Dover II: Newman - Friday media visit

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed the Chase, tires at Dover, his relationship with Tony Gibson, and more. YOUR THOUGHTS ON WEEK TWO. "I always look forward to ...

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed the Chase, tires at Dover, his relationship with Tony Gibson, and more.

YOUR THOUGHTS ON WEEK TWO. "I always look forward to coming to Dover. It's kind of weird doing media after you've practiced the car because we didn't unload very well. The guys did a really good job of making it better and making it faster so I could drive it and I think now we're sitting second in qualifying. I think it will be a top-five run so that's a good position on the track. That's getting harder to pass because the cars are so similar. I think Goodyear has a better tire for sure. I'm one of the few guys I guess that can say that after practice. It's rubbering the track up. It feels good and it drives pretty good and nobody has had any problems yet. Last race here we would have had problems by now so its looking better."

IF YOU GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON WHAT WAS YOUR EXPECTATIONS THAT YOU WOULD BE IN THE CHASE? "There were some unknowns. I chose to be where I was. I chose my crew chief. I chose a lot of things so those weren't necessarily unknowns, the unknowns were the results and they've done a really good job. The guys have done a really good job. I think we were 13 laps short of all the laps run in the entire season after the 26th race. That's awesome. That helped get us locking into the Chase no doubt. Unknowns I couldn't tell you how long the list was. I couldn't tell you my expectations outside of what I wanted to do. My goal was to make it in the Chase and have a shot at the championship and we're sitting here talking about that right now."

NOW THAT YOUR IN THE CHASE DOVER IS USUALLY A GOOD TRACK FOR YOU, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE A GOOD FINISH HERE GOING INTO KANSAS NEXT WEEK? "I think Jimmie Johnson's average finish last year was 5.7 so you have to have a good finish every race. There's no bad race you can really have. This track is no different than any other tracks. It just so happens its one of my best tracks performance wise in the past so I look forward to trying to up that average."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TONY GIBSON AND HOW ITS EVOLVED OVER THE COARSE OF THE SEASON? "It's obviously gotten better and grown as we've gone. The performances and successes have strengthened that for sure. I guess we probably spend as much time talking about things outside of racing as we do racing which is good because our racing is going pretty good too. He sent me a picture text this week of him sitting up in a deer stand trying to make me jealous. Just things like that make it that much more fun when things are going right. I think a lot of him as a person. I think a lot of him as a friend. He's done a really good job with our crew and making the U.S. Army Chevy strong."

TALK ABOUT WHAT MAKES DOVER TOUGH IN YOUR MIND. "Well its physically tough. We talk about what it takes to be Army strong and its mental, emotional and physical. It's one of the most physical race tracks that we go to. "Mentally because its so physically tough you have to stay in shape and stay on top of things. When you hit, you hit hard here so emotionally you have to be ready for a lot of things. I've always enjoyed it. I've always enjoyed the speed, banking and everything else here."

YOU HAD A PRETTY GOOD QUALIFYING RUN, GOING EARLY MIGHT HAVE HELPED. "I don't think it matters here. The concrete makes it so much more fun and more fair it doesn't make as big of difference here, that qualifying draw. With the weather staying pretty much the same I don't think it really matters a whole lot. Juan will tell you it was not an advantage if he wins the pole."

WE'VE HAD A LOT OF INCIDENTS ON PIT ROAD LATELY, SHOULD NASCAR START PENALIZING DRIVERS FOR HITTING GUYS OR SHOULD NASCAR START PENALIZING CREW GUYS FOR JUMPING OUT IN FRONT OF CARS TO SLOW THEM DOWN? "That's just racing. I would say in general we typically one out of the two races in Loudon we see problems up there. Just the length of pit road and the boxes. There's room width wise like there didn't used to be here so I commend Dover like I did last time for making the changes they have made. Some of its human error. Some of its coincidence. Some of its bad timing. Kurt (Busch) last week should have looked in his mirror and saw the No. 6 car coming. You don't pull out. I mean he crashed his car at the same time. That's a racing accident on pit road. That's just part of racing.

"People getting hurt is just a by-product of it and we don't want to see that but like I said it happens more so at some race tracks than others and its always been a part of racing. You go back 40 years you've got guys swinging jacks, literally swinging 50 pound jacks around the race car taking out guys shins and knees and everything else. So it's a lot safer than it was we just have to keep track of it."

HAS IT BEEN A PRETTY QUIET YEAR THIS YEAR IN THE GARAGES AND OUT OF THE CAR? "Who do you want me to punch? Seriously. Are you a violent person?"

WHATEVER IT TAKES. "(laughing) Well I take that mentality too but I don't go out and punch somebody's eyeballs through the back of their head. You know I mean everything goes in cycles and that's part of it. I wouldn't say there is anything that stands out as to why its not happening. In general there is a lot of respect out there right now and that's good. That's good for this sport. It's good for the drivers at least. I think the sport likes to see rivals and likes to see punches thrown every once in a while but that's not the best thing for the kids that are out there."

MAYBE ONE FACTOR IS BECAUSE OF THE CHASE AND THE PREMIUM NOW ON EVERY POINT IS PRECIOUS MAYBE THE GUYS THINK TWICE BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO BE DOCKED 25 POINTS. "You mean people are still cussing? There's nothing that really stands out in my mind. You go back three or four years ago at Richmond you saw some really beating and banging racing in the second race when we were trying to make the Chase and now it seems like there are more drivers that are worried about being penalized or losing track position because of a penalty and the racing is that much cleaner than it used to be. I think that NASCAR has done a good job at regulating that and I don't want them to regulate it any more but I think they've done a good job to get it to where they are at this point."

JIMMIE JOHNSON AND JUAN PABLO MONTOYA WERE THE TWO CHASE DRIVERS THAT DID THE TIRE TESTING AT DOVER IN AUGUST AND THEY ARE 1-2 IN QUALIFYING. IS THAT AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE? IS THERE AN UNWRITTEN RULE THAT YOU DON'T TEST DURING THE CHASE OR TEST AT CHASE TRACKS? "No, there are two different ways of looking at that. You can consider it unfair but it's not because other drivers have the opportunity to test at different race tracks. Now granted, it was probably more unfair in some way because we're not going back to Phoenix a second time to test Goodyear tires. There are guys who are going to Daytona and have tested already for next year. So how do you look at that? Goodyear and NASCAR does a good job of spreading it out and making sure that everybody gets an opportunity whether that take that opportunity, or not, to test and yeah, those guys should be on top. We'll get the advantage some day and whether it's at Dover or Charlotte of Phoenix or Martinsville and hopefully show that we can do the same things. It doesn't mean they're going to win the race."

GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY, WOULD YOU LIKE TO TIRE TEST ALL 10 OF THE LAST 10 TRACKS? "No. I cringed a little bit when I heard they changed the testing policy. I didn't know what was going to happen. I think the testing policy is great the way it is. I don't think we need to go out there and waste any more time and money doing something that doesn't change the effects of the racing for the fans.

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson