Phoenix II: Newman - Dodge interview

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) COMMENT ON YOUR FIRST CAREER START AT PHOENIX IN 2000 "We were 20th in practice and all I could think of was racing against Dale Earnhardt and starting beside the guy who was leading the points with two...

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON YOUR FIRST CAREER START AT PHOENIX IN 2000 "We were 20th in practice and all I could think of was racing against Dale Earnhardt and starting beside the guy who was leading the points with two races to go or whatever it was. I didn't want to do something stupid and screw up a guy who had a chance to win the championship. Fortunately I didn't. We had brake problems and a windshield got caught on the grille and cooked the motor. The brake pedal was hung up and stuck and we cooked the brakes. All kind of things happened. It was a good experience knowing we learned some things. We knew we could come back and do it better. I was nervous. It was probably the most nervous I've ever been with all the hype around the opportunity to do what you've always dreamed about doing. It was definitely the most nervous I've ever been in a car."

COMMENT ON NEW TESTING POLICY "It's all right. It gives us time off during the week, but we're still going to go test at other racetracks. We'll spend just as much time testing as we always do, but we'll see how it works out. I'm a little disappointed in some of the decision-making processes lately. We'd like to test at all the tracks, but that's unfair to the team from the money standpoint. You'd like to learn everything you can, but we'll let NASCAR create the rooms and may the best team win. I know the multi-car teams had an advantage with the testing procedures, so maybe that's a way of leveling the field. I don't know. I'm pretty sure that Roush and Hendrick had one of their cars testing if not every race then every race in The Chase."

WHAT WILL YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THIS SEASON? "I think once we get our hands untied we'll be able to show what we're capable of. We've done pretty well this year struggling with what we've had to work with. It's a clearer picture now than it was halfway through the season when we were struggling and we didn't know why. We look forward to the opportunity to get things right and have the right tools to work with so that we can shine like we feel like we're capable of."

COMMENT ON KURT BUSCH AS A TEAMMATE NEXT SEASON "I haven't talked to him other than once back at Watkins Glen. We briefly talked maybe for 20 minutes about it. I know he looks forward to it, and I look forward to a good change. I've said before my opinion about what's going on right now with what the current situation is. I think any change is definitely a good change, and I think Kurt is a better change than that. I've always heard good things about him as far as being a teammate. He's obviously a good driver. He won the championship, so we'll see. You don't have to know a guy to be a teammate. You don't have to even talk to him. I've proven that about the last six months. I've actually enjoyed my last six months. It is better in the grand scheme of things. You'd like to get along with everybody in the world, let alone your teammate. It's definitely better to get along, but if you can't the best way to deal with it is your best way. I don't think there is a best way."

DO YOU THINK YOU'LL BE ABLE TO WORK WITH KURT? "I think not just the drivers, but the teams.... We've operated for four years now as a one-car team and supported a lot of things the other two teams were doing and got nothing in return. It'll be nice to see the tables turned as far as some of the help coming back our way. From a financial standpoint as far as an information sharing standpoint, so much of this garage is follow the leader that once you get something right it's just copy the other guy's homework and hope you get just as good a grade. Those Roush and Hendrick guys, for sure the Roush guys, are good at doing that."

ARE YOU BY NATURE A LONER? "For the most part. I get along with the people I feel I want to get along with and need to get along with for different reasons. I'm a different personality. It's hard to say. I've always been different I guess. I forget what it was, but Krissie and I were talking about something. She said, 'boy, that's different.' I said, 'well, you married me because I'm different.' She said, 'yeah, I guess so.'"

HOW DO YOU SEE THE CHASE? "That's the way in The Chase or out of The Chase or before The Chase or after The Chase. You go out and do the best job you can."

COMMENT ON RACING THE BUSCH CAR AT HOMESTEAD "We went down there and had a good test. I look forward to the opportunity to go there and see if we can start another streak. We'll see if we can do that. We've had a lot of fun racing that car this year. We've had a lot of great support from Alltel, Mobile 1 and Sony to be able to do it. We look forward to the opportunity to go down there and end the season on a good note, both on the Busch and Cup side. There's going to be lack of testing at race tracks, but there will be plenty of testing. We'll see if running the Busch races help. We'll probably run a similar quantity of Busch races next year. I get the opportunity to learn about the racetrack a little more by running Busch on Saturday. It's a different day and different car."

COMMENT ON RACING AT PHOENIX "This track is totally unique in one and two versus three and four. The banking, the radius, the ark, the way the wall transitions in and out. It's a very unique racetrack, no other one like it. Probably the closest one to it is Darlington minus the banking and Southern hospitality. It's a lot the same, yet a lot different. I really enjoy it. I enjoyed racing the open wheel cars here. It takes a different package to get around one end versus the other. You've got to be able to adapt your driving style to the race track and your car to the race track. It's definitely a driver's

racetrack. You've got to hustle the car around here. It's not a place like Kansas or Chicago where you can aim it and hold the throttle down and see what happens."

WHAT'S YOUR MINDSET GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND? "We just want to do our best each and every lap, each and every situation. That's all we do."

COMMENT ON HOMESTEAD TRACK "They did a real good job designing Homestead. There's really no trouble spot. Entries are a little bit on the free side because there's not much banking. The farther you get in the corner the more banking there is. It's very symmetric in that one and two are the same as three and four, as far as the way you drive it and the way it feels. They've got really good exits and openings so you can pass and make good racing. It's a well-designed racetrack and a good racetrack to end the season on. The racetrack is super smooth and it's usually pretty good for grip. It's really temperature sensitive."

-dodge motorsports-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt