RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) NOTE: Newman won the pole for Sunday's race with a lap of 191.417 mph. It was his eighth career pole in 48 attempts and his fourth pole in the past nine races. "I finally paid him (Bill Elliott) off.
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
NOTE: Newman won the pole for Sunday's race with a lap of 191.417 mph. It was his eighth career pole in 48 attempts and his fourth pole in the past nine races.
"I finally paid him (Bill Elliott) off. I've been working on him about a year now. He let me win this one. The bottom line is we had a real good race car today. The ALLTEL Dodge was running really good. I think that was just a tribute to the fact we came here and tested. I've got a real good feel for the race car and the race track, the new bodies, the new body location as well as the switch from Ford to Dodge.
"It's kind of cool because it's a flip from last year. Bill was first and I was second. I'm proud of the ALLTEL guys and Dodge having the front row. It was great teamwork. We worked on it and worked on it and worked on it. We were fast off the truck, but it was pretty neat to be fast on the track. We went out there and did the best we could, and it was good enough today.
"There's always satisfaction when you're on the pole. It doesn't matter who you beat as long as you beat everybody in my mind. It was one of those things where I'm just happy to be on top.
"It's always important to be up front, no matter where you are. You're one step ahead. You don't have to worry about getting to the front because you're already there."
"Personally I wish I could have had a chance to run here with the old configuration after watching on TV so many times. It looked like it was always a great race. I'm not saying it's not a great race now, but the opportunity calls for the change was just the speed itself. It is fast. It can be a little bit twitchy, but once we get back in race trim and the cars slow down and the tires fall off, it's good racing. It's fast racing, but it's good racing.
"If you're going to put a lap down, you've got to be on edge, and that's the bottom line. Wherever you go you've got to be on edge of being tight and being loose. I guess that's part of it. If you have a race track where you run that much faster, you've got to be that much more on edge. It's probably the fastest race track, here and Michigan are pretty similar. In fact, the speeds are so high and the tires fall off. It's good wide open racing, and wide open meaning two or three grooves, not wide open all the way around the race track. Texas is the fastest race track now at 194 mph in qualifying. It is what it is. This is a better race track than Texas in my mind until Texas actually starts to age a little bit.
"I didn't hold it wide open. The last I heard of anybody holding it wide open was when they had the old Busch rules here. Nobody in Cup now does or in Busch does unless they're off the pace. If you're a fast race car down the straightaways you have to let off in the corners. In the race on Sunday, it'll probably be more down force than it is engine, but a good hunk of both. I'm talking 55 percent down force and 45 percent engine. You have to go down the straightaways and you have to have the speed to pull the drag for the down force. I think the reliability of the engines have been pretty good and the performance of the cars have been good. I was worried the first 100 laps at Vegas about that, but after we turned it around and got the car handling pretty good I was pretty satisfied with the package we have and are working with right now."