Newman talks about his momentum ahead to Pocono

Ryan Newman: "You can sit there and talk to somebody but until the writing is on the paper and the ink is dried, you really don’t know."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION 30TH ANNIVERSARY CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed his week following winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the similarities between Indy and Pocono, his outlook for this weekend and other topics.

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE TEAM HAVE GOT TO BE FEELING GOOD COMING INTO POCONO THIS WEEKEND? “Well, we do especially because this was the place of our second top-five of the year here in the first race. Felt like we had a car then that was capable of winning and ironically it was the same chassis as what we ran at Indianapolis last week. Coming off of the win and the momentum of that on top of the fact that we have a little bit of history here with this car at this track, I really look forward to it.”

IN ALL THE CONGRATULATORY TEXTS AND EMAILS AND CALLS YOU GOT, DID YOU GET ANY FROM POTENTIAL SPONSORS OR TEAMS BECAUSE OF THE WIN? “Nothing with respect to that. It was more a matter of friends and family and people that I hadn’t talked to that have helped me in my racing career at some point in my life.

Those people I think reached out more than anything else. Obviously it didn’t hurt with respect to that but it’s not like a light switch where you can just flip it and everything turns on. I think it’s up to us as well to do the same thing we did last weekend and at least show that it’s not just a one off deal. We can duplicate and replicate the things that happened. We’ll see how things go.”

WITH WINNING AND BEING HIGHER NOW IN THE CHASE CONTENTION FOR THE WILD CARD, HOW DOES THAT CHANGE THINGS FOR THE TEAM? ARE YOU MORE COGNIZANT OF IT NOW? “It gives us more hope. I mean we had hope in the first place and I’ve said it every time I’ve talked to you guys. We still have a chance of making the Chase whether it’s mathematically or winning. And a win answered the mathematically and winning.

Another win would be amazing just based on the history of what I’ve seen with the wild cards. Two is pretty much going to lock you into a wild card spot. And we still have a shot. I think we’re 25 (points) out of 10th and there’s still a lot of racing to go. It hasn’t changed my mentality other than the fact that it changed I guess your hope. It doesn’t change my drive. My drive is to go out and do the exact same thing regardless.”

HOW DOES IT IMPACT THE TEAM? “Same way. They have the same mentality that I do. We’re all on the same ship right now floating in the same direction.”

THIS IS A CAR YOU TALKED ABOUT RACING AT INDIANAPOLIS LAST WEEK AND YOU’VE RUN A NUMBER OF TIMES. GUYS HAVE TALKED ABOUT THE CARS ALL SEEM THE SAME, CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE WITH THIS CAR OR ARE THEY ALL THE SAME TO YOU? “There’s nothing that stands out feel-wise that’s different. I think in the end maybe it’s just a matter of coincidence. Sometimes you do hit everything just right with a car where it bends the right way, the body is put on the right way, and things like that.

But there’s nothing that I can say that says, ‘Man this car feels amazing compared to another car’. It’s not like we go to a test anymore and take two cars and run this car and then run that car. There’s no real answer that I can give you. Matt and the guys do a good job of taking each car to the wind tunnel and they seven-post the cars and things like that. But it’s hard to get that answer as far as if this car really is that much better. I just don’t feel it per se when it comes to just holding the wheel and pushing the pedals”

DID MONDAY FEEL ANY DIFFERENT? DID YOU DO ANYTHING TO CELEBRATE THIS WEEK? OR WAS IT JUST MONDAY AND THIS IS WHAT WE DO ON MONDAYS AND THE REST OF THE WEEK AND JUST FORGOTTEN ABOUT FOR THE MOST PART? “I think more than anything else I was tired. I really was just tired and I’m still kind of catching back up. Between Tuesday and Wednesday at Eldora, and then we went over to my sister’s house on the west side of Indy on Thursday, and then the entire weekend and all the things. We stay really busy at Indy.

It’s kind of like our second Daytona as far as media, events, and things like that. I was really just tired more than anything. I stayed up until 12:21 Sunday night responding to texts. I had 350 texts when I landed. So, that took me a little bit of time. And then everybody that you text responds with something else. It just made for a lot of work but I mean I was thankful for it. It was nice. I’d say of the 350, the coolest part was that there were eight people maybe where I had to text them back and ask who it was. It was just nice to see the people that reached out to congratulate me.

There’s nothing that really felt different. I mean I’ve won races before. I’ve won Daytona. I’ve won Martinsville. I’ve won the big ones, I’ve won the “lesser” ones I guess you can say, but it’s still amazing. It’s just an amazing feeling to do what we did as a team. And a new team as I said with Matt and the guys. Matt and I have a lot of history but with these guys we had zero history at the start of the season. To win a big race like that felt amazing.”

YOU MADE CRAZY SPEED ALL WEEKEND AT INDIANAPOLIS, WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGE IS THAT? IT SEEMS LIKE THE 48 TEAM IS ABLE TO DO THAT A LOT CONSISTENTLY AT A LOT OF DIFFERENT TRACKS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THEIR PERFORMANCE AND ABILITY TO DO THAT? “I think there’s a part of it that is just pure preparation. There’s obviously an understanding. Whether it’s on Chad’s behalf or the engineer’s behalf or the engineering staff’s behalf back at the shop.

I think that all that plays into a part of it. And Jimmie obviously, he has no Achilles’ heel. He’s good everywhere. That helps as well. I get to see the feedback of the drivers with our alliance with HMS and Jimmie has amazing feedback. Which I think definitely keeps things sharp. It keeps the pencil sharp at least for Chad to be able to keep doing the things that they do. They are not just good, they are great and that’s why it was additionally gratifying last week to beat somebody who is obviously one of the best and had proven to be the best last year at that race track.”

DO YOU GUYS FEEL LIKE YOU WERE AHEAD OF THE GAME AT INDY BECAUSE OF YOUR TOP-FIVE HERE AND DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE AHEAD HERE THIS WEEKEND BECAUSE OF THE WIN AT INDY? “I think it helps, no doubt. I think the tracks are closer than they have ever been basically on the premise of grip and ride quality.

But it doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. We can mess it up way easier than we can make it right when it comes to the car and the chassis, and everything else. But yes, based on our experience in the first race and carrying that same car and information over to Indianapolis, it has great potential for this weekend and that is why I am looking forward to it.”

HOW HAS THE INDY WIN HAD AN EFFECT ON YOUR FUTURE AND DO YOU HAVE ANY SPONSORS TO TAKE TO A TEAM NEXT YEAR? “I don’t know. You can sit there and talk to somebody but until the writing is on the paper and the ink is dried, you really don’t know. But I am in a situation where the phone has not rung off the hook with sponsors, or car owners, or manufacturers or any of that. I didn’t expect it to and I think some people kind of expect it to. I am working on what I need to work on I feel to be in a good, competitive position next year.

“The win helps, but it’s not a light switch. It doesn’t turn everything on bright. It helps and gives you a vision, but there is more to it than that. The $20 million sponsor just doesn’t jump right after you. I wish it did, but it doesn’t.”

REGARDING SINGLE WIN SEASONS, AND IF THIS TEAM IS REACTING DIFFERENT TO WIN ADDITIONAL RACES: “I have got some one-win seasons that I guess on one hand, to go along with your question - that I am proud of. But at the same time I am not proud of - because when you win once, you should be able to keep winning if you have the tools to do it.

Some teams are fighting for that first victory for maybe not one, but three or four years. So yes, I think for me it’s a challenge this weekend because I have never won at Indy, and Indy and Pocono are so close. I think the last person to do it that I remember was Bill Elliott….to go back-to-back and get that done.

I see it as a challenge and I don’t necessarily see anything that our team needs to avoid other than the things we have learned in the first few races before Indianapolis. We had a bad pit stop at Indianapolis too, but it just wasn’t the last pit stop. And everything that is negative, you have to avoid. You are still going to have the negative in there, and it’s how you overcome those things that make you a winner.”

GIVEN HOW WELL YOU DID HERE IN JUNE AND THE WIN LAST WEEKEND, HOW DO YOU CARRY THAT MOMENTUM IN HERE ON SUNDAY? “There are no guarantees, but it’s the same race car and I feel like we have been able to sharpen up some of the things that we did in the June race here. We have done a lot of testing since then and obviously a lot of racing, and the Indianapolis race was huge. So hopefully we can make it happen but like I said, there are no guarantees. It is probably the closest back-to-back races that we have in the season that are somewhat similar on the set-up side.”

YOU RAN LAST WEDNESDAY AT ELDORA, AND WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DOWN THE ROAD NASCAR SCHEDULE A MONDAY NIGHT OR MID-WEEK RACE? “I think it would be awesome and I have said that for a long time. I said after Eldora that I can’t believe they are spending $400 million at Daytona when they just need to move dirt in. (laughs) Dirt is cheap…well, it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s cheaper than $400 million.

I think it would be amazing for our sport and I think Eldora was successful from a racer’s standpoint. I did not see it necessarily from a fan standpoint, but I did actually watch the race afterwards. I have a biased opinion sitting from my perspective, but I think it would be good and there is a market out there for it. I think it makes sense to do it during the week, and I have said that for a while. I wish that we could actually race on a week night and make it simple, and make it good for the fans so that they could come out and be a part of it and free up some of our weekends so that we can have somewhat of a normal life.”

REGARDING INDY AND POCONO, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE EITHER ONE OF THESE TRACKS IN THE CHASE? “I don’t really see the need to have either one of these tracks in the Chase. To me the only wild card in the Chase is Talladega. I think it would be…..and I think I have said it before….whether it’s even achievable or not, but I would like to replace Talladega with a road course race in the Chase. What we do at Talladega is so random and your success can be - or your lack of success can depend on, somebody else’s inability so easily there that it’s not the ideal place to have a Chase race. That is my personal preference.”


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Ryan Newman
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Article type Interview
Tags chevrolet, nascar-cup, newman, pocono