RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 2nd) WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN BILL WON THE POLE? "My dad punched me in the arm and said, 'He got you.' There are such highs of highs and lows of lows doing things like this. You go out there and...
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN BILL WON THE POLE? "My dad punched me in the arm and said, 'He got you.' There are such highs of highs and lows of lows doing things like this. You go out there and you're nervous and you run as hard as you can for one lap and try to get in a second lap. I got a little tight off turn two and you don't know what could have been. Maybe my second lap could have been better and then he goes out and knocks off a great first lap and backs it up pretty good with the second lap. We'll just go on with it. We'll go onto practice and happy hour tomorrow."
WHAT ADJUSTMENTS DID YOUR CREW MAKE CONSIDERING THE CHANGE IN WEATHER? "When we came here and unloaded off the truck we had the same setup and everything as what we had tested. That's the reason you test, but before qualifying we had three different springs in the car and two different shocks that we had not even practiced. We made quite a few changes and did some other things on top of that to qualify, so you do things like that and it's a gamble. Like the first question before that, sometimes you don't know what to expect so you just go out there and run as hard as you can and today we finished second."
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE SPEED YOU GO HERE? "It's kind of a yes and no thing. I mean, yes, you're comfortable when you're out there qualifying but the good thing is that Goodyear brought a tire here that falls off a pretty good amount after the first 10 laps or so. As the car slows down, you've got to use a little bit of brake and let off the throttle, so that eases up the use on the motor and that's a good thing for 500 miles. I guess to more directly answer your question, yes, it's cool to be able to go that fast, but sometimes when you get racing real close with other cars you don't necessarily want to be going that fast. You wish you were doing about 45 so you could just not have any of the aero effects and things like that."
HOW CLOSE TO WIDE OPEN WERE YOU ON THAT LAP? "Not as close as Bill was. You get pretty close. We tried it here in really good ideal conditions in testing and it doesn't pay off. You've got to let the car work through the corners and try to manhandle it and just hope that you can hold it wide open."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO QUALIFY UP FRONT HERE? "It's important for getting a good pit position, but at the same time you get a fast race track like this at the start of the race, you'll see a couple of cars break away. Hopefully, that's me and Bill. But you want to get out front and get in the clean air and go and get some cars a lap down. That's a benefit from us compared to the guys who are starting in the back."
WHAT'S THE KEY TO YOUR QUALIFYING SUCCESS? "It's just a lot of good teamwork, I think. My crew chief Matt Borland does and excellent job understanding what the car needs to qualify and he understands what I want the car to do to qualify and, luckily, those two are pretty close to being on the same page and we can go out and be comfortable everytime we unload off the truck and go to qualify."
YOU'RE SECOND IN POINTS. "Yeah, I'm just honored to be in the position we are. Like I said before we ever started this year -- to be a part of Penske Racing and have a teammate like Rusty Wallace and owners like Don Miller and Rusty Wallace and Roger Penske. These are just the first three races and it's not even 10 percent of the year. We need to focus on the fact that our mentality for the first three races has gotten us to second, but what can we do to make ourselves better to be able to have that mentality to get us to first and stay there throughout the whole year. We can't be too overconfident at this point I guess is what I'm saying."
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM RUSTY? "We tested here and Rusty didn't, so when he unloaded he unloaded from the truck with our setup in the car -- everything identical just because we were fast here in testing and we had a good baseline to start from. Rusty drives a little different than I do, so he's gonna tune the car a little different, but he's confident enough to put my springs, my shocks, swaybars and things like that in the car and go out there and run 195 miles an hour going into a corner. That's a lot of respect and confidence in a teammate, I think."
IS CONTENDING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP A REALISTIC GOAL? "We wouldn't have unloaded off the truck if we didn't think it was. We've got a great start, we just need to keep building on it. We don't want to get too overconfident and too cocky. It's great to be able to qualify second today, but the race is 500 miles on Sunday and that's two days away."