Charlotte: Newman, Cherry - Dodge Saturday interview

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 alltel Dodge Charger) -- Pole sitter scheduled to make 200th career start on Sunday "I've always said it's neat when we do the all-star qualifying and the team gets to be involved in the pit stop. I think that's important ...

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 alltel Dodge Charger) -- Pole sitter scheduled to make 200th career start on Sunday

"I've always said it's neat when we do the all-star qualifying and the team gets to be involved in the pit stop. I think that's important that we continue that. They're an integral part, just as every piece of the racecar is, just as everyone at the office is of what happens of what make the racecar go fast. It's a team sport without a doubt. It's just like Trent said, it's about not making mistakes. You can be the fastest team out there speed wise and if you make a mistake out there it can cost you the whole day. It's almost better to be average and not make any mistakes than to be fast and having a couple of mistakes. I know it was an honor for them. Trent is one of the few guys left on the team since I started with the team back in 2000, so it's neat to see him mature somewhat as a person and as a professional and to see him do what he does. He does good with the guys during pit practice and assessing the guys after the pit stops. He basically decides who gets the money and who doesn't after the race. To answer your question, it's a cool deal for them. It's an honor to have that as a team under your belt for the whole year.

"The importance of winning is at an all-time high just because it's been so long since we have won. One of the main focuses now is to get the points and maintain our finishes of the past four weeks of top 10 finishes and allow that to snowball into top fives and victories. If the win comes tomorrow night that's great. We have to stay focused as a team and do our best and if that gives us a third-place car at the end of the day at this point in the season that's not a terrible finish.

"I actually wasn't feeling well (during last Wednesday night's pit crew competition). I wasn't there. I had to use my hall pass. Physically I could have been there, but I was doing my best trying to get healthier. I knew what was going on. We had text messages back and forth. I think they feel like even though I wasn't there I was there in spirit.

"Going back to Darlington I thought six cars had a good chance to win the race. We finished fourth among those six. I think we have a winning car and a winning combination. We need to make it better no doubt. I remember the days we were two tenths faster than anybody whether it was in qualifying or in the race. I feel we're closer than we were at this point last year. Michael Nelson and the guys on the team are doing a great job making decisions and making the cars better. We've done a ton of testing. I think I've done as much testing this year as I have racing. That's not a bad thing. It's just a lot of work. Roger always says effort equals results. We're just trying to put the effort in."

"I haven't seen (Cherry's blog) in the last four or five months. Last year there was a time he was very functional in his points. It's pretty funny. He's a lot like me with his wit and sarcasm at the same time. We get along pretty good for that same reason.

"A lot of names are in the hat right now. I guess it's a good thing being in the hat, being considered. At least someone thinks you have talent, but I'm happy where I'm at and I'm happy doing what I'm doing. We'll just play it like that. It doesn't distract me. I don't think it distracts the team. It's all about confidence whether it's confidence qualifying the race car and putting it on the edge or having confidence in me. That doesn't change."


TRENT CHERRY (Pit Crew Coach No. 12 alltel Dodge Charger)

"These things (pit crew competitions) are hard to win and the pit crews are so competitive on pit road. Just to make it to the Final Four was a big deal. Once we got there all the guys wanted to make sure we didn't make any mistakes. Most of the time it's not won by the fastest crew but by the most consistent, the one that doesn't make many mistakes. We just tried to eliminate mistakes and practice consistency and it worked out.

"We practiced two weeks before it. We just practiced regular pit stops, pushing the car, making sure everybody knew where they were. For two years we actually haven't been beat. We've just had penalties, so it was pretty cool to see where we were just by our talent. It was a pretty cool deal. I guess the whole pit stop deal is pretty much the same as far as jacking the car, getting nuts, hanging tires. Sundays are a little different when you come in first and go out sixth. You hear it. If you come in fifth and go out second you here it. It's a little bit different the pressure that's on you on Sundays and on Wednesday night.

"We pride ourselves on making our first stop the same as our last stop and our last stop the same as our first. If we do 12 stops during a race and the first six are 12s and 13s but the last one is 16 then we didn't do our job. We practice a lot on consistency. If we can be a top five team every stop, that's what we'll go for. We'll let Ryan do the rest on the track. That's what he gets paid all the money for. If you come in first and go out fifth you're in trouble, but if you come in fifth and go out first you've done your job. Our job is not to win the race. It's just not to lose it for him."

"Some places we go we have four or five stops. Our team likes more stops. I think that's when we have the advantage over the other teams. We try pretty hard as far as conditioning and stuff. If we can have our 13th stop the same as our first stop then I think we'll have the advantage over some of the other guys. It's nothing like the drivers have. We actually get to come back and lay down for about 20 minutes between stops. Drivers can't do that. None of our guys are sitting on the box with towels around them like they're about to pass out. You look down pit road at some of the teams and this race kills them. Hopefully we can get an advantage if we're in shape enough to do it.

"I'd love to answer that a different way, but the thing about Ryan, the first two years when we really stunk it up we really heard it. We deserved it. We get paid to do a job and we're not doing it and we should hear about it. I've scanned a couple of the other drivers and from what I've heard, Ryan is probably.... We don't get a lot of compliments. He won't say we're the best, but we don't get a lot of negative, either. He never comes over the radio and says 'get rid of these guys. Next week I want a new team.' I've heard a lot of drivers say that. On the other hand he's not going to say, 'you're the greatest on pit road.' If we lose three spots you never hear it. If we gain three spots you never hear it. I think our team does pretty well with that. He's pretty good about it. He doesn't tell us we're great, but at the same time he doesn't criticize. I've heard a lot of drivers do that. I know a lot of crew guys on a lot of different teams, and that's a big deal. We've got a lot of buddies and they know if they do a bad stop the driver will be all over them. Newman is never like that, so it's nice to know if we do a bad stop we can come back the next time and do a good stop and everything will be fine."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup