Ryan Newman in the No. 12 Alltel Ford was The RaybestosÂ® Rookie Of The Race at Michigan. He finished third, his fifth top-five of the season, and took home highest finishing rookie honors for the first time since Richmond In May. This is the ...
Ryan Newman in the No. 12 Alltel Ford was The Raybestos® Rookie Of The Race at Michigan. He finished third, his fifth top-five of the season, and took home highest finishing rookie honors for the first time since Richmond In May. This is the sixth race where Newman has been top finishing rookie.
"I got a pretty good restart off the line and when I got into turn one I know that I had to scare Jimmie Johnson like you wouldn't believe and I didn't mean to. I got a little loose and shook up and he gave me the room, which is nice of him. The last lap there I got tight off turn two and just couldn't get the run. I tried to get him (Matt Kenseth) going into one. I didn't think that was going to work but I figured I'd try to show my nose and see what he'd do. Overall, a good run for the ALLTEL Ford coming back from some of our engine problems. The horsepower was great today and the reliability was great. We just need to keep it up."
THIS IS THE SECOND TOP-FIVE IN THREE RACES. IS THE TEAM STARTING TO GAIN MOMENTUM?
"We've had momentum all year. Someone just keeps knocking the wind out of our sail. I think when that quits happening we'll be all right. It's good. We're going to a road course so you don't know what to expect next race. Overall, it was a good run all day. I was happy to come home with a top-five; wish it could have been better. It had the potential to be a little bit better but we just didn't get it today."
YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WIN THE RACE.
"We were close, no doubt. We had an opportunity there at the end to hang it all out for three laps and see what happens. I had a run on Matt getting into one and I didn't think it was going to stick but I tried it anyway just for the sake of doing it. It cost myself a little bit coming off two and that's when Dale (Jarrett) got by me going down into three. I really enjoy driving this racetrack. You can race three or four wide and there's a lot of strategy in your mind as far as what to do and how to project the racecar to the racetrack. It's fun to be here."
WHY MAKE A MOVE LIKE THAT AT THE END OF THE RACE?
"It's the end of the race, man. It pays to win and that's what it's all about (laughs). On that last restart, I expected Jimmie to dive low under Kenseth and see if he could do a slide job on him up off turn two and he didn't do it. So I took the initiative and I got down there and my car just got loose next to his. I think I scared him just by correcting it and he was nice enough to give me some room to collect myself and go on."
YOU SEEMED TO GET YOUR CAR BETTER AND BETTER DURING THE RACE.
"We were a lot better on the long runs. We just lost a lot of time in the short runs. When you are going 50 laps like that on a tank of fuel, it's hard to get a balance on something like that."
DURING THE RED FLAG AT THE END OF THE RACE, DID YOU PLAN OUT WHAT YOU WERE GOING TO DO IN THE CLOSING LAPS OF THE RACE?
"You take what comes to you; you go where the other car isn't. I had an opportunity to go low there. I thought Jimmie was going to duck low because he had run low most of the day but he didn't so I went in there and got a little squirrelly on him and that was about the way it ended for us."
WAS THE LATE CAUTION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE?
"We weren't close enough on the green flag deal. Our green flag pit stop wasn't bad but it wasn't great and didn't get us much track position."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET, FINISHED 14TH. JOHNSON RESTARTED SECOND WITH THREE LAPS LEFT N THE RACE BUT FINISHED 14TH. HE UNOFFICIALLY LEADS THE RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE STANDINGS OVER NEWMAN (232-206).
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE RACE?
"Newman bonzied it off in on the bottom and got loose and collected me and shot me up the track and when that happened it broke my momentum. There are so many cars in line and so much momentum carrying everyone that I could never get back in line and get back going. We were really tight and we were trying to hold our own there after we came out of the green flag stop. But when it went back to green like that in traffic and everything that was going on we were just too tight. Once my momentum was broken, I was kind of drifting backwards at that point."
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A CHANCE AT SECOND PLACE OR MAYBE THE WIN WHEN THE RACE RESTARTED?
"When it got restarted I figured we could hold our own. I've got to remember who I'm racing and pay attention to that stuff next time so I don't fall victim to it. I was just disappointed to see the caution come out as late as it did. You work so hard all day long on strategy and all this stuff that happens and then a late race caution jumbles it up. It gives a great race for the fans and I'm sure everyone in the stands enjoyed it."
DID YOU HAVE ENOUGH TO GET AROUND KENSETH AT THE END OF THE RACE?
"No. Once our momentum got broken, we were really tight. I was just hoping we would get strung out and hold our own at that point."
RYAN HAS BEEN AGGRESSIVE THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS.
"He's aggressive. He didn't wreck me. I can't be upset with it. He raced me hard and that's how it is. I've just got to be smarter next time and remember who I'm racing and what reasons why. He didn't do anything wrong. He got a great finish out of it and I'm disappointed that we didn't come home with a better finish."
IF YOU COULD HAVE PLAYED DEFENSE, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?
"I was arching the car to get to the bottom and he drove it off in on the bottom below me and it loosened him up. Once I heard he was in there I gave him the room and stayed in the second groove."