Fontana II: Newman - Friday media visit

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION/U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media and discussed Chasers and non-Chasers in the Chase, how much he wants a victory now, the accident at Talladega Spring race, and more. ON RACING AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY "Well, I...

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION/U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media and discussed Chasers and non-Chasers in the Chase, how much he wants a victory now, the accident at Talladega Spring race, and more.

ON RACING AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY "Well, I think we'll see some better racing. This track, in general, the more it's aged, the better it's gotten as with most race tracks. And each time I come back here obviously it's older. So, I think Goodyear's got a pretty good tire. It's very similar, if not the same, as what we had in Kansas. I think we saw some pretty decent racing there; probably some of the best racing we've seen at Kansas. I look forward to it. It's not my favorite race track, I'll tell you that first-hand. But that doesn't mean you can't have a good showing here. So we'll see what happens with the Haas-Automation Chevrolet."

IN THIS YEAR'S CHASE, WE'VE GOT DRIVERS WHO HAVE WON RACES AND DRIVERS WHO HAVE NOT. JUST HOW CLOSE ARE THE 12 TEAMS IN THE CHASE? IS THERE A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOMEBODY WHO HAS WON A LOT AND SOMEBODY WHO HAS ONE WIN OR NO WINS? "In what respect?"

FROM A COMPETITIVE STANDPOINT "We've not won and there have been races, in my eyes, we've given away; and given away to guys that have won multiple races. So, it's close. Yeah, the competition is close. There are some guys that have dominated and guys that have slid in with some of their victories. Obviously every one of them is earned, but I feel that the competition is closer than it's ever been in this sport and I'm just glad to be a part of it. It's very rewarding for us, as we stated after Richmond, to be in this position after nobody thought we could even make it."

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR TEAMMATE, TONY STEWART? "Some of its racing luck. Some of it is them doing a better job. At Kansas City we struggled all day. Our first pit stop put us two laps down from being nothing down. So, it's a team effort and there is no one thing that stands out between the No. 14 and the No. 39 that makes them more victorious than us, but it takes everybody's effort. And we've struggled at times and obviously are a new group, just like they are, but it's still been a lot of fun."

TWO OF THE FIRST THREE CHASE RACES HAVE BEEN DECIDED BY PIT CALLS. IS THERE A NEED FOR YOUR CREW CHIEF TO BE MORE DARING IN THE CHASE? OR, WHAT DOES A DRIVER IN THE CHASE NEED IN A CREW CHIEF? "That's kind of tough to qualify that answer in the essence that two tires versus four tires doesn’t necessarily mean that you're at risk or putting your team at risk. It's not like a fuel situation in my opinion. Fuel is way more risky of a gamble than two tires or no tires versus four tires. And I think that track position as we've said and as the competition has gotten closer as we eluded to earlier that track position is that much more important than it ever was and therefore that risky call on two tires or no tires is less riskier than it used to be because of how close the cars are."

COMPARE LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME TO THIS YEAR "Last year at this point I was counting down races and cleaning out the locker. It's different, for sure. At this point here, we're still very much in the Chase and there are seven races left. There are a lot of points to be gained and lost; not by us, but by other teams as well. It's still very much diehard, go-for-it; we're focused on doing whatever we can to win a race. If we could get that one victory for our team, and for our side of the organization, it would really give us a lot of momentum. That really helped Tony (Stewart), I feel, from the All-Star race on. If we had that right now, it would be huge."

IS THERE A CHANGE IN THE WAY THE CHASERS AND NON-CHASERS ARE RACING NOW DURING THE CHASE? "It's my opinion that even before the Chase started, that the racing has gotten more aggressive with the double-file restarts. In conjunction with the Chase and the way we're going for a championship, the stakes are even higher and the competition or the challenge we've given each other, it a little more aggressive. No matter what race track, it's definitely been less give and take and more want to take. That's okay. It's tough when you give first and you don't get back and I've seen that a little bit this year, or after these last three races."

LOOKING BACK TO THE TALLADEGA RACE IN THE SPRING WHEN THE NO. 99 GOT OFF THE GROUND, IS IT STILL AMAZING HOW HIGH CARL EDWARDS WENT? THE TRACK SAID THIS WEEK THEY'VE RAISED THE CATCH-FENCE IN THAT AREA "I'm glad somebody did something. Ultimately that's not the answer. Ultimately we need to keep the race cars on the ground. I don't think anything has been done with respect to that. I don't think the parts and pieces that flew through the fence and hurt the people, no matter how high the fence is, you're still going to have that. I don't think the solution is fixed, but I'm glad somebody made an effort. But we saw (Matt) Kenseth in the Nationwide Race get upside down on the back straightaway. Luckily, he didn't hit anything or hit anybody. But on Carl's deal, we don't need to see cars get airborne, period, for any reason.

"Going back to one of the first questions, that's one of the races I felt like we gave away. If I had just gone low instead of high, we would have won the race because (Brad) Keselowski lost so much momentum. I had (Dale Earnhardt) Junior on my back bumper. If I had just gone low and kept that push from the No. 88, we would have won that race. But in the grand scheme of things, we didn't. We got in the crash. Some fans got injured and that's not cool.

"But I wish some more was done to the race cars to keep them on the ground, whether it's different style roof flaps; there are things that we could be testing and working on in respect to that. And maybe NASCAR is for next year, but we're still going to Talladega in a few weeks here."

GOING INTO RACE WEEKENDS, DO YOU LOOK AT PAST STATS TO SEE WHO HAS RUN WELL IN THE PAST? "No, I saw a stat earlier that Montoya's best finish here is 11th and I don't know his best starting position or anything else, but he's got the quick time in practice by over two-tenths, so I don't know that all those stats necessarily matter. I don't spend time looking at it. It's a track that Jimmie Johnson has done really at. Jeff Gordon runs pretty well here. All those things aside, it doesn’t really matter if you have a bad pit stop."

IN FIVE TO SIX MONTHS SINCE TALLADEGA SPRING RACE, ARE YOU SURPRISED OR CONCERNED THAT NOT MUCH HAS COME OUT OF THAT INCIDENT? IS THAT NOT ENOUGH TIME? "Oh, you can develop a lot of things in five to six months. I just don't know; and I'm not trying to bash NASCAR, but I just don't know if anything has been done. I'm glad that the track, which to me is separate from NASCAR, has done their part to try to make it safer by raising the catchfence. They've added some more cables which is extremely important too, just due to the mass of the cars. But five to six months is plenty of time, based on what we do as teams, to get cars in wind tunnels and things like that to be able to do some research. Even if you didn't implement a part of a piece or whatever it is, it could have been tested and some knowledge gained in that time."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson