Newman - NASCAR teleconference, part 1

NASCAR Teleconference Transcript - Ryan Newman March 3, 2010 An interview with: RYAN NEWMAN HERB BRANHAM: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today's NASCAR teleconference. Today's guest is Ryan Newman. Going into Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup...

NASCAR Teleconference Transcript - Ryan Newman
March 3, 2010

An interview with:

HERB BRANHAM: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today's NASCAR teleconference. Today's guest is Ryan Newman. Going into Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the Kobalt Tools 500, Ryan takes an all-time pole record at AMS of seven. Tied all time with Buddy Baker for that record.

Ryan, thanks for joining us. Off to a little bit of a slow start in terms of the points. You're coming in 32nd in the standings. Last year at this time you were 33rd. As people well remember, you went on to make the Chase and have a great season. Do you feel pretty confident about a similar sort of comeback this season?

RYAN NEWMAN: I'd like to think so. I mean, I think it's real early to be talking about a comeback. Based on the numbers I guess you could call it that.

Honestly, I think you're right, we've got ourselves in a hole. I wouldn't call it a comeback, but we've got some work to do to get ourselves in position. We've got a long time before that issue becomes pressing.

So I feel confident that we've made some big gains with our racecars this year. Vegas, we actually were off a little bit. But California we had a really fast racecar and lost an engine. Daytona we were working our way up through the pack and got crashed. I feel like we've been more competitive in general. In saying that, we've still got more work to do. We're not sitting here having won two of the last three races like Jimmie Johnson has.

HERB BRANHAM: We've been trying to get a question from our Twitter account from our race fans out there. We have one from Christina. She wants to know: You're a Daytona 500 winner, so what is the next huge goal for your career?

RYAN NEWMAN: Championship is the ultimate. If you're looking at a race win, the Brickyard would be really special to me. I'd say one step even more special would be the Southern 500. That to me has a lot of history and a lot of meaning behind it. That race itself would be the biggest race along with maybe the Coca-Cola 600 that I would like to win. But the championship is the ultimate goal.

HERB BRANHAM: Thank you. We'll go to the media for questions for our guest Ryan Newman.

Q: It seems like any more in Sprint Cup Series what rivalries we do see seem to be between teammates than between somebody with another team. Is there something about racing under the same roof as some other driver that makes you want to beat them worse than somebody else?

RYAN NEWMAN: I think it has the biggest potential for conflict of all things we do in NASCAR, any teammate is a competitor. That sense of pressure I guess, especially with the extra hype now with the Chase and everything else, it makes it a higher level of potential for that conflict on the racetrack.

You know, I understand what you're saying. But I think that's the biggest reason why. You got the same equipment. You got the same a lot of things. The biggest difference is your results. That creates a little internal rivalry at times.

Q: In what ways has the success of the 48 team challenged you and your team to be better in the last couple years with your experience in Cup? How has their success impacted you in a way that forces you to get better?

RYAN NEWMAN: Well, the real key time of their success has been in the Chase. They've been a successful team and obviously a successful organization the last several years. But what they do in the Chase is what makes everybody scratch their head, it seems.

I can't say there's one thing that we try to do to be better than them. But I will say that we try to do everything to be better than everybody else. I wouldn't say it's pit stops or what we try to do at a certain racetrack to be different or strategy or anything else. I think it's collectively as a group and organization that we try to be better than everybody else. Therefore, that would hopefully make us better than the 48. At Stewart-Haas, we're still in the process of building that.

Q: That said, is it difficult not to want to go reinvent the wheel? You say you're trying to be better than everybody, so that takes care of the 48. When you look at what the 48 has done, how challenging is it to say this used to work but it's not getting us to the level we want, we need to go in the opposite direction? How much of a danger is that or is that the approach that sometimes you have to be daring enough to take?

RYAN NEWMAN: I think you kind of asked the question in two different formats because you asked if I wanted to reinvent the wheel, then you also said if I wanted to go the opposite direction. That's two different things. Reinventing the wheel means you're reworking what's already there. If you're working that, you're going to take it to the next level. I wouldn't say you're going in the opposite direction.

I think ultimately you're trying to do what they are doing, and that is beating everybody else. What your weakness is as a team or organization is what you need to focus on and not take focus away from another thing. That sounds somewhat contradicting, but that's the way it is.

Every department has a department head and those department heads are responsible for their own focus. That, therefore, defines the organization's focus.

For me personally it's to go out there and just do my best job that I possibly can. We've obviously seen Jimmie do that, especially in the Chase. There's no reinventing the wheel, going in opposite directions. It's a matter of what I just always have said, is getting the job done. That to me is just doing it better than everybody else, that being the job.

Q: Is Atlanta the kind of place you look forward to as you dig your way out of the early hole you're in?

RYAN NEWMAN: Well, I mean, I look forward to every race. I wouldn't say Atlanta is any different. I've always enjoyed Atlanta on Fridays just 'cause of my record in the cars that I've been given at those types of racetracks, especially there.

But, yeah, I wouldn't say that I think of Atlanta as a place that we are going to rebound or we can rebound. I think every racetrack or every day is a new opportunity. It's up to our team to go out there and make that happen.

Q: You had been quoted as saying Atlanta is bumpy enough that those bumps can spit you right out. Getting into turn one in the middle of three and four, you have to catch it right, it's like surfing or wakeboarding. Since you're so fast at qualifying in Atlanta, can you describe to the fans what it feels like to do that inside the car?

RYAN NEWMAN: It's really difficult from a fan's perspective to see the bumps we feel. Even when you're playing on a video game, Atlanta is a smooth surface, there's not any bumps there. You can't get that sensation or feeling. When you're running 200 plus miles an hour going into a corner and you hit a bump that makes the car jump three or four inches, that's a big bump. That's big feedback, I guess is what we call it.

You know, just to have those inconsistencies at that speed is not necessarily typical. Charlotte is super smooth. Texas is smoother than it ever has been. Places like Vegas, even though they have little bumps, they're not near as big as some of the bumps at Atlanta.

I equate it to water. When the water gets choppy, things get that much more difficult, whether you're a wakeboarder or a skier or what. So it's just a way to relate to the fans what we as drivers go through to get that ultimate quick lap or each and every lap to make it as fast as we can.

Q: Have you ever been surfing or wakeboarding? How good are you at that?

RYAN NEWMAN: I'm not at all. I went skiing when I was a kid. That didn't last too long. I didn't think the water was going to hurt that bad when I hit it. That was enough for me. I do a little jet-skiing once in a while, but that's it for me. If I'm on the water, I got a fishing rod in my hand.

Q: There's a theory that once the spoiler gets put on the car that when a car spins, it decelerates more with a spoiler than with a wing, and that would keep the cars on the ground. Does that make sense to you? Have you looked at any numbers on that?

RYAN NEWMAN: I don't know. I mean, I think there could be. There may be some true reasoning for the speculation of that just from a drag perspective. I have not seen any numbers aero-wise in reference to that, when the car is backwards. So I couldn't say.

I think from an aerodynamic standpoint, this is purely my opinion, that a spoiler would probably create less lift than a wing that is made to create downforce going in the opposite direction.

So if that wing is to create downforce going forward, it's going to create a percentage of lift going the other way. I think that percentage of lift is greater than the percentage of lift than the spoiler creates going backwards.

Q: As far as your testing of the spoiler, have you done any on-track testing or relied all on simulation?

RYAN NEWMAN: We haven't done with the 39 team any testing in reference to the spoiler. We have had cars in the wind tunnel, knowing what the rules are potentially going to be, trying to do our homework in respect to that. The 14 has tested it at Texas. We're just waiting our time. Charlotte will be -- I think actually Talladega will be our first test, even though it's supposed to be a different spoiler.

Q: Career start number 300 will be coming up this weekend. As milestones go, where does that stack up in your book?

RYAN NEWMAN: I don't know. I mean, what's a milestone look like? Is it granite or quartz?

Q: Maybe it pays some money.

RYAN NEWMAN: Honestly to me it's just another number. It's cool if you think about it to have 300 straight. From my standpoint to do something that I've always loved to do, that's driving NASCAR Sprint Cup cars. It's a number from my mental standpoint. But physically it's nice to be able to do what I want to do for such a long time, and obviously have plans to do it even longer.

Just another number. That's my short answer (laughter).

Q: I also know in past years when you've come to Atlanta, you've gone fishing with buddies in Georgia. Is that on the agenda? Is that something you try to do, go fishing or hunting?

RYAN NEWMAN: The hunting, as we call it, the place I like to go, no longer exists. I do have some other places I like to go. Usually it's dependent on the weather, what's going on that day, what my schedule looks like. We'll see.

But it really is a prime time, with the exception of the deep freeze we've been in the Southeast this year, it is a prime time to go fishing.

Q: You enter Atlanta in a similar position to last year. When you look at the way you were able to rebound last year, is there anything that you harken back to that you find yourself missing in this position going forward?

RYAN NEWMAN: From our standpoint, we rebounded pretty quick last year. I don't know when we were first inside the top 12 after being 33rd three races in. I know there's plenty of potential and there's a lot of season left. The law of averages works out for everybody except for Jimmie Johnson.

You know, I think we'll have our opportunities. But I think if you look at 2009, when we rebounded, we didn't keep that performance going. We had I think four or five top fives in a row, then we fell off. We maintained an 8th- to 10th-place position for the next 10 races or so, which was not ideal.

We left ourselves a lot of room to get better, which is a good thing, even though we made the Chase. I think if we can improve upon last year, then talking about 33rd at this time won't be an issue, you know, for the rest of the season.

Q: What are your projections for Purdue with Robbie Hummel out?

RYAN NEWMAN: I don't know. I haven't paid attention to any of it. I couldn't tell you what's going on in the world of basketball.

Continued in part 2

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Buddy Baker