RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) - Wins circuit-leading fifth pole of the season, 12th of his career and first at Pocono. "We bring different racecars to different racetracks. You've got to have the total package. At Chicago, we had...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) - Wins circuit-leading fifth pole of the season, 12th of his career and first at Pocono.
"We bring different racecars to different racetracks. You've got to have the total package. At Chicago, we had the total package. At Loudon, Jimmie (Johnson) had the total package. It's all about that. You don't always see the fastest car winning, and that's part of the sport.
"You're going to have fuel mileage races when the fuel performance outlasts the tire performance. If you don't have to duck down for tires, you'll have a good car and won't have to duck down for fuel. We'll let the crew chiefs figure it out, and we'll just drive what we've got.
"I thought it (first lap) was pretty good. I asked Matt (crew chief Borland) at the start of my second lap how was it. I swear he said 53.223, you've got the pole, but I didn't understand him. It was 52.83. I tried extra hard that second lap. I wasn't real happy with my first lap. It was pretty fast. I didn't get the consistent feel I was looking for.
"Looking at the history of last year with (Bill) Elliott winning the pole here and winning the race here and then the following week going and winning Indy, it definitely has the tradition of that but the bottom line is we'll see how we perform on Sunday and that'll give us the momentum for Indy and figure out what our weakness might be.
"Part of that started because Tony (Stewart) started in the IRL cars. I think that was part of one of his goals when he was growing up was to win Indy. That was never one of my personal goals. I would never turn down an opportunity to win a great race like that, but I'm focused on stock cars. People tell me I should run Indy because I'm an Indiana boy and I grew up in open wheel and I should stay open wheel, but I enjoy it just fine where I'm at.
"Indy is pretty much like Daytona. There's a ton of people and they put a lot of hype, whether it's your manufacturer or sponsor. To me it's a bigger and better race than the (Daytona) 500 and there's a lot of chaos that goes along with it. That's part of what we get paid to do.
"It didn't matter as much five or 10 years ago if you dinged the fender in a little bit. The cars are really sensitive and you don't want to take that extra risk of running side by side or hitting the fender or cutting a tire and things like that that can end your day. I think you're seeing drivers that are smarter. When you run side by side you're much slower than when you're by yourself and guys just take the opportunity to dive back in and give up that one spot and hope the guy will remember him later if it's not a huge position at the end of the race.
"This is one of the few tracks where we actually get big gaps between speeds in qualifying and race trim. You'll see a second or maybe 1.2 seconds between first and 36th. At Louson it might be half a second. It goes back to tuning your car for the straightaways and corners. That's a huge part of the racing part of what we do now.
"I'd say it's everything. It takes the entire team. You can be the best driver with the worst car and make up for a little or you can have the best car and be the worst driver and not get the pole. It takes absolutely everything, communication, teamwork. That's a big part of it. The other part is putting all the pieces of the puzzle together as fast as you can and beat everybody else doing it.
"I don't think it (winning pole) is as much of an advantage for me as it is the team. The team gets so much of a confidence booster. When the race day guys show up, they're going to change tires and know we've got the best pit stall and best starting position. It pumps them up and gives them a great outlook for the day. To me, that's a bigger part of it than it is to me personally. It's great to start up front and get track position. When you're driving those Dodges, track position is important to everybody."