Chicagoland: Newman - Saturday media visit

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) HAVE YOU SEEN IMPROVEMENTS OVER THE LAST MONTH WITH YOUR TEAM? "There've been improvements. Bu it's not like we're running in the top-five every week, but they have made improvements for sure." WHAT...

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger)

HAVE YOU SEEN IMPROVEMENTS OVER THE LAST MONTH WITH YOUR TEAM? "There've been improvements. Bu it's not like we're running in the top-five every week, but they have made improvements for sure."

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TONY (STEWART) OVER THE YEARS? "Tony's a great competitor in many ways. He's tough, but respectful. He's been a good friend on and off the race track. Specifically off, he's done a lot to help me and guide me. In general he's just a hard nose racer and have always appreciated him for that. Whether we argue on the race track or not, we're two hard nosed racers."

WHAT KIND OF BOSS WOULD TONY BE? I think Tony would be a good boss. He's proven to be successful in his open-wheel career as far as ownership with the dirt (track) teams."

WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF TONY'S NEW OWNERSHIP DEAL? "I think that it says a lot of Gene Haas and that he has a lot of trust in Tony Stewart, not just in the driving, but from a business standpoint. That's a huge step. That's a huge amount of trust to be able to work towards a common goal."

WOULD MATT BORLAND BEING EMPLOYED AT HAAS RACING INFLUENCE YOUR DECICION? "Matt's always been a good friend. Obviously we had a parting of the ways from a competitive level a couple years ago. He's a great friend. Does it impact it (my decision)? Yeah. There's a friend over there, that's something to consider."

WOULD YOU BE RELUCTANT TO GO TO A TEAM THAT HASN'T HAD THE TRACK RECORD OF MUCH SUCCESS? "Would I be reluctant? I would consider the reluctancy, but I would also say that I not exactly where I would want to be right now. I have to listen to all options."

WOULD YOU CONSIDER A TEAM THAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO QUALIFY FOR THE DAYTONA 500? "Well, you get the option to qualify and/or race. But yeah, there are assumptions to be made for that. We still don't know what the situation for next year with respect to provisionals and how that's going to work. Who knows?"

IS THERE ANY URGENCY IN MAKING YOUR DECISION? "I'm not in a position of urgency. I'm just in a position to find out what's right for me. That's what I'm working toward."

IS THERE A TIME FRAME THAT YOU CAN'T TALK ABOUT NEW NEGOITIATIONS? "Me personally, no. My contract doesn't state that I have to keep my mouth shut in any respect other than just being respectful and that's what I'm going to do."

WHAT'S THIS PROCESS BEEN LIKE FOR YOU? "It's been different. It's been work. It's been a sense of distortion. In general, it's part of what I have to do for my career."

WHAT'S THE WORK PART OF THIS PROCESS? "When you have a contract that says you're going to keep driving the year after, then you don't have to work on that."

DO YOU HAVE ANY PREFERENCE OF STAYING WITH PENSKE? "Honestly, I don't know. In general, I have a career here. I've had a career here at Penske Racing. If it works out to move on, then I will move on. I don't know that answer yet."

HOW WOULD YOU CLASSIFY YOUR NEGOTIATIONS WITH ROGER (PENSKE) SO FAR? "I talked to Roger a little bit this week. I talked to him a little bit last week. We're still working on performance. We're working on a lot of things. It's just a matter of when we decide we're going to move on or part ways if that does happen."

HAVE YOU AGREED WITH SOMEONE ALREADY AND YOU'RE JUST NOT READY TO ANNOUNCE IT? "No, I haven't agreed. I told you point blank -- I've never lied to you and I won't lie to you. I haven't agreed. I don't know my answer."

IS DRIVING FOR TONY'S TEAM AN OPTION? "Driving for Tony's team is an option. He's got an open seat. Obviously you guys marked me as a lead candidate to get in there, so it is an option."

HAVE YOU AND TONY HAD DISCUSSIONS ALONG THAT LINE? "Have we had discussions? I've had a lot of discussion with a lot of people."


IS THAT DEAL STILL ON THE TABLE? "I haven't decided yet."

WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO RYAN NEWMAN? "The most important thing to me is performance, winning a championship and achieving the goals outside of what I've done -- a lot of poles, wins and winning the Daytona 500. There are still a lot of things out there for me to achieve."

WITH HAAS OR ANOTHER TEAM? "I won't answer that."

HAVE YOU BEEN FRUSTRATED IN THIS SERIES? "Coulda..woulda..shoulda. All things happen for a reason. We've been close. We just haven't succeeded in ways and times that we could have or should have. That's all in the past. Like I said, I'm working on looking forward. I don't have a final answer."

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT WINNING A CHAMPIOSHIP, ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT RIGHT AWAY OR DO YOU JUST NEED TO SEE POTENTIAL TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP? "I see potential to win a championship where I'm at. It's just that potential hasn't proven to be as high as other organizations. That's just a statistical fact. I'm just doing what I have to do to put myself in the best position to move forward."

INDIANAPOLIS WOULD BE A PERFECT PLACE TO MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT FOR A COUPLE OF INDY DRIVERS, CAN WE MAYBE EXPECT SOMETHING NEXT WEEK? "Chicago is about an hour-and-a-half from my house too. I don't know what's going to happen or the timeframe for when it's going to happen."

ARE YOU ANGUISHING OVER THE DECISION? "It's not an easy decision. It's probably one of the hardest decisions that I'll have to make as a driver and maybe as a person, who knows. I'm sure Tony sat there and said the same thing to you. It's not an easy decision to make. It's not an easy answer that comes to you. It's not a long equation of multiple variables that says, 'What equation gets to the closest answer.' It's not necessarily that."

WITH THE OFF-WEEK COMING UP, IS THIS A GOOD TIME TO MAKE A DECISION? "Everyday is 24 hours, so it's just a matter of making the best of your time."


-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart