Sonoma: Ryan Newman top rookie press conference

RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 9th) "The test helped us a lot. Any time you can come and test you learn just a little bit and that can get you a heads up for the entire weekend. As a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate, it was ...

RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 9th)

"The test helped us a lot. Any time you can come and test you learn just a little bit and that can get you a heads up for the entire weekend. As a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate, it was pretty important for us just to come and get some experience and get some laps under my belt on a road course. Overall, we had a pretty good race and everything felt pretty good."

YOU CLOSED THE GAP ON JIMMIE A LITTLE BIT.

"Yeah, Jimmie had some misfortune and a lot of guys had some misfortune today, but it's all about preparation I guess and the guys that don't break are there at the end."

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST KEY TO A TRACK LIKE THIS?

"Like many tracks like this, the one big thing is just braking and getting comfortable under braking. It's not always how deep you can brake, but how much control you have and how you can position your car so you can pass people. That was a big thing that we focused on."

HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE?

"I did a lot of go-kart practice racing and fun stuff like that, but this is my first road course race period. I never raced at all on a road course for competition."

HOW DO YOU FEEL PHYSICALLY?

"It's much more physically demanding than I ever thought it would be and it's definitely physically demanding. I was pretty hot in the car today just because of the climate outside. I think that was one of the biggest things that made it so physically draining."

WHAT DID YOU SAY TO JIMMIE WHEN HIS CAR WAS SO LATE GETTING OUT?

"I told him he couldn't play today because his car hadn't showed up yet. No, we were just talking about what's going on and talking about our girlfriends and how girlfriends talk to each other and stuff like that."

ARE YOU GOOD FRIENDS?

Oh yeah, we're pretty good friends. We have our moments on the race track like everybody else, but off the race track we can get along just fine."

WAS IT HARD TO PASS?

"It seems like anyplace you go to, no matter what race track it is, it's difficult to pass because the competition is so close. I was talking to Matt Kenseth before the race and he said that a couple of years ago when he ran his first road course race, there were 20 cars on the lead lap at the finish and the next year there were 30 cars on the lead lap. Things are tightening up and teams are just developing and becoming so good that there's no dominate team out there. Each weekend it's not the same guy that's running up front, it's a mixture of drivers."

HOW DO YOU AND RUSTY RACE EACH OTHER ON THE TRACK?

"I'm racing another car, but I am a little more cautious just out of respect. He owns part of my race car and part of his race car, too, so there's no reason we need to beat and bang on each other. If one guy is faster than another, we can make some arrangements to do it, if it needs to be, but, overall, we race each other just like we do everybody else."

IS THIS LIKE DRIVING DOWN A COUNTRY ROAD?

"A little bit yes and a little bit no. Most of the cars I had would fall apart before I got a couple of laps in."

-ford-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Ryan Newman