RYAN NEWMAN IN THE ...
RYAN NEWMAN IN THE #12 ALLTEL FORD WAS THE RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE OF THE RACE AT ATLANTA. Newman finished 10TH, his 21ST top-10 finish of the season. With his finish at Atlanta, He ties Tony Stewart (1999) for most top-10 finishes in a single season by a Raybestos® Rookie. Newman has now been the top finishing rookie in 17 races this season. Newman holds a 20 point lead in the Raybestos® Rookie Standings (338-318) over Jimmie Johnson.
"We had a good racecar, no doubt in the Alltel Ford. We struggled on the short run and we were flat awesome on the long run. We couldn't find the happy medium to be good all the way through but overall it was a good day. Jimmie (Johnson) struggle d and we didn't want to see that but it looks good for the points. It's coming down toward the end of the season and wrapping things up and we seem to be holding our own and that's important to me as a Raybestos® Rookie."
WAS THERE ANY REASON WHY THE CAR WOULDN'T GO ON A SHORT RUN?
"It was good on the long runs; it just wouldn't go on the short runs. We were too loose. It was just one of those things we learn as a rookie coming to a racetrack in the rain here. You keep learning each time. It's one for the record book."
DID THE TRACK CHANGE A LOT DURING THE RACE?
"It didn't change a bunch but we were counting on it changing, that was the bottom line, and it didn't. It just never really came to us like we thought it was going to but at the same time we were still able to finish in the top-10."
RAIN WAS A FACTOR ALL DAY TODAY. DID YOU AND CREW CHIEF MATT BORLAND HAVE ANY SPECIAL STRATEGY WORKED OUT BEFORE THE RACE?
"The strategy was that we didn't know; nobody knew. You've got to be in position at the end, or when the end is coming and that means staying up front the whole race and that's what we always try to do. There was not a whole lot of strategy in that."
HOW TRICKY WAS IT PITTING WITH THE DAMP PIT ROAD?
We had a problem with the 6 car (Mark Martin) there a little bit. He wasn't quite as nice as he could have been but I guess that comes with the territory."
JIMMIE JOHNSON IN THE #48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET WAS INVOLVED IN TWO SPINS DURING THE NAPA 500. JOHNSON FINISHED 22ND AND FALLS TO THIRD IN WINSTON CUP POINTS. HE IS 150 BEHIND LEADER TONY STEWART.
"Before we had a shot at controlling our own destiny and now that opportunity is flying out the window. But hey, we're rookies and we're not supposed to be here. We'd love to win this thing (Winston Cup title) but we're going to go to Rockingham and do what we can. When we spun out the tire got in the canister and did a little damage to the shock. On that second spin it caused us little problems getting back going but luckily the rains came so we didn't have to fight it any longer."
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU SPUN OUT?
"It was real loose, real loose all day and I lost it twice by myself. The car was real loose. We made huge adjustments but it wouldn't fix it over the long run and I lost it both times."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE POINTS RACE?
"We'll go to Rockingham and try to get some back."
SELECTED NEWMAN PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
"We were fast in the long run which we didn't really anticipate. That's been one of our struggle points this year. We struggled with the racetrack at the start of the run. It was kind of an up-in-the-air deal with the whole situation with the rain and everything with the racetrack not changing as much as it typically does, at least for us in the spring race. That's all we had to really gauge off of. It was kind of hard to figure out what exactly to do. We struggle with just getting the car tightened up a little bit at the start of the run. My crew chief said that we were a half-second off of it the first 30 laps and a half second better, average wise, on the second 30 laps of a run. That's tough to do here, really. We were actually speeding up as the run went on. But overall it was a good run for the Alltel Ford. We lost a little bit in some of the points race but we gained a little bit in some other parts."
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, #48 LOWE"S CHEVROLET:
"We were of today. We've been on quite a bit this year, probably more times than what a rookie team should. We'll take a bad day, shrug it off and move on."
ARE YOU GOING TO TALK TO JIMMIE AND SAY THAT THESE DAYS JUST KIND OF HAPPEN?
"He may get down a little bit but that's understandable. He's got a lot of pressure on him right now. The media is all over him, asking him if he can win the championship and all that kind of stuff. We know we can and we know that we are capable of it. We've got to refocus, go to Rockingham and go for it."
WILL THIS BE ONE OF THOSE DAYS THAT WILL HELP YOU IN THE LONG RUN AS YOUR RACE TEAM MATURES?
"It's not the bad days that teach a team how to respond or how to react, it's the good days. If a team is out there running well every week, it's all in how they handle the good times, I feel. The bad times we can all react to that. We can all make the bad times and go through them and make the cars better and work on them after they've been crashed and do all that stuff. That's what we do. We know how to do that. It's when you go out there and you win a lot and you run up front a lot and people are focused on you. That's when it's the hardest."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU COULD HAVE DONE TO MAKE THE CAR BETTER?
"There's a heck of a lot but unfortunately once the race starts you can't really undo a lot of those things."
CARL LONG, #59 CHECK INTO CASH DODGE, FINISHED 39TH.
"We started off some kind of loose. I couldn't get into the corners and couldn't get off the corners. We tried to get a spring rubber in the right front. We had difficulty doing that. I came in on my green flag stop and I slid through the pits. Another time somebody (crew member) jumped the wall too early and I got penalized for that. We learning about the penalties this weekend but there toward the end I got the car driving a lot better, a lot more competitive. I'm disappointed overall because I didn't run as competitive as I knew I can. There at the end we were getting closer, but we're working on it."
DID YOU SEE IMPROVEMENT DURING THE RACE?
"I saw a great amount of improvement. We changed air pressures. You name it and we cranked on it. Every time there was a caution I wanted to come in and change something else and everything went in the right direction. We probably needed a good of testing down here and we would have got a whole lot better."