Ryan Newman - Pocono II Friday Media Visit

Pocono Raceway

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TORNADOS CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed Indianapolis, concrete race tracks and other topics.

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS OF THE INDIANAPOLIS RACE GETTING MOVED DUE TO DIMINISHING CROWDS?: “Are we going to take it over to IRP? Obviously, the tire dilemma that we had a few years ago put a big hurt on our entire event and the race itself was I guess a little stained. I think we’re just in the process of a tough economy as well as fighting back through that situation. I think NASCAR has their ideas with bringing the Nationwide Series and the sports car series to that event. I don’t know what the ultimate answer is going to be to get the stands back filled to capacity and the people enjoying the race as they initially did. Whatever it was, 18 years ago. It’s a difficult situation, especially with a place that has so many available seats to fill those stands. As far as I know, it’s the biggest potential capacity of all the race tracks we go to. It’s a tough one to manage. You look at Michigan and how much it’s struggled and it’s only three hours due north. It’s not that -- I don’t say that Indianapolis is a bad economy or the area is a bad economy, but it’s not far from bad economies.”

SHOULD THEY WIDEN PIT ROAD AT INDIANAPOLIS AND MAKE THE APRON WIDER?: “I don’t know. If we’re going to crash, which we typically do, might as well make it when we’re going slow. The grass situation, that’s just us trying to get clean air on the nose of the car. The way the restarts were and with the way track position is so important, those double-file restarts were huge. Double-file is not difficult enough for us, we try to make it triple-file after the green flag drops. It becomes very exciting at those times so some of us do get down. I clipped the grass a couple times. We saw there when the 51 spun out that there was a lot of grass flying and that makes it difficult for us with making the call to clean our grills or not clean our grills. I thought in general the racing was good. It was just such a struggle with this type of race car at that race track to pass on the race track.”

Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

IS THERE ANY TRUTH TO THE RUMOR THAT DANICA PATRICK WILL JOIN STEWART-HAAS RACING?: “They’re rumors you said, right? You expect me to reveal any kind of rumor? No, I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t know of anybody’s situation. There’s potential or otherwise you wouldn’t read it on the internet or at least somebody’s idea. I’m not in a position to talk about any of that stuff. If I just do my own deal, I’m excited to run the Tornados Chevrolet this weekend and whatever happens on that front, we’ll address it when it does happen.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF DRIVING ON CONCRETE TRACKS AND WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NASHVILLE SITUATION?: “I just read about the Nashville situation so I’m not sure exactly how all that works. We all know there’s a lot of politics in this sport and they’re situation is a little different being a non-Cup track, but having experience being a Nationwide and Truck Series track as well as the IRL. Dover, I’ve always enjoyed that race track. Whether it’s concrete or not, just the shape of it and the way you drive it. I would have liked it back in the day when it was asphalt. Just really look forward to going back there as always, but in respect to Nashville, I don’t have any answers. I guess from my standpoint, just as many questions as there could be when it comes to seeing something like that as to why everything is playing out the way it’s going to play out or what may happen to that track or that facility.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS NUTRITION TO YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR DIET BEFORE YOU GET IN THE CAR?: “I just did the Goodyear boot camp and I made it in a minute three seconds on my first round and 42 seconds on my second round. I made some improvements and I’m up here sweating like a pig. I’m not the best guy to ask that question to. I know for me it’s really important, as you can see right now, I sweat a lot even when it’s this cool and humid, I do sweat a lot so inside the race car I sweat even more. Staying hydrated is a big part of staying fit because once you become dehydrated, your body locks up and therefore your mind locks up and then you get a little frustrated inside the race car. For me, I’m all about staying stretched, staying limber and staying hydrated. I have enough muscle mass, I just have to make sure I get to the end of the race.”

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR THE NEXT SIX WEEKS BEFORE THE CHASE?: “We’re by no means locked into the Chase because of our victory. We’re in a good position and we’re in a much better position after the last three weekends than we were before that. I don’t think we go out here and try anything. I don’t know if there’s anything that we try as far as a setup or anything like that. We have things that we always want to try with the testing policy and procedure the way it is, there are things that we have a list on that sometimes you don’t have the guts to try on a race weekend because in hindsight you say, ‘I wish I hadn’t of tried that,’ more often than not. Ultimately, we do what we think we need to win and sometimes when it calls for thinking out of the box or trying something because we’re struggling and we need to try something, that’s what you do. That’s usually up to the crew chief more than it is the driver to figure out what you’re struggling with and making those calls.”

WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN FROM DANICA PATRICK AND WHAT KIND OF SPRINT CUP TEAMMATE DO YOU THINK SHE WOULD BE?: “I see just like you guys do, the things that are written, the things that are speculated and at the same time, if you were to grade Danica’s (Patrick) NASCAR success’ and failures, what would that grade be? I think she’s done a good job. I’ve said before and I would say again, and I don’t mean this at all in a negative way, if she wasn’t a she, she wouldn’t have gotten as many chances as she has. I know she’s got plenty of talent. I’ve said from the very beginning that when I saw her save, I think it was in qualifying a few years back at Indy, she saved the race car when it got loose and most people can’t do that whether it’s a she or a he. She’s got a ton of ability and she’s been put in an extremely new situation and we’re in a roundabout way, a bunch of wolves as drivers. When she came to NASCAR, she took a big step and I don’t think she’s tripped or fallen. I think she’s had to lengthen her stride a few times, but she’s done a fair job in my opinion.”

HOW CAN A CONTRACT YEAR AFFECT A DRIVER AND TEAM AND DID CARL EDWARDS DECISION HAVE ANY BEARING ON YOUR FUTURE?: “Did he make a decision? I didn’t know that. It’s weird how some of those things play out because sometimes it takes the biggest piece of the puzzle to fall before the rest of them can kind of fit in and this year it seems to be that Carl (Edwards) was that person and a contract year doesn’t necessarily mean resigning or getting the best deal you can for yourself and it could also mean making a change with somebody else offers you a little bigger puzzle, let’s say. What Carl went through, I thought he did a very good job of keeping it to himself. There’s always some things that leak out. You guys have pretty good pry bars sometimes when it comes to getting information that you think you need. He’s done a fair job in my opinion as far as keeping it quiet and it can become distracting, to answer your question. It can get to a point where it’s all you guys ask and it’s all we sometimes think about because of what you ask. Sometimes pleading the fifth is the best thing you can do to get the answer done and give you guys the answer you want.”

DO YOU WANT TO GET YOUR CONTRACT DONE BEFORE 2012 SO ITS NOT A DISTRACTION?: “I think no matter, because of the situation that we’re in with the economy and because of how sensitive it is because you’re dealing with the financial budget and working with the bottom line when it comes to taking race cars to the race track that no matter what and no matter when, it’s going to have some kind of bearing on what side tracks you throw out whether it’s the season or the off season. In my opinion, I would say it would be best to handle it in the off season when you’re building race cars instead of going to the race track. I don’t think it ever exactly plays out the way you intend for it to play out because you’re working with more than one party. It’s not like I can sit there and just say, ‘Yeah, I want to go to Burger King and I’m going to get in the car and drive to Burger King.’ It’s much more complex situation than that. For myself, I don’t have a goal of when I want to handle my contract or when I want to handle my extension or all those types of things. When it seems like its right or when somebody brings it up then we’ll address it.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT GETTING RID OF THE WAVE AROUND RULE?: “I understand your concept and the fans seeing the leader work through what would be the next lapped traffic, but I also think that when that cars the 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) or the 24 (Jeff Gordon) or somebody else that they like to see that driver back on the lead lap and working his way back forward. It’s a catch 22 in respect to that part of it. It’s a difficult situation and even going back to the lucky dog and getting that free pass, I’ve always said that there should be nothing free in racing just because you happen to be the best slowest car that you shouldn’t get that free lap. There’s several times that I’ve benefited from it to the point that we won that race. It is what it is. I think ultimately it’s a 50-50 situation, you’re going to make 50 percent of the people happy and you’re going to make 50 percent of the people question it because it is different from a lot of other sports and it is different from how short track racing always has been. That’s what 90 percent of the fans see and it’s what they go see on a Friday night and they come to a Cup race on a Sunday and they are like, ‘Why is it like that?’ It’s different, but I think in the end when there’s 30 cars on the lead lap instead of 15 or sometimes down like at Atlanta where we’ve seen seven or eight cars on the lead lap at the end, I think everybody wants to see or at least most people want to see their driver back on the lead lap and have a shot at improving his position.”

By: team chevy

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Ryan Newman
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Tags chevrolet, long pond, nascar, nscs, pennsylvania, pocono, ryan newman, sprint cup