RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR WEEK AND THE TIRE TEST AT DARLINGTON? "The tire test I think went well. We purposely went back and had Goodyear build some different tires so that we could come back and have an...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger)
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR WEEK AND THE TIRE TEST AT DARLINGTON? "The tire test I think went well. We purposely went back and had Goodyear build some different tires so that we could come back and have an answer instead of guessing for an answer. I feel like we accomplished a lot of things in the essence that we feel like we have good speed, a good tire, and a safe tire. We did 40 laps on a set of tires and we didn't have any issues whatsoever. It's a tough situation to have a track that is fast as Darlington is now. It's so circular and to have a good tire, I feel like we've accomplished that. Goodyear has accomplished that. The cars are drivable. We choose a tire that is not the easiest to drive. The more grip you give it, the easier it is to drive. And the closer you come to the safety issues, so we chose a tire that makes it a little bit harder to drive, but still drivable and hopefully it will put on a good race for the fans."
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR OTHER DRIVERS TO COME TO DARLINGTON AND COMPLAIN TO YOU ABOUT THE TIRE? "They can scream all they want at me, it doesn't matter; I've got a really big head. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter. I feel that the situation is different comparing Atlanta to Darlington because Atlanta, the surface is old and there is a lot less grip in the surface with that old tire. When you go to Darlington, the surface has a lot of grip, so you have to build a tire that has less-grip. They did that, but it's still a grippier package then what we had at Atlanta. Feel wise, it's the not the same feel. It's a similar feel, but on a scale of 1 to 10 -- if Atlanta is a 10 for no grip - this is halfway back to a five (meaning Darlington). We actually tried some really hard tires, and they didn't feel good. It slowed the pace down to a point that no matter what, if we can make the cars feel better and not have tire issues, we're going to be better. So we put some grip back to it. We came back to the second test and it feels like a good package."
ANY TIRE CONCERNS GOING INTO TEXAS? "When we tested at Darlington, we actually tested the Texas tires there. Goodyear speculated that they might be able to run the Texas tire at Darlington. That didn't quite work out like they wanted to. The tire itself feels like a pretty good tire. Obviously, we didn't test it at Texas, but I don't think it will be like the situation in Atlanta. Again, the situation in Atlanta was a tire that didn't feel good, but it was safe. So they got one of the two things ideal."
DID YOU FIND A MIDDLE GROUND BETWEEN THE TIRES BEING TOO SOFT OR TOO HARD? "I feel like we did for Darlington. I feel like we've got a tire that is maybe adds more, it's maybe more designed from a safety standpoint to be a little bit more conservative knowing that we are going to be a little less grippy which feels a little more worse. I'd rather have that the first time. My opinion (and Greg Biffle's and Jeff Gordon's) was that we'd rather have that going into a race on a new race track then to be worrying about going back and going quicker because typically we go quicker when we come back to a track for a race then when we do at a test. It's errored to the conservative side but not to the extreme conservative side."
HOW MUCH DID THE DARLINGTON TRACK SLOW DOWN? "It probably slowed down little bit, but not much. I say that because we didn't run the same tires the second test as we did the first test. We ran 28.57 in testing the second time and the first test we ran a 28.04, but it was a different tire. It was definitely different. They did an excellent job with the track. It feels good. All the same things, the characteristics of the track are there with the exception of the bump and the grip throughout a run. They did an excellent job keeping the banking and the wall and the way you drive the track -- it's exact."
ARE YOU GETTING INTO A PART OF THE SCHEDULE THAT YOU LIKE? "My biggest thing is that I like being off the West Coast because it saves us a day each week and you can spend some more time at home. The West Coast string that we had this off-season and start of the season was just horrendous as far as testing was concerned. Between Phoenix and California and Las Vegas, it seemed like we were spending more time on the airplane then at the racetrack."
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES WITH ALL THE RE-STARTS AT MARTINSVILLE? "It's the whole track position game. The one thing about the re-starts and the magnified amount of cautions is the number of cars on the lead lap. It's a track where you can put quite a few cars down right away, but than you get the repetitive yellows, and yellows breed yellows. The next thing you know you have five-to-seven or eight cars on the lead lap than you had before. It changes your strategy because if you want to come in for tires, those who got the 'lucky dog' are probably going to stay out and it changes your strategy. You have to be aware of that more so here then at other race tracks."
-credit: dodge motorsports