Michigan: Race winner press conference

Newman wins at Michigan RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) Scores first victory of 2004, 10th career and second Dodge win in 2004 "We got some paper or trash on the grille, and it got really hot motorwise. We played the safe card coming in ...

Newman wins at Michigan

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) Scores first victory of 2004, 10th career and second Dodge win in 2004

"We got some paper or trash on the grille, and it got really hot motorwise. We played the safe card coming in hoping it would go green and cycle out. It did, but we were the car getting ready to pass the car that got the Lucky Dog so it put us a lap down and we had to fight for the next caution to be at the right place at the right time again. Luckily we were. The ALLTEL Dodge was fast all day. We struggled through the first couple of runs just with balance. We weren't the fastest car, but there at the end the car was awesome. It's certainly good to come to a racetrack where you can pass and race."

YOU HAD EIGHT WINS LAST SEASON. DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THAT REPEAT?

"Absolutely. No, I don't have a clue. All we can do is try. That's what we've been doing all year. Today it worked out right for us. We just do the best we can. Some days it works and some days it doesn't."

WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT KASEY IN THE CLOSING LAPS?

"I slipped pretty bad coming off of turn two, in the middle of two. I don't know if it was oil or I just hit something or what, but it got really, really loose and had to check up. They said Kasey gained three car lengths on me in the back straightaway. I knew we had a pretty good advantage and we had a pretty fast car and the car felt really good and it was balanced. I really don't think he had a shot at all, but obviously he was closing in pretty quick."

COMMENT ON THE RESTARTS

"At some point in the race when I get a good feel for what the car is like in dirty air and clean air, just to know balance wise if there's going to be big changes. Ours was a little different, but it also gave us an opportunity to see what we had to do and track position wise how to work our way forward and work our way forward not backward. Restarts were big. I passed three cars in one and two on the high side. He was one of them, but that helped a lot to be able to get up to clean air and make some passes and go forward."

COMMENT ON LAST CAUTION

"If I remember right I was on the back straightaway and I saw somebody turn sideways before we got the white flag lap, and I said, 'that's it right there.' They said there was smoke on the backstretch but there was no caution. That would have been nice. Then we went around again and that's when I slipped. When I got into turn three that's when they said caution is out. I knew at that point it was locked in. I don't think so unless there was oil on the track like I think there might have been in turn two. I'm not sure exactly what happened down there, but I hit something and got sideways."

"I knew he had a fast car because I was chasing him on that restart before hand when he was working over the 40. I knew he (88) had a fast car, and that restart gave me a good chance to get in front of him.

"Not super concerned. We've had some great runs and my mistakes have killed them. The deal at Dover, spinning out on pit lane, hitting the cone at Darlington. We had a car capable of winning at Atlanta. We stayed out long to see if we could get a caution and basically put everybody a lap down. Each lap at Atlanta is a second a lap when you're on old tires versus new tires. I think Junior won with a four or five-second advantage, and I think that's the difference with what we were, so we've played it safe getting top fives in certain instances. We've had some mistakes with the package we had at Vegas. It was anything but fast, but we've learned since then and tried to make corrections. Here's a new race car and we were fast out of the box and great today.

"It's definitely not what you want to see happening, but you've got to have confidence in yourself and your team to be able to fight back. Nobody said one thing about this is it. This is the end of the day. We had a fast enough car that we could work our way through, and this is a track where you can do some racing.

"I don't know what happened to him (Rusty Wallace). I saw some smoke off the exhaust. I definitely had some concerns, but there was nothing I could do about it then. I just kept peddling.

"I don't think we're the strongest on horsepower like Penske has been in the past. We made it to the end today, and we had enough horsepower to be unchallenged on the straightaways. It wasn't like cars were passing us. I'm not over excited about the counts of horsepower we have right now, but they've been working on it. They've been working on it. It will get better and at some point we will be the best again."

"I had to fight back. I want to thank everybody for coming out. The fathers bringing their families out for Father's Day was awesome. I'm happy to get the ALLTEL Dodge in victory lane. We had to fight hard for it. Obviously we had a good race car. A caution usually makes for an exciting situation sometimes. Having the tires being able to cool off evened things out a little bit for the restart."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace