RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) Note: Ryan Newman earned his seventh Bud pole of the season with a track record lap of 28.561-sec. lap (133.357 mph). He broke the record that he set in Sept. of 2002 (28.802 sec., 132.241...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
Note: Ryan Newman earned his seventh Bud pole of the season with a track record lap of 28.561-sec. lap (133.357 mph). He broke the record that he set in Sept. of 2002 (28.802 sec., 132.241 mph).
"Well, we had the track record last year. We came back and the track just wasn't fast enough to break it. The guys at Penske Racing did an awesome job with this ALLTEL/Mobile 1 Dodge, and we'll just take it from there. We'll have to make it as good as we can for the race this weekend. (Since last year) I've definitely learned a lot, especially since our first win. I'd say I've learned as much as these guys on the team, and that makes a big difference this year. It's not about the track being good to me, it's about doing good on the track. The guys have done a great job, unloading as fast as we did and having good racecars. That's a good start, but these guys make the difference. We're just trying to hang on to it, and do the best we can."
"We had a really good Dodge since we unloaded off the truck. My first qualifying lap I didn't feel like it was as good as it should have been. To run that second lap after dropping off on my first lap I realized I had left a little bit on the table, so I was a little bit worried. That's about it. The balance of our Dodge was really awesome. I was a little bit worried in practice with (Earnhardt) Jr. running a .73-sec. lap. It seemed like everyone else was stuck in that next second bracket. We were a little worried there for awhile, but then we finally got our dialed in. We were able to almost duplicate our practice speed in qualifying.
"This is definitely a good track to be on the pole from the track position standpoint as well as pit selection. You know, at places like Michigan it's a little bit easier to pass on. You can go three or four-wide through the corners and draft down the straight-aways. It's not as important there, but it's always important to qualify out front. We continue to stress our Fridays on qualifying and then work the rest of the week on race trim. It's definitely a benefit to be able to start up front, there's no doubt.
"It means a lot to the entire team. To me, it's another dot on the resume. I just go out and do the best job I can, and where we end up is where we end up. I know the team does the best job that they can, and together we were able to put it on the pole.
"I guess the only thing disappointing about that first win was that it was shortened by rain. But at the same time it doesn't matter. We got the checkered flag when it counted. If we can come back here and lead the most laps and win on Sunday, that's great. We'll just take that going into next week. One lap, one second, one day or one hour at a time or whatever, that's how we approach what we do.
"If a guy goes out there and says that I've got the best equipment, then we might not have the best horsepower or we might be lacking a little bit in downforce, you're already selling yourself short. I truly feel that we have the best of everything. We go out there and we try to the best at everything we do. I've always said that I enjoy qualifying - that I get to go out there and attack the racetrack one-on-one. It's me versus the racetrack, and I don't have to worry about anything else there.
"I just go out there and do the best that I can. We've definitely experienced some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows this year. No matter what you look at in life, whether it's the stock market, the temperature, your race career or your relationship with your significant other, it all goes up and down. You just try to maximize the good part of it and minimize the bad part.
"We don't race any harder because of the SAFER walls, and we don't take any more changes because of them. I don't try to avoid the wall unless I'm in the position where I know I'm going to hit it. Then I do the best that I can to try and hit it the safest way I can. I can go back and tell you from Daytona, when I was crashing there this year, from the time that I got hit until I hit the wall I never let off the gas purposely because I didn't want to either nose-in or go left-side into the wall. I wanted to hit it with my right side. From a driver's standpoint you go out there and do the best you can each lap, and when you've got that 911 and you know you're going to hit the wall you just ride it out. It's just like any car accident, if you know it's coming you just try to brace yourself and go.
"I think there's definitely a possibility of seeing the best race we've seen at New Hampshire tomorrow - at least in the last three years. I can't speak much from before that. I think the race-ability of this track has gotten better. Even with getting a little more age on it the track will widen out. I will say that the one thing we need to be careful of, and I hope NASCAR takes note of it, is that the track usually does build up a lot of marbles on the high side. Whatever we can do to keep those marbles down will give us the opportunity to keep racing up farther and farther. The guy that goes out there the first time and steps his right-front tire into the marbles is going to wish that he didn't. The track is flat enough that they just kind of lay there. They don't blow up because we're not carrying enough speed into the corner, and it doesn't have enough banking to allow the stuff to roll down. It's just something that's just a character of this racetrack."