RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus "As soon as it cools down, no matter what, if the sun goes in behind the clouds or whatever it is, when we had all the things happen the way they did today, I think it went from probably 60-65 degrees to where it...
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus
"As soon as it cools down, no matter what, if the sun goes in behind the clouds or whatever it is, when we had all the things happen the way they did today, I think it went from probably 60-65 degrees to where it felt like 45. So, it was a pretty drastic change. It just makes the whole performance of the car better, but, at the same time, from a driver's perspective, you have to attack the race track differently because you're going in the corner faster and you have more downforce. It just changes the way everything happens and your timing can be just a little off. You have to just kind of re-program your computer and go back and think about what you need to do to capitalize on the conditions."
DID THE YOUNG GUYS HANDLE IT BETTER THAN THE VETERANS TODAY? "It appears that way just looking at the scoring pylon, but it's different for everybody. The change was the same for everybody, but the way we adapted to it is different sometimes. Conditions like this might take a different kind of driving style, whereas a hot, sunny day may be totally different as far as the way you drive the car. Some drivers are less apt to change their driving style."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR LAP AND THE POLE? "Obviously, it was good lap. We knew we had a good race car. It's the same race car that we tested here in January and it's also the same race car that we crashed in happy hour at Darlington, so it's been fixed. Sometimes you never want to bring a broken race car back, but this was a really good run for us. The conditions of the race track and the weather had a big effect on how we approached the race track. It was the same for everybody, but some people adapt differently to those conditions."
WHY DO YOU FEEL YOU ADAPT WELL TO THESE TRACKS? "I don't know. I like these race tracks. I think we've got a good car, vehicle package for these types of tracks. We're making pretty good horsepower and pretty good downforce. You go to a place like Martinsville and Richmond and some of those things do have as big of an effect. On top of the fact I like these race tracks, I know Rusty enjoys Michigan and Jeremy has done well at Michigan before too." HOW FAR ARE YOU FROM YOUR FIRST WIN? "The way we've been running I don't think it's far away. I've felt that for a while. I've felt that since Kansas last year. We've been running up front the last three or four or five races and we've had some mechanical failures and we've had some driver errors. I guess all the thing that are supposed to happen sometimes in a rookie season, so we're just trying to do the best we can to minimize those and, hopefully, we can just have a good day on Sunday. We don't need to win to have a good day."
IS THIS A GOOD TRACK FOR YOU OR JIMMIE JOHNSON TO WIN ON SUNDAY? "I think what's behind what you said is that aerodynamics is so important here and horsepower is so important here. Those things don't typically change from Friday to Sunday. The springs and shocks and everything else, they change. If you have a good baseline to start from, I think you have a car that's really capable of doing well on Sunday if you qualify well."
IS THIS A GOOD WEEK? "I hope so, it's started off pretty good. Jimmy's had a good weekend so far too, so, hopefully, both of us can have fun."
DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE ROOKIE RACE? "I pay attention to everything. It's important to know who your competitors are and Jimmie is somewhat of a different competitor to us because of the Raybestos Rookie of the Year campaign, but I don't treat him any differently on race day as I would any other driver. But, at the same time, we're running a separate race ourselves. It's kind of like who wins the bicycle portion of a marathon."
WILL YOU BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT WHAT GEAR YOU USE HERE? "No matter where we're at, whether it's a big speedway like this or a place like Martinsville where we really zing the motors, we're always cautions. But, yeah, gear selection is gonna be very important. Another thing to consider here come race day is the draft. You could be behind a couple cars running two or three wide and pick up another 200 or 300 RPM. You run these cars so close to the limit that you could very easily go over that limit. There are so many factors you have to take into consideration as far as the gear in the car."
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE STARTING THE RACE FIRST AS OPPOSED TO SOMEWHERE ELSE? "Talking about the pole, my first pole at Charlotte I didn't really expect it. I knew we had a good race car, but I wasn't expecting to be competitive for the pole. Here, I knew we had a really good race car and we were capable of it as we have been other times this year. I guess I was a little optimistic about today's run because we've been so close so many times this year. It's good for the team. Like I say, we've struggled the last three or four weeks as far as our results on Sunday and this kind of helps pick their chins up to carry it into Sunday. It's not just me, it's something the whole team feels. We're excited because we beat everybody today. Like I said earlier, this place is the type that if you do well on Friday, you do well on Sunday, so, hopefully, we can continue that type of history."