RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION/U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Infineon Raceway and discussed the Indy tire test, road course racing, Tony Stewart as a boss, Chevrolet/GM and other topics. TALK ABOUT RACING HERE AT ...
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION/U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Infineon Raceway and discussed the Indy tire test, road course racing, Tony Stewart as a boss, Chevrolet/GM and other topics.
TALK ABOUT RACING HERE AT INFINEON: "I have always enjoyed road racing. I have really enjoyed hustling the car around the race track. I think it is a lot of fun here and at Watkins Glen. We've had great races here, but it seems to be typical to come down to fuel mileage which is a little bit crazy and not the best way to race in my opinion. But it is what it is and I look forward to it. We had a really good test. We went to VIR (Virginia International Raceway) for a couple of days. The car felt really really good. It will just take us a little bit of time to get the VIR out of the car and get the Sonoma in it and we will be in good shape."
ARE YOU SURPRISED AT WHERE THE INDY TIRE IS NOW COMPARED TO WHERE IT WAS A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO? "It was my third test this year and it is nice to be able to go to do a Goodyear tire test. Most teams look forward to going to do a Goodyear tire test at which you go there, you validate the tire they have chosen. Or maybe they will have an alternate tire and in the end, you learn a little bit about the race track, you help Goodyear out, you go home and you had a good day. Going there three times was not the ideal thing to do. We knew we were struggling through a tire situation. And obviously Indy has different challenges with the grinding of the race track, but the tire itself is great. They did a good job of finally getting a tire. The problem is it took them this long to finally get that tire. Its unfortunate I guess for all those teams and Goodyear obviously included to have to put this much into getting a tire for one race track. But we are here to service the fans and if that helps us service the fans for the race, then that is what we had to do."
WHAT SEPERATES TONY AND JEFF GORDON AS BETTER ROAD COURSE DRIVERS? "They turn right better than most. (LAUGHS) It is driver ability. Road course racing, the driver, in my mind, can make up more than he can at an oval just being able to hustle a car. You have the added mannerism; I guess you could say, of braking. When you brake at short tracks is not the same as when you brake and downshift. So you have to be a smooth downshifter, you have to be a good braker. Obviously, you have to turn right. There are extra characteristics I guess you have to include at road courses that you don't have to include at ovals. That separates the men from the boys typically. You are right, Tony and Jeff, Kyle Busch last year, Robby Gordon in the past, there are some guys that have gotten it right."
DID YOU SEE A CHANGE IN HOW GOODYEAR WAS APPROACHING THE INDY TIRE SITUATION FROM HOW THEY HAVE DONE THINGS IN THE PAST? "That is probably a better question for them than it is me due to the fact that I don't know how much homework they did building a new tire. Sometimes they can get away with taking the Dover tire to Indy or taking the Bristol tire or whatever. Taking a different tire, a different code to a different race track and it just so happens to work.
"And then they have to manipulate that a little bit. This was I think maybe eight or 10 manipulations instead of two or three. It is a good question for them. Yes, it was make more work that we ever anticipated. We actually saw the track rubbering-up and making a nice black rubber streak around the race track at this test. I went to the first two tests, missed the next one-the No. 14 went, then we went to this last one. But there was rubber on the race track after seven inches of rain from the previous test. So they have a good combination for when Mother Nature tries to squash the plan. On Saturday night if it rains, there is still probably going to be some rubber on the race track so we should be in good shape all the way through. As I said, it is an unfortunate situation for all the teams, all the people to have to spend as much time as we have at Indianapolis to test to get a tire that will go a fuel run.
"The way they communicated, yes, they have had to put more in to it. I wouldn't say the structure of the test was any different. It was actually more so an open test at this last tire test. This was them saying this is the tire we need to run, make sure they work, instead of we want you to try this or we want you to try that. It was like a secondary confirmation I guess you could say from the previous test which was a good test which I wasn't a part of."
WHAT PSYCHOLOGICAL AFFECTS MIGHT THE GM CUTS HAVE AND HOW QUICKLY THAT MIGHT SHOW UP ON THE RACE TRACK, IF AT ALL? "Which part do you want me to answer? Again, it is kind of an unfortunate situation with the economy. We stand behind Chevrolet; we stand behind all of the manufacturers. As we have stated before when Chrysler announced some of their situation because from a Chevrolet standpoint, we want Chrysler to be there, we want to have that competition. We want to have the ability to beat them on the race track and on the street.
"How it affects racing? Financially, we will have to see. I don't think Ford and Toyota have had quite the situation that GM or Chrysler have had, so, I don't know. I know it has more so affected the Camping World Truck Series situation a little bit more than it has the Cup Series but it isn't a good thing. Everything cycles; we will cycle out of this. It is just a matter of how long it takes and when that affect, if it is six months down the road or if it is three weeks down the road, if that change has an effect on the racing and the teams. I don't know. We'll see."
DOES TONY TREAT YOU ANY DIFFERENT NOW THAT HE IS YOUR BOSS? "I don't know? I'll have to think about that one. (LAUGHS). No, he has been really good to me. Is he really my boss? He is just my car owner, right? (LAUGHS). He just supplies the cars and engines; he doesn't exactly tell me what to do. It is not like 'I need you to put this plan together' or 'Finish up this thing'. (LAUGHS)"
DOES HE SIGN THE CHECK? "But that is different. Doesn't mean he is your boss. Because you see the CFO signs the check. (LAUGHS) No, he has been really good on and off the race track. We have had a lot of fun. Is he different? Yes he is different. Not in a bad or good way. Just different. We've gotten to go fishing a little big. Have done some things away from the race track. It has been a lot of fun. I have done some of those things before with Tony. He has finished in my fishing tournament that we have for our charity event. We've done things together in the past. But obviously, mentality-wise, it is a little different."
WHAT WOULD HAVE TO HAPPEN HERE AT INFINEON FOR IT NOT TO BE A FUEL MILEAGE RACE? "That is a very good question without sitting here thinking about doing the math. First of all every race is a fuel mileage race and second of all, depending on the math of when the caution comes out, it has the potential either way of being a fuel mileage race. It is just different. It has grown to be more of a fuel mileage race than it was 10 years ago. I am not sure if 10 years ago, what is it, 92-laps, oh ok, 110 laps. Anyhow, I don't know if it has been 110 laps for 10 years or not. Bottom line, is yea, it is not desirable in the essence that we don't want to have to sit in there and try to save fuel, plan your race about when you need to pit so you can get to the end. From a driver's standpoint, you just want to hustle the car as hard as you and not have to worry about shutting the car off during yellow flags to be able to save fuel, that is just not as much fun type of racing. That is where the desire comes in."
DO YOU REMEMBER RICHARD PETTY'S 200TH WIN? "I think I was racing that weekend. I would have been about six and a half, so we were racing someplace, probably in Ohio. It is neat for me because I am a Richard Petty fan and have been a member of his fan club since I was eight years old. To have him still here, doing what he is doing, still a part of it 25 years later after his 200th win, that is a cool thing. Even though I am only 31, 25 years later I am still racing too."
HAVE YOU CHANGED ANY OF YOUR TEAM PHILOSOPHY THE CLOSER YOU GET TO THE CHASE? "We haven't yet and I know we will if we are fortunate enough to be in the Chase. We have a lot of racing to go and we have still plenty of opportunity to move forward or backwards in the points. If and when that situation occurs, we will address it. Secondly, I have only been a part of one Chase in the last four years now, I have to do some talking with Tony too because he has been a part of it."
-credit: gm racing