RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 1st) HOW DID PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING GO? "The car was good from the minute we unloaded it out of the truck. The first laps just felt pretty good and we just kept whittling on it all day and it kept...
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 1st)
HOW DID PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING GO?
"The car was good from the minute we unloaded it out of the truck. The first laps just felt pretty good and we just kept whittling on it all day and it kept getting a little bit faster and faster each time. The track got faster there for a while and then the track started to slow up a little bit with the sun beating down on it, but, overall, all day it was a fast race car. We were actually fast on old tires and new tires, which doesn't necessarily say a whole lot because the tire is pretty durable, but it was just a good qualifying lap. I missed it a little bit on the first one and just had to slow down a little bit. The tires came in a little bit better for the second lap and it just took what it had. It felt really good. Overall, it was a great effort for the whole team. To be the third pole this year is important for me as a driver. It's something else we can win is the most poles and that puts us a little closer to having a shot of doing that. I guess that's not bad for being a Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender."
WHICH SETUP DID YOU USE TODAY AND HOW DO YOU AND RUSTY COMPARE?
"We basically all know what our setup is. It's something we kind of derive from the previous qualifying effort this year. We take into consideration some other race tracks too, as well as what Rusty runs and what Rusty has run, so it's a combination of things that put it all together into one package. Overall, all it takes is one little pound of air-pressure or one little change in a shock or spring to have an effect on what I do in one corner of the race car and have it effect it a different way at a different point in the race car. There are so many variables that it's tough. There's really no way you can run the exact same setup from one car to another, from driver to driver. Number one, the drivers drive differently and feel things differently and, number two, the cars are always gonna be just a little bit different."
HOW DIFFERENT WAS THIS RUN FROM JULY?
"Basically, it was the same line. The track is in pretty good shape as of right now. I lost the pole by a pretty big margin. I was ahead going into three and four in the spring race here and then I lost it coming off of four and that's something you always remember. I wanted to make sure I had a good corner this time, but we were fastest on our first lap there when the tires hadn't come in yet. Overall, I ran the same line, it's just a matter of how good you can get the car to hook up."
DID YOU EXPECT A TRACK RECORD AFTER THE TRACK PROBLEMS FROM THE JULY RACE?
"It's kind of a catch-22 because it all depends on how the weather and everything else is. I think the weather was a pretty big advantage and I think the track being a little bit cured is a small advantage because it didn't seem to be quite as greasy from the second we unloaded. There are so many different variables. It's a different race car from what we had here the first race. You try to make things a little bit better each time. I think the pole for the spring race was a .96 and that's what our first lap was and then I busted off that .80."
WHAT CHANGES DID YOU MAKE?
"The biggest thing was really the car. The car is totally different. We came back with a little bit different setup with springs and shocks and stuff, but overall there's no huge difference. All of those things can be compensated by missing the line by just two inches on entry sometimes, so everything just clicked today for us so far."
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH CAR TO BRING?
"You build specific cars for specific tracks based on the bankings of the tracks and how much speed you carry. Those are the biggest things. You try to bring a light race car and a car that has good downforce. It shouldn't be any different because you try to do all of them with the best downforce, but you base it off what you've had good experience with at different tracks. We had this car at Richmond the first race and Martinsville, so it's a pretty good flat track car and this is a pretty flat race track."
HOW MEANINGFUL IS IT TO TAKE THE TRACK RECORD FROM YOUR TEAMMATE?
"It's meaningful and you like getting the track record, but you don't want to take it from your teammate. At the same time, it stays within the team so it's a catch-22 in two different directions. It's something to be proud of. To me, Rusty is a friend and a teammate, but he's another competitor too, so you've got to look at it two different ways." WHAT DID HE SAY TO YOU? "He told me to go out and put one on 'em, but I don't think he wanted me to put one on 'em like that. I talked to him after he had his run because we had some time from when he went out 26th and me 42nd. I was able to talk to him to see how the track was and he said it was pretty good for him and the same as it had been in practice. I just went out and did what I did and he was right."
SUN AND CLOUDS A DIFFERENCE?
"He had sun, I'm pretty sure, and I just started to get the clouds. I think the sun was popping in and out. I think it helped a little bit, but I don't think it was huge."
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR SEASON?
"It's been pretty good so far. From unloading out of the box at Daytona, we struggled in qualifying and struggled in the 125, but then we raced seventh and that was important for us. All throughout the year we've had a lot of top 10 and top five runs and that's important, but we've had some other failures too. I popped a hole in the radiator at Martinsville and we had some engine failures, but, overall, it's been great. It's been a great experience for me both on and off the race track and just learning the people, the places and the events that go along with it has been a lot of fun too."