Charlotte: Pole winner interview

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- POLE WINNER YOU, KYLE BUSCH, AND JEFF GORDON WERE RUNNING THREE-WIDE IN THE ALL STAR RACE. DOES THAT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE QUALIFYING ORDER TODAY? "Yeah, as of right now, I'm going to call a...

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- POLE WINNER

YOU, KYLE BUSCH, AND JEFF GORDON WERE RUNNING THREE-WIDE IN THE ALL STAR RACE. DOES THAT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE QUALIFYING ORDER TODAY?

"Yeah, as of right now, I'm going to call a meeting in the NASCAR hauler for all three teams to sit down and talk about the first lap (laughs). But it's kind of ironic how things work out. I'm just extremely honored to be driving this race car, the U.S. Army Chevrolet and Tony Stewart and Gene Haas have given me a great opportunity. I'm just trying to make the best of it. It was a pretty good lap. I was happy with it. It could have been a little bit better. We all say that, but it was good enough to win the pole. I'm just looking forward to the race and the weekend and I say that all the time and you guys asked me earlier about winning all these poles, but you haven't done that good in races here. So this is the weekend we're going to try to change that.

"Secondly, I got a nice check like we talked this morning. But there was no pecan pie. What's the deal? I don't even like pecan pie but I was looking forward to it (laughter)."

DID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR FIRST POLE CAME IN THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT THIS RACE IN 2001?

"Yeah. And now I'm back in the top 10 in poles after being beat out by Mark Martin. So I broke the tie with Buck Baker to be in the top 10 all-time NASCAR poles. I mean it just came to my head (laughter)."

BY SCORING YOUR EIGHTH POLE YOU ARE NOW OFFICIALLY MORE THAN HALF-WAY TO DAVID PEARSON'S ALL-TIME RECORD AT THE TRACK. CAN YOU STICK AROUND LONG ENOUGH AND BE FAST ENOUGH TO CATCH UP TO 14 CAREER POLES?

"I'd just like to have the opportunity. I talked to David Pearson down in Darlington. I still think he's one of the greatest drivers of all time ever to have the stats that he did outside of Charlotte obviously Charlotte was special to him in qualifying. But he's a great guy and a great driver. If I'm lucky enough to be here that long, I'd love to try to be able to at least attempt to break that number. I don't think anybody will ever break the record of consecutive poles. But to have the opportunity to get the all-time most poles, I think that would be cool."

ON TONY STEWART WINNING THE ALL-STAR AND NOW YOU WINNING THE POLE, WHAT DOES THAT SAY TO THE PROGRESS OF STEWART-HAAS?

"I saw Tony right before I came in here and he said we're just going to take tomorrow off, basically, and just relax (laughter). No, seriously the guys have done a really great job. When I say the guys, I mean the guys at Stewart-Haas and everybody involved from top to bottom. Secondly and obviously, at Hendrick Motorsports the engine and their chassis program has been very beneficial and helped us out a lot. It's nice to be back up here talking about winning poles. After you win your first one in your third start and you go over a year, you kind of get pole depressed and I think I've overcome that today."

AFTER WATCHING TONY WIN THE ALL-STAR RACE, WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN THE COCA-COLA 600?

"I just look forward to the opportunity. I think both Tony and I have great race cars and it's a survival battle of 600 miles, 400 laps. I've been fairly close before. We've had some fast race cars at the end of the race and fell short, but it's a long race and just to be in this position right now to have that opportunity is what I look for. It would mean the world obviously, for me. It's been over a year without a win, and for Tony as an owner to get that points win, but we just have to keep doing what we've been doing and stay working hard. It's real easy to get complacent in this sport and not that we're in that position, but we just have to keep doing what we've been doing and I told the guys that after Richmond that we'll just keep doing what we're doing and we'll get what we want. That's obviously a victory, so we'll just put the effort in it."

SINCE THAT POLE IN 2001, YOU'VE WON THE POLE FOR THE 600 EVERY OTHER YEAR. WHAT IS IT ABOUT LOWE'S THAT MAKES QUALIFYING SO GOOD FOR YOU?

"I really enjoy the race track and speed obviously and the banking. I've always said I really enjoy banked race tracks and this is one of the best and fastest banked race tracks out there. I've had fast race cars with Penske racing and now with Stewart-Haas racing and just have been blessed with fast race cars. I couldn't do it without fast race cars. I've always told my crew chief, whoever it is at the time, if you give me a straight arrow, I'll shoot it straight. But don't expect me to shoot a crooked arrow to the pole. And they've done a very good job for me."

LAST WEEK YOU WERE REALLY FAST. ARE THERE DIFFERENCES IN THE CARS FROM LAST WEEK TO THIS WEEK?

"The cars are very similar. We've gone through based on our performance at the All-Star race, and looked at what differences there were with this car compared to the All-Star car. It's a very, very good car. So, we just have to keep working on it, race-trim wise, and balance and short run and long run speed to make sure we have all our bases covered. After that, it's left up to the racing gods if you're going to be in victory lane."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Mark Martin , David Pearson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports