Charlotte: Newman - polesitter's press conference

Ryan Newman's Dodge wins pole for Coca-Cola 600 RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) - Pole Winner's Interview "Buddy Baker taught me. He was the first guy to ever take me around this race track. I looked at him after two laps and told...

Ryan Newman's Dodge wins pole for Coca-Cola 600

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) - Pole Winner's Interview

"Buddy Baker taught me. He was the first guy to ever take me around this race track. I looked at him after two laps and told him I was going to like it. I have ever since. Obviously it takes a great team and great engines and everything else to go with it, but obviously I enjoy this race track. I enjoy qualifying. Today was our day to be on top I guess.

"I was real happy with our first run and second run, but our third run on new tires today wasn't what I thought it was going to be. That threw me off a little bit. I didn't know what to expect in qualifying after running a .66 and 29.50 in practice on new tires after (Jimmie) Johnson ran his .08. I'm like, 'man, we're four tenths off.' That on top of the fact that Busch practice had the wreck and a bunch of oil off turn four. It was like we weren't real confident after practice, plus we had a bunch of oil on the race track. We unloaded fast and we put the car back to where we unloaded before qualifying and that was what we needed."

COMMENT ON PENSKE STARTING ON POLE AT INDY AND CHARLOTTE

"It's our goal, and I think it's cool. When you said that, that's the first time I thought about it. Their deal started three weeks ago, but it's definitely cool. We look forward to both having great runs. Not just me and Helio, but Rusty and Gil. Sunday is a big day for Penske Racing. We'll race as hard as we can, whether it's for Roger Penske or Don Miller or ever who we've got on the race team."

DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT MINDSET FOR A 600-MILER?

"I've got to talk to Buddy about that. We haven't made 600 miles yet. The first race here two years ago I tried too hard and spun out by myself. Last year the engine blew up. Bottom line, it's just a little extra longer race. You've got to be patient and do everything else you do for a 500-miler or a 300-miler. Bottom line, you've got to have the car underneath you and be in position at the end just like any other race. It just so happens it's a little tougher on equipment."

COMMENT ON SEASON

"We've had an up and down season, more downs than ups and sometimes some overs. The best part everybody says keep your head up and things will turn around. To me, we've been running fast. We've been doing good. We've just had some freak instances, whether it's Talladega or whether it was Daytona. The first lap at California, I'll forever say it wasn't my fault. The bottom line is you've got to go on. You've got to keep your chin up. We've been fast, and that's what's pulled me through it all.

"You create 99 percent of your own luck in this sport as you do in anything else. If you go over the line just a little bit going down the highway, then it's your fault. You're the one in control. I'm the one in control in that driver's seat. Matt's in control as the crew chief, and every other guy has some form of control. There's been times when we let that slip a little bit, whether it's me in The Winston or burning up a rear gear at Richmond. The bottom line is we've been going out there and trying real hard. We just haven't put everything together. There is what you call racing luck where you blow tires or get involved in a wreck when the race track's block, but again, that's part of it

"I just got loose (in The Winston). In fact, I went up to Tony (Stewart) before qualifying and told him I had to blame it on somebody. Obviously, it was my fault. I was just upset because we had a car capable of winning, in my eyes pretty easily. We had a really fast race car. I took us out of contention. A little bit of it was impatience, but a part of it was I knew that once the competition got single file and spread out a little bit it was going to be hard to get to that eighth or ninth spot. In hindsight for sure that was the ideal spot to go for.

"He (Stewart) was cool about it. I told him I would have sworn 99 percent somebody would have hit me. I want you guys to understand what it's like to drive the car because when Mark was next to me and I got the air off my car, Tony was four feet behind me, it felt like my car lifted itself off the ground. When I spun around I was on the tip going backwards. It gives you an idea that race car was not touching the ground. There's a picture in Winston Cup Scene of the front tires lifting up off the ground, the left front is for sure. That's what happens with the air. I put myself in the wrong spot and tried too hard at the same time.

"I think the sun came out and got a little warm but at the same time it cooled off back again right away. I think overall it was more consistent than it usually is here in qualifying. Usually we're translating from 7 o'clock to about 9:30 at night."

-dodge motorsports-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman , Roger Penske , Buddy Baker