Fontana: Newman - Friday Dodge interview

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel/Samsung HDTV Dodge Charger) WHAT DOES YOUR WIFE THINK OF THE VICTORY AND ALL THE WORK THAT GOES WITH IT? "She traveled with me and we did all the things together. She's a trooper. She was definitely more emotional on...

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel/Samsung HDTV Dodge Charger)

WHAT DOES YOUR WIFE THINK OF THE VICTORY AND ALL THE WORK THAT GOES WITH IT? "She traveled with me and we did all the things together. She's a trooper. She was definitely more emotional on Sunday when I won the race than I was and my father was too. It was nice having her around. She had been gone. She had actually missed the shootout, which is the first race she's missed since we've been together. She was in Belize with her aunt celebrating her 40th birthday, lying in the sun, soaking up some heat. It was nice to have her there and nice to have her back. I'm just very grateful for her support. We got here at the track yesterday at about 10 a.m. and basically passed out. We woke up and went to dinner about 6 p.m. and then came back and went to bed about 9:30 p.m. and woke up at about 9 a.m., so it's been a lot of work."

HOW DO YOU THINK KURT BUSCH'S REPUTATION WILL BENEFIT AFTER DAYTONA? "I wouldn't always say he's had (a difficult) reputation with me. We basically have continued to do things that we've done in the past, going back to Talladega and our drafting experience. Going back to Daytona last year when we ran up in the top-five all day. Obviously his reputation with other drivers and sometimes with the media is different, but I respect Kurt as a teammate and as a person, and we've always had a great relationship on and off the race track. I take him for what he's worth to me and let everyone else deal with him the way they want to deal with them.

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE GOING ON THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW? "The hardest part for me was is to maintain a good conversation and keep looking at the cameras at the right time -- doing all those types of things so you look like you know what you're doing -- which is sometimes difficult. You do definitely learn when you go on the Letterman Show that they call it the 'Letterman Show' because it is his show -- he runs it. Similar, I've got a lot of experience with that in talking with Roger Penske and having conversations with him because (Roger) can have 10 different conversations in one sentence and at the end you're like 'what just happened'.

ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO GET BACK IN YOUR CAR? IS IT A SAFE HAVEN FOR YOU RIGHT NOW? "It was fun, but it was a lot of work. We left Connecticut at 5:30 a.m. for LA and it was non-stop being busyness -- that's the work part of it -- that's what we as driver's call work. The rest of it is coming into the garage and having fun and relaxing when you're sitting in the car. Obviously, it helps to have a good car.

"For me, it was my first time to have such a big honor -- as far as representing NASCAR and the 50th running of the Daytona 500, so it's something that I put a lot of emphasis on trying to a good job. Sometimes when we do things we act like we don't car -- and we don't -- but I definitely care."

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO GET BACK INTO VICTORY LANE , ESPECIALLY AT THE DAYTONA 500? "Let's just try and make a note -- that's the last time I'm going to try and do that. It was tough at times to fight through the winless steak. Last year when we were close so many times -- even if it was just three times -- some people don't even get a chance to win let alone end a winless streak. To do (win) it (Daytona 500) the way we do it was awesome. I look forward to keep the ball rolling -- taking all the positive energies from that 500 win on Sunday and spreading it out through the entire year. That's sounds easy to say, but it's hard to do."

WHEN YOUR ROUTINE GETS BROKEN LIKE IT DID THIS WEEK AFTER WINNING THE DAYTONA 500, DOES IT AFFECT YOU ANYWAY PHYSICALLY? "I knew on Sunday that I was catching a cold and I knew it was tough because I didn't say anything to anybody because that changes their attitude of 'the drivers sick' or 'or he's getting sick' or 'the car's loose' or 'he's complaining just because he doesn't feel good'. I never said the first thing but I knew as the week went on that it was getting worse and actually yesterday was the worst it was and today it's actually getting better. I sound a lot worse than I feel.

"The biggest things that I miss is just being home and seeing the dogs and spending time relaxing. We've got a brand new big house with a big ol' fireplace that we burn a lot of wood and listen to the wood cracking' sitting back watching TV -- that's a lot of fun for me -- at least when you can sit down and relax and do it. There's no specific thing that stands out that says 'man we have to adjust here or there'".

AT WHAT POINT IN THE DAYTONA 500 DID YOU FINALLY FEEL YOU COULD WIN THE RACE? "I knew at the half-way point when I pushed Kyle Busch into 2nd into the lead past Jeff Gordon at the half-way point that I knew I had a car that was capable. Everybody tries to be up front and when you're up front at the half-way usually it's a good sign that you have a capable piece and our Alltel Dodge Charger I thought was that. Down the backstretch when I saw Kurt (Busch) push me -- and when Tony (Stewart) pulled down that was the ultimate eye-opener for me. Obviously I've been in that position before and you never know until you cross the finish line."

IT LOOKED LIKE YOU HAD A CAR GOIND DOWN IN THE RACE. HOW CLOSE WERE YOU TO COMING IN? "The cars were a handful all day. I felt that I had a tire going down and got real loose two corners in a row and then in the third corner it kind of came back and it was fine. If it was off-set a half a lap, I might have come in. I went into Turns 1 and 2 and everything felt fine and I just rode it out."

IS THERE A CONCERN FOR A DAYTONA 500 HANGOVER? "Just do it. As a team you just have to do it and focus. When the car fires up for practice today - were not back to zero -- I don't think that we've accomplished zero - but we have to look at it that way as a team and take all the momentum mentally and harness it."

DO YOU EVER CATCH UP WITH THE TEXT MESSAGES AND EMAILS? "I got them all taken care of. Sunday night I had 92 text messages and my mailbox was full (I think it holds 15) and I had 63 emails and have had a bunch more that have trickle in since then. So I've had over 150 texts and 30-40 phone calls and probably 100 emails. That's all the friends that I've got."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kyle Busch