Fontana: Newman - Dodge interview

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Mobil 1/Alltel Dodge) COMMENT ON QUALIFYING "I was disappointed in our performance. Obviously Kurt had a great run and put down a heck of a lap. We unloaded off the truck and struggled with the balance. We made it better all...

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Mobil 1/Alltel Dodge)

COMMENT ON QUALIFYING "I was disappointed in our performance. Obviously Kurt had a great run and put down a heck of a lap. We unloaded off the truck and struggled with the balance. We made it better all day. I have no complaints in respect to that. I just wish we could have been better, and know we could have been better. I was too loose in qualifying, but it was speed on top of that."

ARE YOU READY TO RACE? "I look forward to the race. Kurt and I were the top two Dodges in qualifying. I look to be able to continue that in the race."

COMMENT ON RUNNING THE '04 DODGE "It doesn't feel any different than when we ran it at Homestead last year. It feels just as good as Homestead. It's just getting the experience of running in traffic. To me it's like learning how to drive all over again. The '04 Dodge is what Kurt and I brought here. Obviously it qualified great for him. For us it was good. We just look forward to racing it. We've tested the '04 car and the Charger in the past throughout the winter and we brought the best racecar here, and that's the '04. The people at Dodge understand that. Basically we're trying to make a case of it so they can see what's going on on Sunday. I think with the way Kurt qualified yesterday we're capable of doing a lot of things. When you beat the field by three-tenths in qualifying you've got a really fast car. I know we were capable of a lot better than ninth (actually Newman qualified 11th), so we'll have to see. I want to drive the best Dodge there is according to NASCAR rules. That's the bottom line. We take the fastest racecar to the racetrack. That's our job as teammates, both Kurt and I, and people at Penske Racing. Dodge is what we're driving. We understand the importance of brand identification, but manufacturer identification can override that. They don't make the Intrepid anymore, so we refer to it as the '04 car."

COMMENT ON THE PENALTY FOR THE 48 TEAM "I'm at the point where I'll let NASCAR make those decisions. As long as they stay consistent I'm happy about that part. It just seems like there needs to be another code for repeat offenders."

COMMENT ON YOUR RECENT COMMENTS "I say what's on my mind and that comes out as the truth. The bottom line is that's the way I've always been. If you ask me a question I'm going to give you an answer. It may not be the best answer as far as politics go, but that's who I am and that's how I work. My sponsors agree on telling the truth. That's good on my part. That's the problem. Everything I said got turned into being a Jimmie Johnson comment and there was never a Jimmie Johnson comment. It was about his crew chief and that's the bad thing about how everything went down Sunday evening at Daytona. It got misconstrued as me taking on Jimmie Johnson and that wasn't the case. The way it was presented to him was what made it wrong, and Jimmie and I have already talked about that."

DOES NASCAR NEED TO PUT PENALTIES IN BLACK AND WHITE? "I don't think so because there's so many potentials for infractions and so many rules. They'd have a list three pages long for penalties and that's not what they're there for. Maybe down the road they can do something like that, but I don't think that's the short term answer."

COMMENT ON THE UPCOMING DODGE TEST "We don't know for sure what's going to happen with that test. Just based on the fact we're two weeks into the season. We're going to keep doing what we're doing as far as our development of the '04, '05 and '06 cars and see what happens. Obviously everybody has their own ideas and more often than not when you mix the ideas together you get people upset if everybody doesn't agree. We're pretty possessive about what we agree on around here in the garage area, so it makes it difficult."

WHAT'S THE BIG DIFFERENCE IN THE '04 AND '05 DODGE? "The '04 car has better balance, better downforce, better handling package in clean and dirty air over the '05 car."

COMMENT ON KURT BUSCH WINNING THE POLE "I'm happy for him. I thought he did a great job. I wish we had done better. I wish we could have had a Penske front row. We'll see how our car races. I think we'll show a lot better in race trim than we did in qualifying trim. We tested this car quite a bit. It's an old chassis with a new body. We'll see how it works."

COMMENT ON NEW SPOTTER "He came over from RCR. We'll see how he works out. He's spotted for Earnhardt and a bunch of guys. He's got a pretty good resume, and we kind of went off that. Today is my first day working with him, so we'll see how it goes."

DOES THE MOMENTUM FROM DAYTONA CARRY OVER HERE? "Personnel-wise yes, car-wise absolutely not. The team is still pumped up. They were pumped up being tied for second in points, but that can change real easy like I always say."

DO YOU THINK IT HELPS TO TALK TO A DRIVER WHEN YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIM? "In the grand scheme of things I don't think it makes any difference, other than getting things off your mind and that could make a difference to you personally. It depends a lot on your relationship if it's still there because basically it's an eye-for-eye sport. It's nice to be able to talk to somebody. I remember a couple of years ago Ward Burton and I talked about a deal at Darlington. You get to a point where you can either cry on the phone or yell and scream. The bottom line is if you talk about it and you're honest everything comes out OK and you can go on. You still remember what happened. That's doesn't mean you're going to repay, but you remember what happened.

HAS KYLE BUSCH MADE A LOT OF ENEMIES ON THE TRACK? "Kyle Busch has got a lot of talent. At times, especially in the Shootout, he was mentioned a lot. There's always going to be somebody who stands out in one way or another. Look at how he finished the year last year. Some people have him picked for top five in the points. You can't do it (talk to a driver) anymore in the garage because you've got cameras in every direction. As soon as we get on the SPEED Channel the three personalities make more personality out of us than we actually have, and that's not good for us personally, so it's difficult to do that. As soon as we create an image of being a bad boy for confronting somebody else and as soon as something happens on the racetrack then we're all automatically assumed to be a bad boy."

DALE EARNHARDT USED TO GO TO THE HAULERS AND TALK TO DRIVERS "That was 10 years ago. That doesn't happen anymore. There are more cameras in the garage than racecars. It wasn't that way 10 years ago."

DOES IT SURPRISE YOU HOW MUCH ATTENTION YOU GOT FROM YOUR COMMENTS AT DAYTONA? "I'm not surprised by it. In one way I'm glad I got attention. On the other hand I'd rather it not have been made that made the attention known. That's the bottom line for me. I think everything came out good except the way the comments were presented to Jimmie Johnson in the media center. I don't think those were perfect. I didn't feel like and Jimmie didn't feel like he was presented a fair question. It wasn't apples for apples. We weren't there to defend ourselves. We would have been better up there wrestling about it rather than you guys ask us questions independently."

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY? "This racetrack because it has such long straightaways and relatively flat corners it takes a lot of everything. You've got to be damn good at every one of them. You've got to have a lot of horsepower and good balance in the corners to be able to use the horsepower. It might always come down to that (last pit stop)."

-dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Jimmie Johnson , Kyle Busch
Teams Team Penske