Charlotte II: John Fernandez interview

JOHN FERNANDEZ (Director, Dodge Motorsports Operations) COMMENT ON RYAN NEWMAN'S RECENT SUCCESS "If you look at the beginning of the year, he had all sorts of bad luck. I'm a firm believer that in terms of luck everything evens out for...

JOHN FERNANDEZ (Director, Dodge Motorsports Operations)

COMMENT ON RYAN NEWMAN'S RECENT SUCCESS

"If you look at the beginning of the year, he had all sorts of bad luck. I'm a firm believer that in terms of luck everything evens out for you. He's had some fortunate incidences the last few weeks, but is it luck that's the prime candidate here for why he's doing as well as he is? Absolutely not. I'd say we've got one hell of a driver in Ryan Newman, and he's driving the car the way Ryan Newman can drive the car. What he's had is an absence of bad luck.

"I think everybody has benefited from the Lucky Dog rule. I kinda like that rule. Some people don't, but I do."

IS IT RIDICULOUS NEWMAN AND HIS TEAM ARE BEING ACCUSED OF CHEATING?

"It's absolutely ridiculous. Any time anybody does really well and wins a lot of races they think they're cheating. That's just part of motorsports."

COMMENT ON OVERALL DODGE PROGRAM

"I think the whole program has picked up toward the end of the year. At Kansas City last week, we had four cars that could have won the race. The 9 car was obviously the dominant car out there and was capable of winning the race. The 19 car led the race. Ryan won and the 42 car was really strong. The 43 car did a hell of a job. Jeff Green in the 43 car ran in the top five all day. I don't know if he had a winning car, but he certainly had a top 10 car. We're starting to pick up. Rusty has been running consistently in the top 10. I don't think he quite had the car at Kansas City to challenge, but he did lead. He's right up there in the top five. If you looked at Kansas City, you had a Dodge in the top five with a different number on it. One time five of the top six were Dodges. That's kind of scary because I think Mike Helton is going to grab me and throw a hundred pounds in the trunk or something."

DOES THE COMBINATION OF FUEL MILEAGE AND POWER THE 12 CAR HAS DISPLAYED SURPRISE YOU?

"No, not necessarily. I think everybody that knows what they're doing and has a good engine program is getting good fuel economy. Then there's a selection. Do you want to go fast or do you want to look at your fuel economy strategy. Jeremy Mayfield went just as far as Ryan Newman at Kansas. It's not just one car that's doing that. I think a number of people are capable of that kind of strategy. Some cars might have run out of fuel. Maybe their strategy was a little different with their gearing that caused that, but I think there's a number of cars that can go as many laps as Ryan can. Obviously the 19 did. Matt Borland says there are rolling the dice a little bit, but Matt is an engineer. Matt's a very calculating engineer. When he says he's rolling the dice, it's probably a little less than a pure gamble. I think we've come a long way since the beginning of the season. We've figured out the aero balance. Our engine program has gotten a lot better. Our simulation programs are helping our chassis. The one area I think we (Dodge) have got a little work to do is our plate motor program. I still believe DEI has got the best plate motor program. We've got to keep working on that."

HOW'S IT LOOK FOR DODGE TOMORROW NIGHT?

"I'm looking for the first time all season that we win two in a row. I think we've got three strong cars that I could see in practice earlier yesterday. The 19 has got a real strong car. I know he didn't qualify very well, but he looked real good in practice. The 9 car is very good, and obviously the 12 car is going to be good. Also, look for Rusty to be there again. I'm sure they'll get it sorted out."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeremy Mayfield , Jeff Green , Ryan Newman , John Fernandez , Mike Helton