RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 alltel Dodge Charger) NOTE: Newman won his third straight pole on Friday and scored his second straight runner-up finish on Sunday. He's scored top-10 finishes in five of the last six races and moved from 26th to 13th in the...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 alltel Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Newman won his third straight pole on Friday and scored his second straight runner-up finish on Sunday. He's scored top-10 finishes in five of the last six races and moved from 26th to 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Standings -- 22 points out of 12th.
"We came in the pits fourth, came out second, passed Denny Hamlin and from that point on it was pretty smooth sailing. In one segment there when so many cars stayed out, it just took us some time to get through there. Unfortunately, the rain came on the wrong lap. I'm not mad by any means. I won my first race because it rained out and got too dark. I guess it's only right I lose one that way at some point.
"It rained on me the lap before that and when we came back around it rained even harder. It was pouring at that point. It's all in safety. There's no wrong part of that just like Martin said. They were in position track position wise to stay out and get some clean air. They did what they could. They did what they had to do. Their car was still fast enough to stay out front even when they were off sequence. It's just the way it worked out. Obviously we were four feet short, but there is no controversy about it. In future reference, there was no way to get the race started back again. They would have had to make a controversial call at that point to shorten the race to a certain lap number with certain teams off sequence. We felt like we had it all figured out until they called it.
"There were six or seven and a half rain drops on my right-side windshield the lap before that. It was a joke. When I saw that I knew rain was coming. I saw rain in the distance. The 96 was holding the 24 up pretty good for both of us. Jeff cleared him in turn one and I had a run on both of them coming off. It just wasn't quite enough by the time I got to turn two. Jeff saw the rain for the first time the lap the caution came out. He checked up because he didn't know how hard it was raining. I just kept the pedal to the medal and came up four feet short or whatever. I told Jeff after it was over if I had seen the caution light I was fixing to use eight tires instead of four.
"It was strategy based on their part. It was obvious to both of us when the crowds weren't coming in that it was probably going to rain again. It was just a matter of when and where and what lap. It worked out six laps to their good. It was unfortunate for us, but looking back at this come Chase time you can't kick about one spot, maybe two spots I hope when it comes to making The Chase.
were in position to play their card. We weren't in that position. I'm pretty sure Martin took two tires on that same stop. That was definitely a better card to play than the 11 did, taking on four and losing track position. I thought we did the best job we could do given our track position and situation.
"I think both of us can answer it the same way. We never thought it (COT) would work as well as it did at Darlington and Dover. It's riding and driving better than it did at places like Bristol when we first started. The team has done a good job adapting. I don't see any big problems. The bigger question will be Talladega this year when we go back and what the car is going to draft like and how the race is going to be in reference to that versus coming to a place like this."
-credit: dodge motorsports