RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL/WEGA Dodge Intrepid) - "We started off really, really, really fast. When I cut that right-rear tire down that was the first time I've ever been in the stock car and cut a tire down. Actually, it was the second time -...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL/WEGA Dodge Intrepid) -
"We started off really, really, really fast. When I cut that right-rear tire down that was the first time I've ever been in the stock car and cut a tire down. Actually, it was the second time - the other time was here in a Busch car. Either way, it was the first time in a long time that I've had to deal with cutting a tire down. It kind of took me by surprise. I about spun the car out. After that it was just a battle of track position, and working through track position as far as strategy and doing what we could do to get our lap back.
"There were a couple times that we were the first car that was a lap down, and then the leader would go and lap a few cars and they'd be the first car a lap down. We weren't fast when we needed to be at certain times. Finally, we got it together and we were able to get our lap back. After that, it was just a fuel mileage race of sorts. I think it was us and the No. 17 car who had the potential to go the rest of the way because we were the only ones to come in and pack our fuel cells with about 120 or 115 laps to go. After that we were just trying to save some fuel, pass some cars and not get back down a lap again because the leaders were coming. Once we got back in that clean air, the car was a lot better speed-wise. From there on it was just a matter of holding off the No. 19, No. 20 and No. 29. Jeremy raced me really clean, and I thank him for that. We got into it once as we were coming off turn two. But he never cut me a fender when he could've, and that goes a long way.
"We were in position to be able to make it on fuel the whole way. So, I asked Matt what he wanted to do. I had told him before, when we had 120 or whatever to go, to think about fueling. He and the guys did an awesome job to give me a good, balanced car. Being able to save fuel from the driver's seat is not really easy to do when you're trying to go fast. We were just doing the best we could with a car that was decently balanced and trying to stay out front and log some laps and get a couple cautions, and it worked in our favor.
"We finished with a little bit more fuel than I thought we would've had, but I was able to save quite a bit. He's (Matt Borland) definitely on the radio, because his job is to make sure that we finish first, and we need to finish in order to finish first. That's part of his job to make sure that we have enough fuel to get to the end from a team perspective and a sponsor's perspective.
On caution flag rule-revision...
"I still believe what I said. I guess the reward part of it, from my perspective, is still opinionated. It always will be opinionated if the rule stands the way it is. If there's 42 cars on the lead lap and one car's way off pace and he gets his lap back then he got a free lap for basically nothing. He didn't come close to earning his lap. Where, our situation we were working our way forward and finally were the first car that was one lap down. You could call it 'earning' your lap back of sorts. In the past, there might have been a leader who would have given me my lap back today. That's highly unlikely in my opinion, but we dealt with what rules we had to play with today. That won us the game.
On Dale Jr., crash...
"I guess I had just passed him, or was in the process of passing him. He must have been right alongside of me, and he just lost it. The way it looked like he just lost it, spun around and laid the left door into the wall. I never saw anything until I came back around. In fact, I was kind of surprised to see it was him because my spotter said, 'Crash in two,' and I was down in three already. I think he watched it happen and anything else. I don't know if he's alright, but I saw it took him a little bit of time for him to get out of the car.
"Our tires were just about 35 laps older than theirs. We just had a good car and track position. You've got to count on the guy behind you running you clean when he's close to your bumper.
"It looked like he (No. 19) was running higher tire pressures than us. He was just flat fast, and he got up on me. I had a really good restart there. He was able to go right around the No. 77 and a couple of other guys, because I think when he came across the line he was behind the No. 77 and he was behind it. He looked like he was running some higher tire pressures, and that made him fast for the first little bit. Obviously it cost him a little bit later in the run. But again, I've got to thank him for racing me clean.
"It's just chemistry. Before I got into the sport I never really understood what true chemistry was when it comes to people. Having 200 people at Team Penske - that's communication. We've learned and grown as we've been together for the last three years.
"I think it was about four or five laps to go when I came over the radio and said, 'I hope we don't run out of fuel, because that was a hell of a race we just had (with the No. 19).' That was a really fun part of the race for me to be able to hold him off and run away from him. I've got to thank the guys for being able to keep the fuel in our car.
"The one race we had for Sony last year we were running away at Pocono and we had a fuel pump failure, and that basically took us out of contention for the win. To be able to come back and get the win in the one race we have them as a sponsor as the car is kind of gratifying for them and for us.
"We had a really good car from the start, obviously. But when our tire blew out, we got caught back there in traffic. The car got really tight. We tried staying out on old tires one time just to get the track position. It was good, but it also hurt us. That's pretty much it. It was up to us getting back our track position.
"I knew that if we could get back on the lead lap that we'd have a good shot at the win. When we did get back on the lead lap we had the opportunity to come in and get fuel at the end. With about 110 or 120 laps to go I told Matt (crew chief, Borland) to take fuel and we had enough in the end.
"This was satisfying to win the spring race and the fall race. I guess Jimmie Johnson and I aren't showing any flukes about our rookie runs last year.
"We benefited from it (the yellow-flag rule revisions). The No. 17 was on the same pit strategy as us too. He decided to come in and fuel up with 75 laps to go. So, we weren't the only ones to have the opportunity to win.
"Jeremy raced me clean. I've got to thank him for that. We've got Dodges coming home one-two, so that says a little something there. We're just looking forward to the rest of the season. This was our seventh win, and we've got seven poles. That's really awesome.
"In the first part of the race our car was awesome until we cut that tires. That put us back a little bit - both our track position and our speed. We fought lapped traffic for awhile and fought getting our lap back. Once we did that I knew we had a pretty good car. Before that it was just a matter of getting our balance back."