RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 2nd) WHAT ABOUT YOUR RACE? "We definitely did have a good car. From the drop of the green flag last night to the checkered flag today, we knew we had a good car. For us, it was just a matter of track...
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 2nd)
WHAT ABOUT YOUR RACE? "We definitely did have a good car. From the drop of the green flag last night to the checkered flag today, we knew we had a good car. For us, it was just a matter of track position. Sometimes when you restart in fourth position, you're really eighth and you've got some guys a lap down that are trying to get their lap back that you can lose touch with the leaders very quickly. I was happy to have the run that we did today. We had a car that was capable of winning, but sometimes you can't always finish what you start."
DO YOU FEEL DRIVERS SHOULD BE CREDITED WITH STARTING FROM THE FRONT OF THE FIELD EVEN THOUGH THEY MIGHT START FROM THE BACK DUE TO AN ENGINE CHANGE? "To me I guess it doesn't much matter. If anybody gets the hard charger award today it's probably Tony Stewart, but I don't know. It doesn't much matter to me."
WHAT ABOUT TONY'S RESTART WHEN HE PASSED YOU? "I think Tony was a little better on a restart than I was just due to tire pressures. Once he got out, I had a hard time reeling him back in. I did, but then I couldn't do anything with him and I just lost grip in the car. On the longer run, we were definitely better. When we had 30 to go, I was really looking forward to it, but then we got that last caution and that hurt us a little bit. It's kind of a catch-22. You can kind of set your car up to do long runs or you can set it up to do short runs, but the majority of this race is usually 60-lap runs in looking at the history of the race and that's kind of what we gauged things on."
DO YOU THINK TEAMS ARE GETTING AN ADVANTAGE BY CHANGING ENGINES EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE TO START FROM THE REAR? "No, I don't think it's advantageous. Nobody wants to start in the rear. If something happens to the motor, you have to start in the rear and that's just the way the rules work now. I'm sure Tony Stewart and Joe Gibbs Racing didn't change that motor because they thought they had one that was a little better and was gonna make them win the race. They probably changed it because something was wrong. When we come to the race track, we bring our best piece and our best piece has got to last all day. If it breaks, then it breaks and we put another one in but it's just a matter of timing."
DID YOU THINK YOU COULD GET PAST TONY? "For a few laps I thought I did and I thought it would come back to me on a longer run. Richmond is a short track, but I still got in his dirty air and I just lost the grip that I had earlier before the restart when I was out front. You can only do so much. You start running the car a little harder and you abuse it and you get your tires a little hotter and you lose a little grip and that's basically what I did. That's why Burton started catching us there at the end."
WAS IT FRUSTRATING TO SEE JIMMIE JOHNSON WIN LAST WEEK? "It's frustrating for me to see anybody win besides me. I was frustrated because I wanted to be the first one to win a race as a rookie this year in the battle, but, at the same time, I was happy for him. I think we've got a pretty good relationship where we're happy when each other does well. We want to see each other do well because we've got the best opportunity of lives. It's one of those things where you can't let it bother you, but, at the same time, it shouldn't bother you, it's just another person out there."
ANY CLOSE CALLS? "Every lap most of the time. Between the traffic and working with lapped cars and the competition, every lap you're running as hard as you can. You're braking as deep as you can and accelerating as hard as you can trying to get the best lap. You take the car to the edge and you're on edge, so that's a close call every lap."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR SUCCESS THIS SEASON? "We started out the season really great. Matt Yocum just told me our first four finishes were an average of eighth position and our last four was an average of 35th, so we had some work cut out for us. Every driver this season, with the exception of Sterling Marlin, has had some kind of rollercoaster to go up and down and experience some sort of trouble. We've had more than our share that we wanted and we never want that back, but, at the same time, we accept it and we came back and finished second. That will boost the team's morale."
WHAT'S IT LIKE DRIVING FOR ROGER PENSKE? "Our relationship is very good. On a personal level, where we've gone and done appearances together as a team for Mobil 1, he's definitely got an eye for talent and that's something I appreciate a lot. It's an honor for me to be able to drive for Roger Penske and Don Miller and Rusty Wallace. Like I said, it's an opportunity of a lifetime and you want to do the best you can to make every opportunity a good one. We try our best every day, every week, every lap."
DOES HE BRING YOUR A-GAME OUT? "Yeah. It's an honor. It feels good. We've got great equipment, we've got great people. The engines are awesome and, overall, it feels like a family and that's what it should be."
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SEASON IN ONE WORD? "I'll abbreviate it and say it's a learning rollercoaster."