Ryan Newman, Driver, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger Weekly Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Transcript Q: FOUR OF YOUR 13 CAREER WINS HAVE COME ON SUPERSPEEDWAYS, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THE BIG TRACKS? A: I definitely like Talladega...
Ryan Newman, Driver, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger
Weekly Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Transcript
Q: FOUR OF YOUR 13 CAREER WINS HAVE COME ON SUPERSPEEDWAYS, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THE BIG TRACKS?
A: I definitely like Talladega -- especially when you have a fast racecar. I think that we've had a good restrictor plate racecar all year. I got caught up in a wreck in the second Daytona race and we won the (Daytona) 500. Size wise, track wise -- and the fishing is good down there too -- I think Talladega can be a good race track for us.
Q: HOW DIFFICULT HAS THE RAZOR'S EDGE-LIKE BALANCE OF THIS NEW CAR AFFECTED THE #12 CAR THIS YEAR?
A: It's been difficult to find that fine line and then stay on top of it. We've done it at a couple of race tracks. We had a good car at Bristol. We had a good car at Phoenix. Our mile-and-a-half efforts have been below average as far as what we expect for performance. In general, staying confident with the decisions that you making and being confident in your teammates and the information that you gather. We had a good Charlotte test (last week) -- so I look forward in coming back to Charlotte (next weekend). That razor's edge is extremely sharp.
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR NEXT YEAR?
A: We're working on those things. We're working on the people part of it. I'm definitely excited about next year. But, I'm totally focused on the Alltel Dodge for this year. We have seven races to go. We have some good race tracks to go to. I'm just trying to balance both situations and both scenarios so I can be successful at both.
Q: WHAT CAN YOU DO MENTALLY TO PREPARE FOR THIS RACE AS OPPOSED TO 1.5-MILE TRACKS?
A: Expect the unexpected. If it (big crash) doesn't happen, then you made it out of there. Again, you have to have a fast racecar. It's track where handling is at a minimum. You just do your thing and hopefully you can walk out of there with fenders on the racecar -- if so - you've had a good day.
Q: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT CARL EDWARDS WHEN HE DIVE-BOMBED JIMMIE JOHNSON LAST WEEK ON THE FINAL LAP?
A: Yeah. I give him an A+ on that deal. He drove it in three city blocks past Jimmie Johnson it looked like. There was no way that I could do that with my racecar, even if I had a car closer than what Jimmie (Johnson) was to me. The way he bounced it off the wall and tried to bring it back, it was amazing he got his car to the finish line -- let alone get past Jimmie and have a shot at the win. He did a great job.
Q: WHEN LOOKING AT CARL EDWARDS' MOVE LAST WEEKEND, IS THERE A MEMORY OF A SIMILAR MOVE THAT YOU HAD EITHER FAVORABLY OR POORLY IN YOUR RACING CAREER?
A: There have been some times when I've dive-bombed underneath somebody and you end up using eight tires instead of four. There's nothing that really stands out in my mind. Even going back to my All-Star race when (Dale) Junior got in the back of me -- the excitement of broad sliding the car loose on the last lap coming off of Turn 2 at Charlotte for the All-Star win -- that was a similar situation. When you have a good enough car, you can put yourself in those positions because you're confident in the piece that you're driving and you can drive like Carl (Edwards) did and almost pull it off. Not everybody -- especially with these new cars -- has that opportunity.
Q: WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING THINGS THAT YOU HAVE HAD TO LEARN ABOUT RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACING?
A: Patience is the biggest thing. The second biggest thing is that so many cars are so close and so equal -- you almost have to wait your turn if you're not in that group that's running in the top five. The ability to stay calm and not overreact -- you have to be totally predictable of what might happen and that's so questionable. Anything -- whether you're driving a street car down the road and wondering if someone is going to cross the centerline on you -- or driving 200 mph and trying to figure out if there is going to be an accident three cars front of you -- trying to predict that future is extremely difficult, but it can be done.
Q: WILL THE NEW DODGE ENGINE BE IN YOUR CAR THIS SEASON?
A: They (Penske Racing) really didn't talk to be much about it. I knew that Kurt (Busch) had it in his car -- I actually found out about it Friday morning. I'm not sure what the long term goals are with the new engine for Dodge and Penske. I don't know if I'm going to be any part of it.
Q: WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF WEATHER ON RE-PAVED TRACKS OVER TIME?
A: Talladega, the surface is kind of negligible. The grip really isn't that important. Typically -- as asphalt ages -- the oils diminish in it and it becomes less sensitive because of the darkness in it. With heat and sunlight, it draws the oils up and makes it slicker and as it cool off, it picks up a lot of grip. The more that (the track) ages, it seem the less that it does that (draw oil up). The less susceptible it is to change -- change the cars balance and change the (tracks) grip. Talladega is a negligible situation due to the fact that you're wide open -- even in dirty air -- and the balance portion of the racing three is about three percent of any part of it.
Q: DOES PLAYING VIDEO GAMES HELP YOU ON RACE DAY?
A: Without a doubt. I use to do it all the time in college and I learned a lot about the race tracks. The racing is similar, but the actual physics of the race track -- the way that they built the (video) game -- is all based off of mathematics and dimensions. Theoretically, it's an exact replica of the race track. You can get a good idea of balancing your racecar, driving your racecar, picking out the lines, picking out where the wall comes to you and where the wall falls away and things like that.
Q: DOES IT HELP YOU AS MUCH AS RUNNING AN ACTUAL TEST ON-TRACK?
A: It's not the same as testing a car at a racetrack. I'd say that you can learn 60 percent of what you learn on the computer what you do at the race track in a practice session.
Q: WHY DO YOU THINK THAT DODGE DOESN'T HAVE A SINGLE CAR IN THE CHASE?
A: I think it's all the above. I think that there's an equation for speed. The manufacturer, driver, team, people, horsepower, balance, grip -- everything -- there's a huge equation for that. Not just one thing is responsible for lack of performance. It can be, but not just one thing over a period of 26 races is typically responsible for it. It's not a situation where you typically place blame -- you can poke fun -- but not place blame. For me, we had some engine failures. We didn't the way we didn't to even if we had the engine failures -- we should have been able to make the Chase. It's easy to have excuses in this business.
Q: WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE RACES END LIKE LAST WEEKEND IN KANSAS?
A: The car is a little more difficult to drive. The balance is that much harder to get to neutralize. Carl (Edwards) had a great car -- especially for getting into the corner. I think Jimmie saw it coming and checked-up a little bit. I'm not sure what Jimmie said, but watching it on the replay Carl stuffed his nose all the way down in there. I told somebody today that he was wide-open until he saw God, and then he hit the brakes. He bounced it off the wall and tried to keep going -- it was an impressive move -- but it didn't win him the race. For the fans out there, you can't count on the last lap to be like that every time. Second of all, it would nice if we had better racing so that you didn't have to count on the last lap for being the action for the entire race.
-credit: dodge motorsports