Chicagoland: Newman - Thursday media visit

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 14 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media and discussed the season to date, objectives for the next eight races before the Chase, safety and the Daytona 400, the Chicago track, and more. MID-WAY THROUGH THE SEASON, WHAT ARE YOUR ...

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 14 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media and discussed the season to date, objectives for the next eight races before the Chase, safety and the Daytona 400, the Chicago track, and more.

MID-WAY THROUGH THE SEASON, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOUR PERFORMANCE AT THE HALF-WAY MARK? "I think we've been good. I don't think we've been great. We had a great string, but on average we've been pretty good. We've had a lot of fun, that's for sure. Obviously Tony (Stewart) has a lot fewer complaints than we do. But in general, it's just been a lot of fun; a chemistry-building and team morale-building experience. I look forward to going back to some of these tracks twice with these guys and these race cars to try and get that first victory for our team."

TALK ABOUT THE DAYTONA 400 RACE AND WHETHER OR NOT IT WAS SAFE, AND, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE TRACK AT CHICAGO? "I thought the race was pretty good. To me, the cars weren't in as big a group I think as February, just because of either the temperature or the tire or both. We didn't see a long green flag run, which I would have liked to have seen. But in general, we just got caught up in the accident and had work on the race car quite a bit and had kind of a frustrating day. But to come back and finish 20th, or whatever they said we finished, was good based on all the damage we had to the car. All the suspension underneath, the back of the car was bent, and it was a handful to drive, but we still passed nine cars on the last restart. Safety-wise, we saw good racing at the end that caused a big crash, and that's my opinion. I don't think anybody was at fault. It's a product of us trying to do what we do as drivers to try and win the race. And whether it's at Daytona or the bull ring in Dayton, Ohio, the bottom line is its racing and we all have that. You can go to a quarter-midget or go kart track and see the same type of thing sometimes. Is it safe? It was safe in result. Could it be safer? Always. So, we just need to keep working on those things.

"Coming to Chicago, I enjoy it. It's cool in different ways. It's cool because it's close to home for me. I got to spend some time with my family yesterday. We went to the county fair and petted some pigs (laughs) which was something different that most of the time we don't get to do."

WITH EIGHT WEEKS LEFT UNTIL THE CHASE, WHAT ARE YOUR OBJECTIVES? DO YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT? HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST PLAYOFF RUN WITH THIS TEAM? "We do what we've done only we try to do it better. We've got ourselves in a position to be in the top 12, but we need to do it better because we're sitting seventh. The last three weeks have been not stellar performances They've been stellar efforts, but not stellar performances. We need to get those performances back, that string of top fives and top ten's and that'll solidify those eight races. But it's just a matter of doing that. Like we always say, it's easier to sit up here and talk about it and things look great on paper, but everybody has to work together as a team to get those results."

OBVIOUSLY THE OBJECTIVE IS TO WIN THE RACE, CONSIDERING THE CHASE IS SEEDED ON NUMBER OF VICTORIES, HOW MUCH PRESSURE DO YOU PUT ON YOURSELF IN THE NEXT EIGHT RACES TO GET WINS? "We are always trying to win the race. Outside of that, it is the obvious. We've seen in the past, Jimmie Johnson, was it two years ago when he won, he crashed in the first race and came back and won it. Everyone typically has their mulligan or their bad race. I don't think necessarily that those wins make a different in who necessarily wins the championship. It gives you some momentum and that little extra cushion for your bad race or for potentially one of your worst days."

CAN YOU THINK BACK A YEAR AGO TODAY WHEN TONY (STEWART) ANNOUNCED HE WAS STRIKING OUT ON HIS OWN, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING AT THAT TIME? "I was really still working on my situation, still trying to figure out what I was going to do. I was aware before some other people were about Tony making this announcement a year ago today. I kind of knew who was dealing. I just didn't know what the cards were going to be. I was still working to try to get those results with the No. 12 car at the time. Looking back at it, we finished 10th here and still putting a ton of effort in to it, it just didn't result in that direction I guess you could say. I folded up one hand and picked up another."

HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP HOW THE FIRST YEAR HAS GONE WITH TONY? "It has been good. We have had our weaknesses. We have struggled a little bit in the pits. We have struggled a little bit communication wise, just making the car better at different times in the weekend. Everybody struggles with that. I think our organization has done a very good job giving us very good equipment from a car standpoint. Nuts and bolts are tight, I don't have to worry about the mechanical part of it. Sometimes that is a total distraction and it can change your entire weekend. I think in general the organization has done an A for effort. Obviously Tony's team has got that A+. I would still say were are at a B. We have been a B+ to an A and we have been a C+ to a B- at times."

THERE IS A REAL CHANCE EITHER YOU OR TONY WILL WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, WOULD YOU CONSIDER THAT A STAGGERING ACHIEVEMENT? "It depends on your definition of staggering achievement, but, yes, it would be a great achievement. We have to remember that Gene Haas did a great job laying the ground work and laying the foundation in more ways than one for what we have right now. Tony Stewart and his group have done a great job of moving in different people as we have stated before, people are making the difference. In general, it would be a staggering accomplishment for either of us. Just to be in the Chase, part of goal was for both cars to be in the Chase. If we can make that happen, it's a staggering accomplishment in itself in my opinion."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart