Daytona 500: Newman - Wednesday media visit

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 US ARMY IMPALA, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed goals for the 2010 season, racing at Daytona with new rules, working out and other topics. HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING IN TO THE DAYTONA...

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 US ARMY IMPALA, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed goals for the 2010 season, racing at Daytona with new rules, working out and other topics.

HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING IN TO THE DAYTONA 500 HAVING WON THE RACE? "It is an all-new year. There are a lot of new things going on. Just excited to be back doing what we are doing here at Stewart-Haas Racing with the US Army. I think we have a good car, we proved that in qualifying. We were good on speed. We just have to make it drive good. Today, Wednesday, starts all of that so we will just have to see."

THE DRIVERS SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THE FINE LINE THAT EXISTS BETWEEN BUMPING AND CHAOS, IS IT JUST THE CORNERS THAT IS A NO-BUMP ZONE? "(LAUGHS) We have always understood that, we just don't like it when it is controlled by other people. We have the steering wheels and the pedals so we should be able to control it. It is all good from my perspective. The Shootout was a different style of racing than what we have seen with the cars. I think that Daytona is very much a handling race track. We'll see who can handle the best."

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE GUYS WHO HAVEN'T HAD MUCH TIME ON THE TRACK YET? "I think there is going to be a lot of guys who are going to get their eyes opened up to what the cars drive like, what they feel like. Conditions are pretty good, not just speed, but the handling as well. We will see who can control them and who can't."

IS THIS YEAR A LITTLE EASIER FOR YOU THAN LAST YEAR COMING IN AS A NEW TEAM? "It is kind of business as usual but it is the start of the season so there is a lot of excitement around it. Obviously, it is a big race. I'm pretty excited about. We didn't have the Bud Shootout that we wanted to have. We gained some experience that other teams don't have so I feel like we have some more information. Now we have a year of information which we didn't have at this point last year so that is probably more important."

DO YOU WELCOME A NEW RULE THAT WOULD GIVE YOU TWO ATTEMPTS AT GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED FINISH? "I think what they are talking about is one more shot at a green-white-checkered if we haven't got to the white flag yet, because that is the way the green-white-checkered policy works anyway. So instead of having one stab at it, they would give us two stabs at it. There are chances that we will have a little bit more racing, a little bit different outcome. It would be a checkered flag finish for the fans which what ultimately what it is all about. So, I understand the perspective of it, I just don't know if it is going to happen or how it will happen.

"I think every time we can end a race at the checkered flag at speed, then it is great for the fans. That is ultimately what it is all about."

EVEN IF IT MEANS MORE WRECKS? "Drivers control the race cars. We can crash on the first lap or we can crash on the last lap. It is up to us to decide when."

WITH THE NEW RESTRICTOR PLATE, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES THAT MAKE TO YOU AS YOU TRY TO SEPARATE FROM PEOPLE? "The bigger plate is just more speed and with more speed means handling is more important. It is harder to hold it wide open. This is a track where it seems like you are on that edge at least part of the run for trying to hold it wide open. I don't think it really changes the outcome, it just changes the way you race a little bit."

HAVE YOUR GOALS CHANGED FOR THIS YEAR? "The goals are still the same for this season with respect to what we did last year. We want to make the Chase; we want to win the championship. Everybody you ever talk to is probably going to say that, but, I think we have increased our communication. We have changed some people around. We've got a notebook to rely on that we didn't have last year. Tony Gibson (crew chief), it was kind of go as you go and learn as you go. We did a lot of great things last year. We didn't win a race which is obviously one of our goals this year. In general, just to go out there and have fun and do better than we did last year. I said, and I kind of joked about it, from an engineering standpoint, two points define a line. Without that second point, we don't know the success of Stewart-Haas is going to be like. So this year is very important not just for our team, but the entire organization."

ARE YOU STARTING A NEW WORKOUT PROGRAM? YOUR WIFE KRISSIE POSTED THAT YOU HAD GONE TO WORKOUT. "Oh yes. We actually did a little working out. I'm not big on that. Yesterday I was in the brush, I have scratches all over my hands, chasing a wild boar. I am not typically a workout guy in the gym and we went swimming so she's, I guess, telling my stories."

DO YOU THINK THAT IS EVER GOING TO BE SOMETHING YOU DO? "I think it is important to be physically fit and I think everyone's definition of physically fit is obviously different. I don't necessarily feel like I need to go in the gym and pedal a bike or run on a treadmill. I like doing things outside. People ask me if I work out. I say 'Yea, I work outside all the time.' The first three letters of the word diet are d-i-e so I don't want anything to do with that. I do my thing. I try to be understanding of what I am doing to my body and that is what I do."

WHAT IS THE RYAN NEWMAN DEFINITION OF BEING PHYSICALLY FIT? "I don't think I am 100% physically fit. I feel like I am physically fit to drive the race car. I don't feel like I give up anything there. I am probably a little over weight. I have plenty of muscle. I don't have a lot of stamina, but the race car doesn't require a lot of stamina. I feel like I am good."

ANY THOUGHTS ON DANICA PATRICK'S MOVE TO NATIONWIDE? "I guess she is doing what she is doing and doing it for her reasons. Our opinion doesn't really matter. I think there will be a different level of excitement for the race because of that but it doesn't matter to me."

DO YOU LIKE THE ATTENTION SHE IS BRINGING? "Oh yea. Any attention, good or bad seems to be good for our sport. You look at the first race ever on TV, there was a fight. Now we get our hands slapped for fighting. I think any kind of attention is good."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing