RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) -- Pole winner's interview "We built a little drama after that first lap, but we got everything together for the second lap. We knew we had a fast car from practice, but from that you've got to back it up.
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) -- Pole winner's interview
"We built a little drama after that first lap, but we got everything together for the second lap. We knew we had a fast car from practice, but from that you've got to back it up. Qualifying was the time, and we were able to do it. It took an extra lap, but they give us two laps. We'll get the car to handle well, just like we did today. I messed up my first lap today, but you can't afford to mess up at all. With this racing surface, track position is critical. Once you get to the back, it's hard to work your way back up. We'll try to get a good driving racecar in Happy Hour tomorrow if Mother Nature allows us and get ready for Sunday."
COMMENT ON OFF WEEKEND
"We had a fan club day up at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday and had about 750 people out there. We had a good deal with ALLTEL and Sony and Dodge. We did some rides in a Viper around Michigan International Speedway, which was eventful and uneventful at the same time. My sister's newborn baby in April was baptized on Sunday, so we got to do a little bit of the family deal."
DID GOING OUT LAST IN QUALIFYING HELP?
"I don't think it really mattered. I knew going out first wasn't ideal. We went out first at Richmond and ended up qualifying second, and I knew it wasn't ideal there. It's the same type of situation here. You take the cards you're dealt and play 'em the best you can. Going out last didn't hurt us at all, but I don't think it was that big of a benefit."
WHAT DID YOU TELL JIMMIE JOHNSON?
"Without sounding too cocky, I just told him I was doing my best to get him back from Charlotte when he went out last and got us off the pole and we went out fairly early. The nice thing about that is it's nice to get you back after they've got you."
WHAT'S THE KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS AT NHIS?
"I'll say it this way. The biggest reason this place has grown on me is because of the SAFER barriers. I feel a lot better about having those SAFER barriers up there. It's not the most racy racetrack we come to all year, but I know Bob Bahre and the entire organization around here do the best they can and we end up having a good race. It's different than every other racetrack we go to, and that's all we can ask of it. I enjoy that part of it in building a Nextel Cup champion."
IS THERE CONSISTENCY TO THE TRACK NOW?
"I can only answer for the last three years. The surface has been changing because they've had to change the surface. For awhile the surface was ripping up, especially down in three and four. They've had to repave it and they've added some banking and the SAFER walls. Every time we've come back it's been a little different, but the walls are in the same place and all you can do is work with the grip that's in the racetrack. We bring different cars back and different engine packages and things like that, and I think that's the lesser of two evils. The walls and the track are pretty much the same."
WHY WERE YOU SURPRISED WHEN YOU GOT YOUR FIRST WIN HERE?
"In 2001 and 2002, I said the tracks I liked the least, and I never said I hated this racetrack. I said the tracks I liked the least were Martinsville and Loudon in that order. To get my first win here, it kinda opened my eyes. No. 1, we won on a track that we never really looked forward to coming to. We enjoy all of 'em, but we never looked forward to coming here like we did places like Charlotte, Michigan, Darlington and Atlanta. That was probably the astonishing thing on top of the fact we did it. We had struggled so many times and finished second so many times that year. To win one in the rain was really cool."
DO YOU THINKING TESTING HELPED HERE?
"Definitely, I think we learned a little about the tires and the tires and the track together. Any laps you get if you're a smart person or a smart team you take into your next event and that was the practice session this morning. We unloaded off the truck pretty good and made it better."