Charlotte Motor Speedway
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed his win in the All-Star race, continuing safety in the sport, the physical demands of running 600 miles and much more. Full transcript.
TALK ABOUT THE ALL-STAR RACE. “I guess just use generic words, it’s a cool event because we’re home, it’s a race all for pride, all for money and it’s a nice short race. I’ve always said it was the way we grew up and were brought up racing. Short stints, short runs, short races, all for the money and the glory. I really look forward to the opportunity. Two years ago we had a car that should have won the race and we got pinched in the wall off of (turn) four going for the lead. Last year we struggled a little bit but we always seem to be pretty fast here especially on qualifying days. I know our guys look to redeem themselves after last night’s pit crew contest and tonight is qualifying. All things point to good and we’ll go out and have fun.”
I DON’T KNOW IF THERE HAS BEEN MORE OR LESS PAYBACK THAN IN THE PAST BUT HAVE YOU SEEN PAYBACK GO FORWARD FROM AN ALL-STAR RACE TO A POINTS RACE? “Every lap we’re on the race track no matter if it’s an All-Star race, practice for an All-Star race or practice for any kind of race, what happens on the race track gets remembered on the race track and off the race track for that matter. I don’t know about the payback or pay it forward or forward payment, back taxes or whatever, it all comes down to us respecting each other but at the same time when we don’t its remembered each and every corner of each and every lap.”
HAVE YOU EVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEND A RACE UP IN NASCAR RACE CONTROL? “I guess we’ve all had the opportunity. I think NASCAR has always welcomed us up there, it’s not exactly a public welcome but it’s been welcomed before to other people so you assume it’s welcomed to you. I don’t see a need for me to go spend any time up there. I think I know how it goes. I think if I do my job in the race car correctly I don’t have to worry about how it goes and that’s that. There’s times as always in everything you question judgment and you question situations but I’m focused on what I need to do in the race car and the rest is the rest.
“It’s pretty common knowledge on the pit road speed thing and how it works. It’s black and white, there’s no gray. I think that a lot of things that NASCAR has done to make sure it’s fair for everybody and there is no judgment in respect to some of those calls. Obviously the debris calls and when to call it and how it gets called, when it gets called according to make a good show for the fans, there’s different perspectives on that, but that’s judgment from now until forever.”
YOU ARE ONE OF THE BIGGEST SAFETY ADVOCATES IN THIS SPORT, IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS WE’VE SEEN BRIAN VICKERS HAVE HIS WINDOW NET BRACES RIPPED OFF, JOEY LOGANO IN THE NATIONWIDE RACE HAD CLINT BOWYER ESSENTIALLY DRIVE UP INTO THE WINDOW NET, HOW ALARMING IS THAT AND SHOULD NASCAR BE LOOKING AT THAT? “NASCAR has to look at everything all the time from a proactive standpoint and not a reactive standpoint. We’ve been very fortunate in the past more than few years to not lose or have any significant damage to drivers at least in my opinion. There was a time where we as in NASCAR was very reactive and not proactive and I think they’ve done a good job of staying proactive but there are always things that can be improved whether it’s a window note, latch mechanisms, seat belts, safer barriers, padding, helmets all kinds of fire retardant systems the actual chemicals used to how big its sprayed and the direction they get turned on and the impacts it take to do some of these things, that’s all things that has to always be considered because all it takes is three degrees to change the angle of an impact to have it go from life threatening to life ending.”
WHERE DOES THE ALL-STAR WIN RANK IN YOUR CAREER VICTORIES, HOW BIG OF A NIGHT WAS IT FOR YOU? “It was a huge night. For us as a team we didn’t even know if we were going to be in the race because we raced our way in. We started last and I think at the end of the first or second segment whatever it was we just barely made the cut then we raced our way up into the invert, got the invert and started on the pole and won the thing. We won it in a little bit of fashion too. We stayed on old tires and Junior (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) came up on our back door with new tires, so as a team it was huge for us for two reasons. We felt like we redeemed ourselves from the year before when we blew up leading the Open and felt like we should have been in the race that day, that year but also as a team it was our first victory together. To get that first victory at the All-Star race when you’re not even supposed to be in the race was really cool. That was something special. To me that’s similar to Kasey Kahne’s fan vote to get in after he didn’t make the race then comes in and wins the race. Those nights are special in everybody’s minds.”
I spend a lot of time listening to my crew chief read me lap times ...
YOU’VE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS HERE, ALL-STAR RACE WIN, A TON OF POLES, BUT YOU’VE NOT WON THE 600 YET, ARE YOU DUE TO WIN THIS 600? “I don’t think you can ever say you’re due. I mean there’s three races in my mind that I wish I could have won and probably should have won at some point by now and that’s the Southern 500, the Coke 600 and the Brickyard. We’ve got top-five finishes and have been knocking on the door at each one but this is a big weekend and the Coke 600, being a Coke driver now adds a little extra to it, but Memorial Day weekend is really special for us with the Army and the all the great festivities and functions the track puts on for Memorial Day. That to me is as much special as the Coke 600.”
DURING A TYPICAL RACE, DO YOU DRIVE THE CAR AT ITS ABSOLUTE LIMIT EVERY SINGLE LAP? “I think I do. (laughing) I think I do. That’s the difference between a good driver and a great driver, is a great driver knows that limit and takes the car to that limit where a good driver thinks he’s at that limit and may not be. So to answer your question I think I do. I do my best to put the car at that limit but I guess there is a roundabout meaning of limit because that limit could be on entry, it could be on exit, it could be on acceleration, it could be under braking, there’s different ways at looking at your limits but I do my best when it comes to the limit of speed getting the best lap time each and every lap. I spend a lot of time listening to my crew chief read me lap times so I know where I’m at in reference to the leader and if I’m the quickest car on the track so that I know what I’m capable of moving into the high line or moving into the low line trying to get everything I can each and every lap out of the race car. My spotter helps me with that as well.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE PHYSICAL DEMAND OF RUNNING 600 MILES NEXT WEEK, HOW DIFFERENT IS IT AND WHAT KIND OF THINGS DO YOU ENCOUNTER IN THE CAR THAT YOU MIGHT NOT OTHERWISE? “It all depends on how the car is handling and how hot it is outside. That additional 100 miles when you’re leading the race and the car is pretty good it probably lasts forever but it’s just another 100 miles, it’s just logging some time. If the car is really misbalanced and you’re fighting loose entry and struggling and up by the fence it can be miserable because there’s times when you’re a 15th-place car and you’re running 15th and you know you are at the best of what you can get 500 miles in and you’ve still got 100 miles to go and your shoulders are tired, your elbows are wore out and you’re looking out the right side of the car, so it all depends on how your car is handling really.”
THE WAY THIS THING IS MARKETED, YOU GUYS ARE WILLING TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE AND DUMP EACH OTHER AND ALL THOSE TYPES OF THINGS TO WIN A RACE, HOW MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVE THOUGH IN COMPETITION IS IT? “You can’t believe marketing. That’s just marketing.”
You can’t believe marketing. That’s just marketing.
HOW MUCH FURTHER ARE YOU WILLING TO PUSH IT IN THIS RACE? “It’s another race to me. There’s times where we’ll probably get three sometimes almost for wide going into turn three on a restart and that’s not what you’re going to see at the Coke 600 typically with the exception of maybe the last restart but I think to put it in perspective that way every restart or every lap here is going to be like that green-white-checkered at any race track for that matter. That’s the difference. You’ve got to take everything you can each and every lap of a short race and that’s part of the reason why most drivers kind of preach about having shorter races, because it’s more intense for us and it gets our job done quicker and I think it’s more exciting for the fans that way.”
GOING BACK TO THINKING ABOUT THE NIGHT THAT YOU WON, YOU DIDN’T BRING UP THE INCIDENT WITH SADLER AND HIM THROWING HIS HELMET AT YOU, DID THAT EVER GET PAID BACK? “He didn’t throw it at me, he threw it at the car. I think he was mad at the car not me. And that was the situation there and I go back and I know he was mad at me and he would probably still bring it up if you asked him about it but I was inside of him and I don’t remember getting loose or anything, I just stuck my car in a hole that was there and he didn’t expect it. That to me is some of the intensity that kind of started 10 years ago that we’re seeing each and every lap today especially with these double-file restarts. Guys are way more on their toes and having to anticipate and expect what is going on around them because it’s organized chaos now and that’s what it was then. That’s part of why he was frustrated because I put my car in a hole he wasn’t expecting and that wasn’t the way everybody raced back then and the racing has changed since then. But he did waste a good helmet.”
-source: team chevy