RYAN NEWMAN-12-ALLTEL Taurus (qualified 1st) "For me, it's a fun race track. It's really fast, it's got pretty good bankings, so the car sticks pretty good so you can just run the car really hard, and it's fun. We had a pretty good run today, in...
RYAN NEWMAN-12-ALLTEL Taurus (qualified 1st)
"For me, it's a fun race track. It's really fast, it's got pretty good bankings, so the car sticks pretty good so you can just run the car really hard, and it's fun. We had a pretty good run today, in practice as well as qualifying, obviously, but Nemechek looked like, for sure, the one to beat. He ran a .46, and backed it up with a .48 and that looked pretty tough, happy to get the run that we did. Just overall, it's been a good day so far."
ON HIS SUCCESS AT THIS TRACK.
"I guess different drivers have different styles, and this place, you kind of got to keep the speed up in the corners. There's an ideal way to drive a race track like this, as there is Charlotte, as there is Phoenix, as there is Loudon, and I think that I've adapted really well to that situation here."
IS IT ALL DRIVING STYLE HERE AND AT CHARLOTTE, WHERE YOU RUN WELL, OR THE ENGINEERING YOU AND YOUR CREW CHIEF DO, IS THAT SOME SORT OF AN EDGE?
"Like any other day and any other weekend, it's all about everything. There's not one specific thing that ever sticks out. There's a whole bunch of things, and they only stick out so far and you've got to pick the ones that are the most important and go with 'em. Whether it's Charlotte or Chicago or Talladega, it doesn't really matter, there's a certain equation that fits to make the performance ideal. And whoever gets closest to that either in qualifying or the race can be the fastest one."
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE GOING TO COME OVER FROM SOUTH BEND THIS WEEKEND?
"Hopefully, there's quite a few. It's really the closest race track that we race at, to my home, and that's cool. But it's still a race track and we're still here trying to do the same job we tried to do last weekend."
ON THIS BEING A NEW RACE TRACK.
"I'd say there might be a small part of that, but I think overall, whether it's Bobby Labonte or Rusty Wallace or Jimmie Johnson, we've all got so many laps, you know, we've all been able to adapt to different situations. Just say, for instance, Rusty, he's only raced here once, but he's gone to different tracks throughout his career and debuted and had his inaugural race, and whether he did good or bad, he knows how to approach a new race track maybe a little different than I do. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but there's just different approaches, I guess."
YOU'VE BEEN CLOSE TO WINNING. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS WEEKEND, AND THE NEXT FEW WEEKENDS?
"I look forward to them all. I mean, there's no one race track I can say that I hate. Every race track we've been to we've been pretty successful at. Our biggest struggle all year has been at the Coke 600, we just missed the handle at the start of the race and ended up blowing the motor, but every place we've been to we've been running in the top 10, whether we finish there or we blow up, it's been one of the two. I think our worst finish without any accidents has been a 14th, and that's pretty good. It's not like saying we finished 22nd because we missed the handle that day. We've been running up front, we just haven't had the overall success. We've had fuel pumps take us out, oil pump belt take us out, things like that just, they're freak. I look forward to every race track, to answer your question."
HALFWAY THROUGH THE SEASON, DO YOU STILL THINK OF YOURSELF AS A ROOKIE?
"I don't know. That's kind of a Catch-22. I've been a rookie about five or six times in my entire life, so I mean it's different in different series' and different places. I guess you can look at it two different ways: You're a rookie for a year, but you're always going to learn as long as you're alive, and that could be considered a rookie, too. So, we're new at everything, everything is different each day, and whether it's at the race track or in life in general, we'll just have to see how things go."