKING A LOT OF CHANCES. IS THAT A RESULT OF THE NEW SYSTEM? “No, if you go back probably three years ago at Phoenix, we had like crash after crash after crash and three and four-wide on restarts. To me it’s less crazy now than it was three or four years ago. I think it’s actually just the way it is. There’s a balance in there and to me, it’s no crazier than it’s ever been.“