RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed how his car was running, turning his luck around, his take on the testing ban after five races in and much more. HOW'S YOUR CAR? "Today...
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed how his car was running, turning his luck around, his take on the testing ban after five races in and much more.
HOW'S YOUR CAR? "Today is really good. The U.S. Army Chevrolet was really good off the truck. We just kept freeing it up a little bit and got faster and faster. We had our quickest lap on the most laps of tires in race trim than anybody so feel very confident about that. In qualifying trim we were eighth so everything feels pretty good. We've just got to see what Mother Nature will do with our qualifying effort here and go from there."
WILL THAT HURT YOU THOUGH? "Based off of practice I rather qualify than go off points. If I was in Jeff Gordon's shoes it would be a little different even though he has a fast race car. We'll see what happens."
AFTER THE BAD LUCK YOU'VE HAD AT THE START OF THE SEASON DO YOU FEEL LIKE NOW YOU'VE FINALLY GOTTEN PAST THAT? "In all fairness our bad luck was really in Daytona. We had some bad luck after that. We had a windshield tear off I think it was in California or Vegas, we had some pit stop issues where we lost a lap under green two different times for loose wheels. That was really tough to deal with and that's self-inflicting. You can call it bad luck but that's self-inflicting. The guys have done a good job keeping their chins up and staying focused and doing their jobs and fixing the problems that we've had. We're going to have more problems but it's a matter of how we get through them and how they affect us. They've done a very good job of overcoming adversity there."
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT BEING PART OF THIS TEAM AT THIS STAGE? "The most rewarding part is just seeing it develop and watching everybody's smiles turn into grins and their grins turn into laughter and laughter turning into victory lane. We're not there yet but that's the ultimate goal and they've done a really good job taking a current organization and with all the people at Stewart-Haas now is making a difference and making the cars go faster and teams getting along and our relationship with Hendrick (Motorsports)."
IS IT DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE? "I wouldn't say it's different. It's just I really didn't know. It's one of those situations where you just kind of figure out what all is going to happen and who you talk to and how the communication is and the relationships. Who's got a chip on their shoulder and who doesn't you just never know but it's been great really."
NOW THAT YOU'RE FIVE RACES INTO THE SEASON AND YOU'VE RACED AT A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT TRACKS, WHAT'S YOUR OVERALL TAKE ON THE TESTING BAN? "The testing ban I thought was great. I don't think it's changed any of the outcome in any of the races anywhere anytime. It doesn't make any difference for the fans in my opinion with the exception of them getting to come to some of the tests that we had. We rather have them (the fans) here on race weekend to be part of what we do to put on the show. In the grand scheme of things I think it was a great move by NASCAR."
HOW'S THE SPONSORSHIP SEARCH COMING? "I'd say just like many people out there. The door is always open. People at Stewart-Haas Racing are working on other sponsors let's say for primary as well as associates. The U.S. Army is committed to their amount of races, I think it's 23. They've been great to work with. We have Haas Automation on the car as well but we're currently looking and working on other things as well."
ON HOW THE SURFACE AT TALLADEGA IS WEARING. "Well it's really smooth. Typically the fastest race car is out front. Its wide open and you have to have some teamwork to stay up front. It's totally different from Daytona. If you can take an aerial picture or photograph it looks exactly the same but it's really not even close."
YOU HAD SOME PRETTY STRONG COMMENTS ABOUT WHAT THE ALL-STAR WIN MEANT TO YOU, WHY IS THAT SO MEANINGFUL TO YOU? "We beat everybody on a given night in our backyard, not racing for points but racing for glory and money and it was a great win for us. We weren't even expected to be in the race. I mean we raced our way into the race and got the invert and walked away with it for a while there. It was a close finish at the end with (Dale) Earnhardt, Jr. It was just a great team victory and that's what we're here for as a team and as an organization is to put those events together and that always doesn't happen like that. In an all-star race it's that much more pride."
COULDN'T HELP BUT THINK OF YOU AT THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE COCA-COLA 600, YOU'VE DONE PRETTY WELL AT THE ANNIVERSARY RACES. "Yeah, the 50th running we've done pretty well at. Daytona was great and the Coca-Cola 600 would mean a ton especially since I've been close a couple of times there. We'll see what happens."
WINNING AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY WITH THE HISTORY THERE IS THAT SOMETHING YOU APPRECIATE? "Absolutely. It's Charlotte, its home field. There's no home field advantage but its home field. It's a place that we all try to shine. It's a very historic race track. There are a lot of great driver's that have won there. Joining that list is what we all search for."
DO YOU THINK THE PERCEPTION OUT THERE AMONG FANS AND EVEN THE MEDIA IS THAT THESE RACES ARE EASIER TO WIN THAN THEY ARE? "No, I don't think there is a perception of that. I think some of the perception is clouded by the guys that have become dominant. Last year we saw guys like Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson win at least seven races each I believe. I think some of that is clouded just a little bit but I don't think the media thinks it's easy to win a race, at least anybody who has been around the sport for a while."
DO YOU THINK PEOPLE REALLY APPRECIATE HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO BEAT 42 OTHER DRIVERS OUT THERE? "That's almost not a fair question because I can't appreciate how easy it is to write a good article. It's not my bag. The people that can come close to understanding that have more of an appreciation period."
DO YOU FIND RACES HARD TO WIN? "Races are not easy to win. The best way to tell it is I have a one in 43 chance each and every week."
WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST SURPRISING THING TO YOU ABOUT TONY (STEWART) THE CAR OWNER NOT THE DRIVER? "With all due respect he's a lot smarter than I thought he was. I knew he was intelligent as a race car driver but from a business standpoint, a people standpoint, not that I never gave him any credit I just didn't know how to give him credit. I'd give him a lot more credit because of the things I've seen him do with the people around him. That's probably the biggest thing."
-credit: gm racing