Ryan Newman, ALLTEL Ford, was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race. "It's not bad, two Penske Fords in the top-five. Overall, it was a great team effort: great pit stops, great strategy. We had to take four tires there at the end. We had a shaker...
Ryan Newman, ALLTEL Ford, was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race.
"It's not bad, two Penske Fords in the top-five. Overall, it was a great team effort: great pit stops, great strategy. We had to take four tires there at the end. We had a shaker and didn't know which tire it was. I think if two tires could have been taken we would have had a better shot at the win. A great run for the Alltel Ford and I want to thank all the fans for coming out. It's my first Winston Cup race here. Hopefully the second one will be better. It was a good run to get a top five from where we started. The car was really great all day but track position is so much of a factor. Getting involved in (Dave) Blaney's spin there, trying to figure out where he was going to go, was probably the toughest part of our day. Overall it was a good run for the Alltel Ford and the guys did a great job, great pit stops and a great team effort. That will get you a top-five and it showed today."
DID YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH THE TRACK?
"Three and four got pretty bad right in the middle. I kept losing the nose. If I was tight I lost the nose and if I was loose I got looser. It's a shame that it had to do that. It doesn't look good for NASCAR and everybody else but everybody had to deal with it and we had a good race throughout. The fans got to see some pretty good racing, I believe. Hopefully everybody was happy."
HOW DID YOU STAY OUT OF TROUBLE AND PASS AS MANY CARS AS YOU DID?
"You just had to be in the right spot at the right time and hope for somebody to make a mistake and be able to take advantage of it. Every once in a while you got to use your chrome horn but you don't want to if you don't have to."
DID YOU HAVE TO DRIVE EASY THOUGH THE CORNERS TO TRY TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE?
"It was a little bit of both, depending on what was going on and who was going on around you. The restarts were kind of tricky getting down into one on the cool tires that were all full of marbles. I guess everybody got through that all right."
COULD YOU USE THE BOTTOM GROOVE HERE TODAY?
"You could use it a little bit but it wasn't the ideal groove, that's for sure."
TALK ABOUT THE CONSISTENCY YOUR TEAM HAS HAD RECENTLY FINISHING RACES.
"If they don't break we've been finishing, that's pretty much the story. We've crashed a couple of times but the mechanical failures were what were getting there for a while. I screwed up at Martinsville and got myself in a bad position there at Daytona. Overall, we've had awesome racecars all year and that's about all I can ask for as a driver."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE MECHANICALLY FOUND A GROOVE AS A TEAM WHERE YOU CAN CRANK OUT TOP-FIVE AND TOP-10 FINISHES CONSISTENTLY?
"Not the way this works. You can feel that way but something else can come up and bit you again. As long as we keep trying our hardest and giving it all we got that's all we can do whether we finish or not finish or have a win. That's to be determined."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, LOWE'S CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH. JOHNSON UNOFFICIALLY LEADS NEWMAN BY 21 POINTS (275-254) IN THE RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE STANDINGS.
"Track position was important like always. Early the racetrack started tearing up so it really eliminated any type of good racing in three and four. It was more positioning yourself. Put yourself on good asphalt and position who you are racing on bad asphalt. It was a wild day. It's just hard for these big heavy cars to race here, especially when the asphalt is coming up. For how rough of a day we had to finish 15th, to finish around all the guys racing for the championship and beating quite a few of them pretty well, I guess it was a good day for the big picture."
IT SEEMED LIKE YOU PLAYED CATCH-UP ALL DAY.
"Our philosophy is to race with the leaders. We didn't want to try two tires. We didn't want to stay out. We did one time by accident because we were walking on top of one another when we were going to pit and that cost us some positions at the end."
IT LOOKED LIKE YOU HAD A CLEAN DAY. HOW DID YOU STAY OUT OF TROUBLE?
"I was lucky, dodged a lot of stuff. There's a lot of people running into one another and I had a couple of incidents out there where I had some bumping and banging. I didn't want to upset anybody and have any paybacks coming."
ANYTHING YOU CAN TAKE FROM THIS RACE THAT WILL HELP YOU WHEN YOU COME BACK HERE LATER THIS YEAR?
"I'll be a better driver when I get back here. It's hard to analyze now; there's just too much going on out there."