RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET met with media and discussed this year to date compared to last year, being half-way to the Chase, the Jeff Burton/Kyle Busch incident at Charlotte last weekend, and more. Full Transcript: ON RACING...
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET met with media and discussed this year to date compared to last year, being half-way to the Chase, the Jeff Burton/Kyle Busch incident at Charlotte last weekend, and more. Full Transcript:
ON RACING AT POCONO: "I'm just glad to be able to do media availability again (laughs). It's been a strong recovery, and it's taken a little bit of time, but a strong recovery for our team from how we started the season. So coming into Pocono, I'm happy to be in the top 12. I really like this race track. It's fun and challenging. It's got a nice break on the front straightaway; gives us a chance to get something to drink and regroup for the next lap. I look forward to it and we'll try to have some fun."
HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE THE WAY YOUR TEAM IS RUNNING RIGHT NOW WITH WHERE IT WAS LAST YEAR? HAVE YOU AND THE NO. 14 (TONY STEWART) HAVE BASICALLY SWAPPED POSITIONS STATISTICALLY THIS YEAR? "Two things I will say that we started off in a deep hole this year but we started off in a less deep hole last year. We had a tough Daytona but we rebounded and we had a really good strong of which this race (Pocono) last year was one of our top five's I think of five in a row. We haven't put that string together yet but we have been more consistent I'd say between eighth and 15th, something like that. Whereas last year we had some runs of sixth or seventh and 22nd. So I think our consistency is better, or mentality is better, knowing that we had that win in Phoenix which has been huge for our team as well as for the organization to get a win this year. Our two teams are very tight and I think that Phoenix win from our standpoint still helped the organization. The number swap versus point swap, I think that's just coincidence. I agree that if you look at it back this time last year, then yeah we were working our way up and Tony was pretty strong. I'd say we're not the strength that we should be our want to be, but we're happy to be in the top 12 from where we started with two DNF's in the season and we'll keep working on it. Tony is obviously working on it real hard. Seems like he's caught some of the luck we had last year at this time. It's just a matter of fighting through it."
I UNDERSTAND YOU ARE A GOOD ARBORIST AND THAT YOU PLANTED TREES YESTERDAY. DO YOU THINK IT'S REALLY GOING TO HAVE AN IMPACT DOWN THE ROAD AND ABSORB CARBON EMISSIONS? "Well, most of the work had been done. I applied the top soil. Yeah, just trying to make a difference. That little Blakeslee Park that NASCAR is working on is really cool. It has a lot of history in this area. The old rock building that's there was an ice skating rink back in the 20's. They're going to re-open that. The whole idea is just to help protect and preserve what we have. And Pocono, especially the Poconos and Pennsylvania here are some of the prettiest areas that we go to. It's similar to the Irish Hills of Michigan where I've done another similar tree planting. Will it offset the emissions? That's the goal. But secondly, it sets an example from a NASCAR perspective of what's right and what we need to keep doing as a community and as a group as a whole to help control and preserve what's out there. And as I stated in my interview, I'm the first person to burn wood in my fireplace. But I'm also the first person to plant trees. So there's a happy medium in there that all people should live by. Those trees produce the oxygen that we breathe so we need to respect them."
WHAT HAS SPURRED THE RECOVERY OF YOUR TEAM? AS YOU LOOK TOWARD THE CHASE, WHAT HAVE YOU IDENTIFIED AS SOMETHING YOU NEED TO DO TO SECURE THAT SPOT? "As a team, we have a notebook and we've had faster race cars and we've had more consistent race cars. Again, our durability has been very good with respect to the car. We had one engine failure back in California, but in general, just having that time and experience together and communication; knowing Tony Gibson a little bit better and having that notebook to go back on and say yeah, we ran good here in the Spring. We ran okay in the Fall. Let's come back here with the Spring set-up and those types of things.
"Whereas hitting the second race track last year, we didn't have those notes. All we had was our Spring notes and that was according to the Spring temperatures and things like that. Just having that notebook and the availability of going back and knowing our experiences, both physically and mentally, make a big difference."
HOW DO YOU TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL? "Just by keeping polishing it up and building better race cars with more downforce and all the things that we can do to make the race cars better and as a team, just fine-tuning. We feel like we are four, five, or six years behind what the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) has going on. So building that team, that morale and that mentality is a big part of what we do; and having the confidence of knowing who you're working with and that you can haul it into the corner that 3 mph faster and come out 2 mph an hour faster is extremely important."
JEFF BURTON LOST HIS COOL LAST WEEKEND. WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THAT? IS THERE A BREAKING POINT FOR EVERYBODY WHERE THEY GO OUTSIDE THEIR PERSONALITY? "I won't say I was surprised to see it. I was surprised to see it last as long as it did. Jeff is usually one to say his peace and walk on. But he came back for Round 2 and Round 3 it seemed like. Everybody has their breaking point. Everybody, especially when he had as good a car as he did; I didn't see what exactly happened on the race track but I've been on the receiving end of an accidental cut tire and no matter what happens, if it was on purpose or not, it's a frustrating deal. Either way he'll get through it. I'm pretty sure that after Tuesday he was good with it. He'll come into Pocono and try to win again."
WHAT ARE YOU ABLE TO OFFER TONY STEWART TO HELP? "In general, it's just that common understanding of the teamwork and what we can do to help each other. It's really no different than anything else that we do any other time of the season; it's just a matter of being maybe a little more delicate about it. You don't want to knock a guy when he's down and you don't want to tell him all the things that he's doing wrong. At the same time you want to try to help him with what we think is right. You don't go up to a guy and say, 'Hey, why do you have that right-rear spring?' You say, 'Hey we're running this right-rear spring and this is what it did for us.' Just offering advice is the best thing we can do because as I've always said, it's the toughest sport in the world where you're competing against your own teammate. So it's a very delicate situation to be able to work all those things out."
CAN YOU GIVE US YOUR ASSESSMENT OF PENSKE RACING SORT OF TURNING THE CORNER? "I will say that from what I've seen in racing, that there are always cycles and obviously what Kurt (Busch) and that No. 2 team have done, they've come back to the top of the cycle, and what they've done with their Nationwide program too is very strong. Going back five years ago when we were as strong as we were in '05 and part '06; again, everything cycles up and down and it's just a matter of them producing like the Hendrick Motorsports group has done with the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) for so long, it's how you complete that cycle and stay on top of that cycle that really makes a difference. We've seen it ourselves just in the No. 39 team in the last year and a half. You can have strings of top fives and you can have strings of 35's, it's just a matter of how long you let yourself stay on top or stay on that slump."
YOU'VE GOT THE PRELUDE TO THE DREAM COMING UP ON WEDNESDAY, ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT? "Absolutely; it's a really big week for Gillette. As one of the young guns or old guns or whatever I am now, ultimately they have a new razor coming out June 6 and this race here and the Prelude is a big week for Gillette. I'm really proud to represent them and represent what the Prelude is and what they do for the charities. It's a great event that Tony (Stewart) and his group put on. If anybody ever walks out of there and doesn't have fun, they won't be invited back because there's no reason not to (have fun). I really enjoy that race track. I enjoy dirt racing and I look forward to that as well."
-source: gm racing