Ryan Newman, No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS met with media and discussed the new qualifying procedure, testing at Las Vegas, and more.
ON THE NEW QUALIFYING PROCEDURE... “I think to me, qualifying is going to be a lot like how we practice qualify. So you’re going to be waiting in line to do your thing. But then, at that point, it’s still open.
So you don’t have the opportunity to work on your car so much. You have to kind of come back to pit road and start it all over again depending on how you qualify or how you run. I hope that we don’t have a lapse in time on the race track or at different race tracks for different reasons.
LOOKING AHEAD, WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING ON THE 1.5-MILE TRACKS AS WE GO TO LAS VEGAS? “We’ve done a little bit of testing between Charlotte and Nashville and tracks like that and so I think that Vegas that Thursday is going to be extremely important; especially not knowing what the weather is going to be like out there. We seem to be pulling rain wherever we go. But, just getting a good vibe for what is our backbone core of racing on the 1.5-mile race tracks is going to be important for everybody at Vegas.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS AN EXTRA FOUR HOURS OF TESTING AT LAS VEGAS? "I think it’s important. I think it’s important to know how your car is and how comfortable you are as a driver. It kind of gives you a different perspective on how you need to unload the race car on Friday; if you need to spend more time in race trim or in qualifying trim. That extra little bit of laps is good for giving you a heads-up. But I really wish we didn’t have it. I wish Friday practice and qualifying.”
WHY IS THAT? “It’s just a waste of time for all of us. It’s extra effort, extra money, extra everything for all of us. It’s not going to change the way that we race on Sunday.”
WERE YOU SHOCKED THAT DALE EARNHARDT JR. LIVED UP TO HIS PROMISE AND GOT ON TWITTER? “No, I don’t know so much about any of that. I was happy for him for winning that race. It’s a special race, having won it before. I texted him after the race and it was cool to get a response within the next day or so because I know how busy you are on your phone after an event like that. It was good to see him win.”
WITH RAIN LIKELY, WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES IN PREPARING FOR THE RACE? “I think ultimately the difference now between racing and qualifying really is more so of adding the tape to the grill and a little bit of balance changing. We’ve got pretty good data on this Gen-6 car with that. We’re going to spend a good amount of time; I think everybody will, because of the rain, in race trim. And having that good race trim package will ease your mind a little bit. Hopefully we can have a good qualifying effort as well.”
BECAUSE OF THE RULES CHANGES, YOU CAN’T REALLY GO BACK TO THE OLD NOTES AS MUCH? “No, there’s a lot of things you can go back to. You’re still putting shoes on to walk (laughs). There are a lot of things that have changed, but ultimately your race car, the body, the drivetrain, and everything else is the same. It’s just kind of how we work the aerodynamics in the changes with the tape versus the temperature versus the balance in where you are in your qualifying run.”
DID YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO TALK TO AUSTIN DILLON AFTER LAST WEEK? “We texted. I know there was nothing intentional. It was just a poor outcome for us. We were really excited. I sat in the back and waited all race long to show my stuff. I really waited all week long to show my stuff and got caught up in one accident there when he turned the No. 42 (Kyle Larson) around and got rear-ended by my other teammate. And then we got the car somewhat fixed after that and had a really fast car in the Caterpillar Chevrolet and just got checked-up going into (Turn) 3 and I missed the No. 1 (Jamie McMurray) car but Austin didn’t miss me. I know it was unintentional. It just kind of sucked for the organization.”
WHAT’S THAT LIKE IN COMING OVER TO A NEW ORGANIZATION? “That’s just a product of that type of racing. That’s the way it is. We know that type of racing is different than what we’re going to have here (Phoenix) and in Vegas. It is what it is and it was what it was.”
ON THE QUALIFYING FORMAT, IS NEXT WEEK MORE CHALLENGING? “I don’t know. I don’t have any idea what the difference is going to be between two sessions versus three and how that’s going to open up the race track with a less number of cars. You still have less time, so you really don’t have the opportunity to do multiple runs because you have less time. Again, I don’t want to get to the point where we have 20 minutes and 12 cars and we’re just sitting around twiddling our thumbs waiting for somebody to make a run. That’s not good TV.”