Ford Racing Kmart 400 June 10, 2001 Michigan International Speedway RYAN NEWMAN --02-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 5th) "We got lucky there with the yellow. We were just getting ready to come down the pit lane and I saw the yellow light pop on...
June 10, 2001
Michigan International Speedway
RYAN NEWMAN --02-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 5th)
"We got lucky there with the yellow. We were just getting ready to come down the pit lane and I saw the yellow light pop on and we stayed out. It was just a lot of good hard work by the team and a little bit of luck too. Jeff, obviously, had a strong car all day and my hat's off to his team."
WHAT ABOUT THE RACING THE LAST 20 LAPS?
"Oh, that's just good, hard racing here at a nice race track like Michigan. Roger Penske knew what he was doing when he built this one."
YOU CAME ON STRONG LATE.
"The two sets of tires we had there at the end were really good. It balanced the car out real nice and we didn't have to do much changing there at the end. Some days you're good like that and some days you struggle to find that."
WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE?
"It's a lot for my confidence, but it's big for the team too. We're a new team that's been put together by Don Miller and Roger Penske and ALLTEL and this gives us a lot of confidence to go into the next race."
DOES THIS BACK UP YOUR CHARLOTTE EFFORT?
"Yeah. This is the same race car we had at Charlotte, so it tells you what the potential was at that race track had I not screwed up. This was just a good run."
"It was just a great opportunity a few times on a couple of yellow flags to be able to stay on the lead lap number one, and be able to come in and adjust on the race car at the same time. Jeff Gordon obviously had a strong race car today. He led a lot of laps, I believe, I don't know, but it was a great run for the ALLTEL Ford. To qualify 12th and finish fifth in our fourth Winston Cup race, it's a victory to our team in some ways."
WHAT ABOUT RUNNING UP FRONT IN THE TOP FIVE.
"It was unfortunate that Rusty had the bad luck that he did. I think we could have all been in the top five, but Jeremy had a great race car and to be able to run up front with Winston Cup champions past and present and winners from this year is exciting for me."
WERE YOU EXTRA CAUTIOUS NOT TO MAKE A MISTAKE AT THE END?
"Well, sometimes you think about doing that but the best thing is to just go off your instincts. I've been racing for 19 years and I've got a lot of instinct when it comes to passing cars and working the track. Obviously, you don't want to get up and rub up against somebody because usually it slows you down and makes the other guy mad. Just to be able to go out and run hard and be close like we are is just a total blast for me."
DO YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO PICK AND CHOOSE YOUR SPOTS AT THIS LEVEL IN A LONG RACE?
"I think today was a classic example of just staying patient and run 370 miles and just be able the last 30 laps do the 30-lap sprint that I'm so used to from open-wheel racing. We got a couple of yellows in there and I've run in races like that at IRP, where we'll have 12-lap sprints and 12-lap sprints and then eight laps to go for the feature. It was kind of similar to that, but it was a lot of patience today just to be able to stay on the lead lap and not abuse the race car or the tires and try to stay out of other people's way. They're out there racing for championships and we're trying to get experience."
WHAT ABOUT THE LAST LAP?
"I believe we came down to the start-finish line for the white flag side-by-side with Blaney and raced through one and two side-by-side with him. I've gotta thank Hut Stricklin, he gave me a pretty good shove down the back straightaway in order to push out ahead of Blaney there in turn three and that pretty much decided us getting the position we did. I don't remember if it was Blaney or who it was next to me at the start-finish line, but it was a really close finish. I got to use the draft a little bit to -- him catch up with me and then I pulled off of him just to try to stay ahead of him for the line."
DID YOU TOUCH?
"I don't think so, no. We came close a couple of times. He came real close, I think there was two to go, when I got on the inside of him off of turn two. We all got a pretty good aero push coming up off of two on a restart and there were three cars in a row that had to really get out of the throttle. Dave got out the most and I got on the inside of him and that allowed me to get a good run on him there."