Homestead: Newman qualifying press conference

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) -- Qualified Third "Our ALLTEL Dodge was top five in practice and top five again. We just didn't pick up enough. I thought in practice we were capable of running a .17 and we ran a .15 in qualifying. It just ...

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) -- Qualified Third

"Our ALLTEL Dodge was top five in practice and top five again. We just didn't pick up enough. I thought in practice we were capable of running a .17 and we ran a .15 in qualifying. It just wasn't quite enough. That's the only goal we have. We'll try to win the race. If we can't, we'll try to get a top five and if we can't do that we'll try for a top 10. To win is the ultimate goal. This is the same car we had at Atlanta and it's capable of winning.

"We didn't end up on our lid at any point this year, but we've had a lot of goofy things happen to us. We were going for second at Charlotte and had a wreck in front of us. We had a shot at the win and ended up 17th. That hurt us in the last 10 races. We've had some crazy things happen to us this year. We struggled for a part of this year, maybe the second third of the season. The final third of the season has been great, maybe the last half of the season has been great as far as performance and running good. We just don't have the numbers and results we need.

"(This season) was not as successful as it could have been or should have been. When you win nine poles and two races, some people struggle to get a pole or a win, so you have to consider it successful. Compared to last year, it's not as successful as we wanted it to be.

"There's not one single thing. We struggled a little bit adapting to the new tires and performance overall and I guess a little catch up from the racecar standpoint and engine and bodies and things like that. We've had some goofy things happen to us. To start the second Michigan race, we ran over a valve cap on pit road before the green flag ever dropped. When things like that happen it makes you scratch your head.

"I might put myself on the line but I don't think it (new qualifying procedure) is going to affect qualifying at all. The cars that qualify well will still qualify well for obvious reasons. Some guys can qualify well and some can't. Some teams can put a qualifying package together and some can't. We can still work with tire pressures and things like that, at least to my knowledge, and that's one of the biggest things that change from qualifying to the race. We'll just have to see. We'll cope with it.

"Kurt will have an opportunity to get five points for leading a lap and potentially 10 points. Gordon qualified well and Johnson struggled, so he's got his work cut out for him. I guess you can't forget about Mark and Dale, but I think the championship is going to come down to those three guys. (Busch, Johnson and Gordon)."

-dodge motorsports-

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Series NASCAR Cup