RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) NOTE: Newman's lap of 194.295 mph was the fastest qualifying lap of the season. "I figured the track was going to be faster than it was in the day, which...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
NOTE: Newman's lap of 194.295 mph was the fastest qualifying lap of the season.
"I figured the track was going to be faster than it was in the day, which is typically true. It didn't turn out to be as fast as a typical Charlotte day to night qualifying run, but it definitely was faster. Our car unloaded good right off the truck as far as speed wise. It felt good, it drove good. It's the same car we had in Charlotte and the same car we had three years ago in the ARCA Series. It was the car we had for my first Winston Cup pole at Charlotte in the spring of 2001. Overall, it's been a good car.
"I don't think pressure is maybe the right word. I try to put myself in position to have a shot for the pole as far as how hard I work in making an effort to do well. Matt and the team does the exact same thing. It's a team sport, and I go out there and drive the car for what it's worth. When we get the pole, it feels good.
"The momentum was built throughout the season to be able to unload that fast and for me to have the confidence in the car as well as the nuts and bolts and everything else the guys put on it to know that it holds together tight and holds together right. That confidence has been continuously building the last three years. To be able to unload that fast, obviously you've got to have your stuff together. Matt and the guys do an awesome job with that. I'm the nut behind the wheel that gets an opportunity to do that.
"I'd do that (look back at the beginning of the season), but my time machine is broke, so it doesn't make any difference. It would be nice to be able to say that, but you're really just wasting time spinning your wheels when you try to think back to what might have been. You can think back and learn from the past and apply it to the future, but what might have been doesn't make us any faster right now.
"The only reason I hesitate to say yeah is because to me it doesn't matter (if I think we have the best team in racing).We just go out and do the best job we can. I think we've got a great team. To say it's the best team, I don't know how you'd say that, but I'm comfortable. I think the guys do an awesome job. We all make mistakes now and again, and it's how you overcome those mistakes that make the best team.
"I don't really sit and think about it. Before we go out to qualify, it's not like my goal today is to go out and beat Geoff Bodine's qualifying record whatever year it was when he ran 197 I don't think about those things when I'm here. I just focus on what I need to focus on from a team standpoint and my job standpoint. There are times I think about it, whether I'm fishing or working on an old car. It's like I can't believe so and so. I can't believe this or that or whatever. It's a great feeling, but I kind of live it more with my dad and family. They're more mature in that respect. They've seen me be here and looking for a ride and they've seen me be here in this position on the pole. I see more through their reactions and actions than my own."
"Some people clean their house and some people don't. It's how you want to be and how you want to live. To me, everything that we're capable of winning is what we go after as a team. Everybody is different. Everybody has got different attitudes. Ours is to go after everything.
"I knew the potential was definitely there (for someone to go faster). I said in my post-qualifying interview I felt the car balance was just a bit off and we could have a tick more speed. I thought it was a good lap. I knew Vickers had a good car and was running good. You never count out Bobby Labonte or Bill Elliott at this racetrack. It was just a ticking timebomb to see if it went off.
"Nobody knows when Ricky (Rudd) started in '77. I was born in '77. That's 25 or 26 years he's been driving in Winston Cup. I don't see myself driving that long. Nobody knows what it's going to be like 20 years from now, world wise, race wise or anything else. There's a lot of things that's changed from the time he was a rookie to where he is now. There's going to be a lot of things than change from when I was a rookie until then. It all depends on how things go. I don't really know. I don't think I would race quite that long.
"I ran my lap and came in, got out of the car, did a couple of interviews. Brian Vickers was still in the car. I walked over to him and stuck my hand out and he thought I wanted to shake his hand. I said, 'no put your hand out. I want to see if it's still shaking.' He either had less time to think about shaking or he wasn't shaking as bad as I was. It definitely gets to your nerves, just trying to hit your marks and do your job. If you're concentrated and focused you'll put that pressure on yourself and do those things.
"It's only scary when you lose that bit of control. You can be off a foot in entry and you can be off three feet in the exit. That can make the difference in hitting the wall and not hitting the wall. That's the scary part, you have to know in three and four if you're going to be close to the wall coming off four. You've got a second and half to figure that out, and that happens quick when you're running 195 mph. That's the scary part being able to predict the path your car is going to take if you're a little bit loose or a little bit tight."