Michigan II: Newman - Friday media visit

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media and discussed importance of a college degree, racing at MIS, focus prior to start of the Chase, driver fitness and other topics. DO YOUNG DRIVERS ASK YOU IF THEY SHOULD GO TO COLLEGE WHILE...

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media and discussed importance of a college degree, racing at MIS, focus prior to start of the Chase, driver fitness and other topics.

DO YOUNG DRIVERS ASK YOU IF THEY SHOULD GO TO COLLEGE WHILE PURSUING A RACING CAREER? "The cool part is I don't get the question, I get the statement. Basically it's, 'I'm doing what you did', not 'I'm thinking about it or should I do it?' It's 'I'm doing it.' That's the next step above what you're talking about or your question. That to me means a lot because if we're using what I did, as far as going to college, whether it was Perdue or not, I get a lot of 'my daughter or my son is going to Perdue and my son wants to be an engineer'. I get a lot of that stuff. They have that sense of connection because of where I went (to college), and not necessarily who I am and what I do.

"I think there are younger drivers for sure, who are putting a little more emphasis on it than they did 10 years ago. Why? Just for the concept that an education is a good thing. For a long time people thought there was no time to go to college and no time to get that education when you're in your prime as far as being 18 years old and having the opportunity to go NASCAR racing or racing in general. So, I guess maybe in a roundabout way, me and a few other drivers have proved that you can do it and be successful at this level."

JEFF GORDON TOOK A HARD HIT AT THE GLEN LAST WEEK THAT AFFECTED HIS BACK. HOW MUCH WEAR AND TEAR DOES THIS SPORT PUT ON YOUR BODY? DO YOU FEEL DIFFERENTLY THE LAST THIRD OF THE SEASON THAN YOU DO IN THE FIRST? WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY? "I don't do anything specific to keep myself healthy other than I'm a tight person so I get a massage every once in a while and loosen up and stretch out. I was moving trees yesterday, so my back's in pretty good shape. Some people have got to do different things. If you start a 1,000 mile trip with a tire that's a little bit low, by the time you get there it's either going to be out of shape or blown out. If you start the season with a little bit of an issue, by the time you get to the end of the season it's going to be worse. It doesn't typically get better because it is pretty grueling what we do, physically inside the race car and different race tracks and obviously the big shots, like the one he (Gordon) took. So, we're kind of tired of hearing about his back, but I'm trying to answer your question at the same time."

CAN YOU ASSESS WHERE YOUR TEAM IS WITH JUST A HANDFUL OF RACING GOING INTO THE CHASE? IS THERE ANYWAY YOU GUYS CAN PREPARE FOR THE CHASE RACES OR ARE YOU FOCUSED ON WHAT IS IMMEDIATELY AHEAD OF YOU? "We're focused on what is ahead of us today, tomorrow and the next four weeks. That is the most important thing at this point. We have to put ourselves in that position. Tony Stewart is in a whole different situation. He is virtually locked in after the start of this race on Sunday. So he can be thinking about different things in respect to the Chase. We're thinking about them but we have to focus on these next four races and that's really no different than any other race. It is just nice to be able to put some of your focus and some of your effort in to those last 10 races.

"I don't think it puts us at a disadvantage. I mean you can learn something because you are so focused on those next four races that can carry you through those 10 races. There is different ways to look at it. It is more a situation that is kind of like you have a big lead in a football game and you throw in the second string. It is not like we have a second string, but the guys float a little bit and relax a little bit more. When I say the guys, I mean the No. 14 guys versus the No. 39 guys."

WITH YOUR TEAMS AFFILIATION WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, HOW DOES THE STATMENT THAT JIMMIE JOHNSON MADE EARLIER TODAY THAT NO ONE CAN BEAT HMS AFFECT SHR? "I think, to answer your question, we're considered a part of HMS. I mean, it is a satellite operation but what we do, a lot of our program, is designed off of what Hendrick Motorsports does and obviously we have an alliance with them. So, I consider us a part of the HMS team and aside from the name Stewart-Haas Racing, our work structure is based a lot around Hendrick Motorsports. It is nice to have that. I agree with Jimmie (Johnson), that is why I am happy where I am and partially made the decision to move to where I am was because of that alliance and what we have as far as an opportunity to work to work for the future."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE PLAYING OFFENSE THE NEXT FOUR RACES OR DEFENSE? IS IT IMPORTANT TO WIN A RACE BETWEEN NOW AND RICHMOND? "There really is no defense in racing. We talk about it, what you can do. I guess your defense is to not make too big of a risk on offense. That is more self-induced than anything. It is all about getting the job done. If we get those finishes, top-five finishes, in the next four races, then it is a shoe-in, but that's easier said than done. I don't think you can find offense or defense in the midst of those four races. I have stated in the past, you have one eye looking out the front windshield and one eye in the mirror. That is more so on the race track than it is in the garage. I think it is kind of business as usual, it is just now crunch time. Now we have to get the job done. We are in a good position as I have said before but it's not the best position and we can improve on that."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing , Hendrick Motorsports