RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) 2003 Worksheet * Circuit-leading eight victories and eight poles * Circuit-leading 13 top-five finishes * Ranked fourth in points * Ranked first in nicknames - "Flyin' Ryan"...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
* Circuit-leading eight victories and eight poles
* Circuit-leading 13 top-five finishes
* Ranked fourth in points
* Ranked first in nicknames - "Flyin' Ryan" "Lyin' Ryan" "Rocket Man" "Mr. Friday" "Ramblin' Ryan" "Ham on Ryan" "Smilin' Ryan", "Rainman Ryan" "Racin' Ryan" etc., etc.
WHICH NICKNAME DO YOU LIKE BEST?
"I don't like any of them. I am who I am. I don't need a nickname."
HOW DO YOU REACT TO ALL THE COMMENTS ABOUT CHEATING?
"It's funny for sure that people are saying we're cheating. We're doing what we need to do, and we're doing it the best we can do it. We're within the rules. We do not cheat. We have not cheated and we will not cheat. It's funny to hear all this whinin'. It goes in one ear and out the other. We're focused on what we need to do. We'd like to go out and lap the field, but that's hard to do the way the rules are. We're playing with the rules NASCAR puts out there, whatever week it is."
IT SEEMS LIKE WHEN DRIVERS ARE WINNING EVERY WEEK PEOPLE ALWAYS ACCUSE THEM OF CHEATING. IS THAT JUST PART OF SUCCESS?
"I look at it this way. The people that accuse you of cheating have cheated at some point and still couldn't win, so they're accusing you of cheating because you're beating them. Like I said, we don't cheat. We're just doing the best job we know how. We've been inspected more than anybody else with our qualifying runs and our top fives. We've been in the inspection line more than anybody this year. NASCAR is there and other teams are there. We haven't had any situations where we've done anything wrong. It's all been good. The engine company has done an awesome job. It's hard to get fuel mileage and horsepower at the same time. They've done a great job at achieving both. We'll work with what they have to work with, and so far it's been working. We're doing good in that respect, but it takes a total team effort. Mike Nelson works the fuel and the fuel man gets the tank full and the carburetor man tunes the engine right. It's a total team effort."
ARE YOU SURPRISED AT SOME PEOPLE WHO'VE COME TO YOUR DEFENSE?
"I realize some people have, and I understand who the people are that are making the accusations, but it doesn't matter to me. I focus just like if we hadn't won any races. I think it could be compared to football. If you had a good offense, you don't have to rely on just your quarterback or running back. You could rely on the entire team. To me that's what it's all about."
CAN YOU CATCH MATT KENSETH WITH SIX RACES TO GO?
"It would be great if we could. We didn't focus on points at Daytona, Dover or any other racetrack. We just go out and do the best job we can and take the points we earn. We just try to get all the points we can every week. We've worked hard to get what we've got. I feel it. When I wake up every morning, I'm not exactly well slept. I'm kinda tired, but that's part of a tough racing series. Effort equals results. Roger Penske has always said that. I think I'm putting 100 percent into it every week. It doesn't matter to me what everybody else does."
MATT BORLAND (Crew chief No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
"It doesn't bother me or that team. If anything, all the talk is kind of funny. We get a kick out of it. You know you're doing good when you get booed or people call you a cheater. It's nice. If you get a rule written against you, that means you're doing something right. You always get better at fuel mileage, but the engine shop has done a good job finding more horsepower. When you find more horsepower, you're going to burn more fuel. They've gone the extra effort and learned how to save more fuel at the same time. It's a big challenge, and they've done a great job for us."
ARE YOU A POKER PLAYER?
"Sometimes. In most cases, when TV asks if we're short on fuel, we are at that time. Then we get more cautions and that makes us good. You can't count on those cautions, but Mike goes back and gets the history of the races from the past several years, and we look at that. You see what the trend is and you try to figure out if you're going to get those cautions or not. Sometimes you get burned. Sometimes you win. We had to give up the lead at Loudon. We had a three and a half second lead. We had to give up track position and finishing position just to finish the race. We had to play that strategy because we didn't have the car that day. We got the track position, and if we'd gotten a few more yellows it would have played out. As it turned out, we finished fourth. We ran out of fuel
MATT BORLAND (Crew chief No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
At Indy? Nobody talks about that. We probably had the best car at Indy, and ended up finishing 11th. They weren't calling us cheaters at that point. We just ran out of gas."
DID YOUR POINTS POSITION PLAY A ROLE IN THE GAMBLES YOU'VE MADE THIS SEASON?
"I think we've had better cars this year and a better team with better pit stops and better preparation. I think Ryan just keeps getting better and better. I think you can play the track position game. Last year we might have given that up because of a bad pit stop and this year we don't have those situations. We get Ryan out front and no one can touch him. Ryan can save a little bit, but I think most of it is done back at the engine shop with what those guys are doing. They give us the horsepower with the fuel mileage, and that's the combination that helps you win the race. Ryan saves a little bit of fuel, but you've got to have that extra work being done back at the engine shop."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO OUT AND LAP THE FIELD?
"Yeah, that would be nice, but you take wins any way you can get 'em. If you have the best car, you go out and win the race. If you don't, you get the best finish you can with it."
IS THE CHAMPIONSHIP STILL WITHIN YOUR REACH THIS SEASON?
"We definitely think about it. I think every team thinks about winning it. It's realistic for us. As long as there is a mathematical chance, you give it everything you've got. If it were to become not mathematically possible, you'd still go out and try to win every race. It's still something we keep in the back of our minds."
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS?
"The press is going to write what they want, and there's no use getting worked up about it. We've got a good group of guys. We stay to ourselves and have fun together. Whatever is said on the outside, we can't do anything about it."
ARE OTHER DODGES CATCHING UP?
"Definitely. I think we had five Dodges in the top 10 last week. Dodge has stepped up the program, and it's a good thing to see. Going into next year, it's going to be the best car out there if it's not already this year. It's just a matter of getting the best out of the equipment you've got."