RYAN NEWMAN in the No. 12 Alltel Ford was the RaybestosÂ® Rookie of the race in the Dodge/Save Mart 350, the seventh time this season he has taken home the honors. He finished ninth, his eighth top-10 of the season. Newman became the first ...
RYAN NEWMAN in the No. 12 Alltel Ford was the Raybestos® Rookie of the race in the Dodge/Save Mart 350, the seventh time this season he has taken home the honors. He finished ninth, his eighth top-10 of the season. Newman became the first Raybestos® Rookie to score a top-10 finish at Infineon Raceway since Kenny Irwin finished ninth in 1998.
"It was pretty good. Track position was key all day, without a doubt and I kind of expected that. The ALLTEL Ford had a good run today and we came home with a top-10. It was a good Raybestos Rookie run in the first road course race for me. I'm happy to have that and I've got to thank Don Miller and Roger Penske again for giving me the opportunity. There was always something happening in the corners and I definitely stayed busy. I'm definitely one whipped puppy."
IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE RACING SOMEBODY ALL AFTERNOON.
"It was a matter of who had the best tires and you had guys that came in and took tires and then came from the back. It was a whole mixture of things and events that happened different pit strategies and things like that that always mixed it up."
WERE YOU SURPRISED HOW PHYSICAL THE RACE WAS ON YOU?
"Yeah, I didn't expect the weather to be this nice today. Man, it's almost hot here. That was one of the key things I think that tired us out more than anything."
MATT BORLAND, CREW CHIEF NO. 12 ALLTEL FORD:
IT LOOKED LIKE NEWMAN RACED HARD ALL DAY LONG.
"We didn't help him there in the pits on the last stop. The guys had done great stops all day so it was one of those deals. He just drove his butt off there that last part. He just did a great job. He was smart in the middle of the race; he didn't push it too hard and then there at the end gave it everything he had."
DURING THE RACE, WERE YOU ON THE RADIO TELLING HIM TO TAKE CARE OF HIS EQUIPMENT? WAS THAT A CONCERN?
"We had broken a (rear end) gear yesterday and we had talked a lot about just finishing on the lead lap and making sure that we were there at the end. He had made a decision in the middle of the race to run real conservatively and make sure it didn't hurt anything and then let it loose with 20 (laps) to go and see what we get."
DID YOU HAVE ANY CLOSE CALLS DURING THE RACE?
"We had a lot of them (laughs). I'd say about 40 of them. He did a great job and it seemed like everybody raced clean and it was just a good day for us."
WE SAW A LOT OF REAR END AND TRANSMISSION FAILURES TODAY. WHY?
"You're trying to get everything you can out of the car and driver is trying to brake as deep as possible. When you are braking seven, eight or ten times a lap for that many laps it's bound to happen to some people."
ARE YOU SURPRISED HOW WELL YOUR TEAM RAN TODAY?
"We had done a lot of testing with Ryan out here and at Kershaw. He picked up on the road courses really quick but obviously it's hard to come here the first time. For me it's the first time with these cars on a road course so we had some learning to do but I think we learned some stuff today that will help us for the next road course race."
DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING TODAY THAT YOU CAN TRANSFER TO WATKINS GLEN?
"Definitely, quite a few things balance wise and just what it (the car) needs as far as to pass people."
JIMMIE JOHNSON IN THE NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET
"I was trying to be smart and take care of my stuff. I was a little too cautious, but I was trying to get to the end. With probably four to go we broke a rear end gear. The 24 (Jeff Gordon) broke one, the 44 (Jerry Nadeau) broke one; looks like that was a common failure today. I don't have enough experience to know why. It may have been a bad batch of gears or over abusive or what I'm not sure. For the boss to break one as early as he did it makes me think something else was going on. I thought we were going to make up some ground on the 24 and the 40 (Sterling Marlin) with both of them having early troubles and then we had troubles at the end. It just tightened up the whole points race from third back."
YOU WERE RACING HARD ALL DAY. DID YOU HAVE ANY CLOSE CALLS?
"There at the end there was a bunch of guys spinning out and getting turned around and crashing and stuff. I had a couple of close calls but missed a lot of stuff so that was good."