RYAN NEWMAN, NO. HAAS AUTOMATION IMPALA SS met with media and discussed racing at Texas, the crash at Talladega and being upside down in the car, meeting with NASCAR, his relationship with the U.S. Army and more. KERRY THARP: Ryan, talk about...
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. HAAS AUTOMATION IMPALA SS met with media and discussed racing at Texas, the crash at Talladega and being upside down in the car, meeting with NASCAR, his relationship with the U.S. Army and more.
KERRY THARP: Ryan, talk about your outlook racing at this one-and-a-half-mile oval this weekend.
RYAN NEWMAN: Every time we come back here, it seems like the racing gets better and better as the asphalt ages. I look forward to it. After last weekend, it would be nice to get back in the racecar, use some muscles I haven't used all week, just have a good weekend of it.
I'm very thankful for the guys, the effort they put forward to make me safe in the racecar. Definitely felt that made a big difference last weaning.
To be here this week, in the big picture, think about everybody down in Fort Hood with the U.S. Army and their families that are going through some very difficult times, big picture here, we're racing in Texas, but our thoughts and prayers go out to other places as well.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Ryan Newman.
Q: Obviously a lot of frustration and concern for you last weekend. I believe you mentioned thinking about things from an engineering standpoint. Looking at it from an engineering standpoint, could you talk about what your frustrations were last week, what you see? I've had a lot of people email me and say did the wing cause the car to lift as opposed to a spoiler. Talk about everything from your helmet getting wedged in the roll cage, to the car lifting up. From an engineering standpoint, are there things you see that could be done differently that would have prevented some or all of that?
RYAN NEWMAN: Always, because every crash is different and every situation is different, whether your car gets spun around by another car or it just takes air by itself.
Ultimately, yeah, there's things that I feel can and should be done. I sat down with John Darby and Robin Pemberton Wednesday morning. We talked about two different things, the extra indication of myself from the accident scene and secondly the reason why we're in that position in the first place, which is to me more important.
From an aerodynamic standpoint, ultimately our biggest thing is to keep the racecars on the ground. Crashes have always been a part of racing.
There are fans that like that. Sometimes that adds to extra excitement, don't get me wrong. When we can bounce off each other, get the car fixed, go back out and try to win a race, I understand that part of it.
Keeping the racecars on the ground is how we keep the drivers and especially the fans safe. So that's the one thing.
From an ironic standpoint, that's why I was probably the most frustrated after the race last weekend, was I was in the media center talking about the very same thing on the last lap of the spring race. To live out what my frustrations were from six months before was difficult, as well. From an engineering standpoint, whatever we can do speed-wise and aerodynamically to keep the cars on the ground, in particular things in the back of the car, when it sees the air first for downforce, keep the lift out of the back of the cars is what we need to focus on.
There has been testing done. I learned some of that stuff on Wednesday morning talking to Mr. Darby and Mr. Pemberton, that they have tested.
But I don't know that they have tested everything. I don't know that you can test everything. But obviously more testing needs to be done in order to make it safer for everybody.
Speed is a part of it. The faster you go, the more likely you are to take lift. We were talking before, an airplane takes off at 160 miles an hour. We're 40 miles an hour above that at times. There's plenty of potential for a car to take lift, whether it's going forwards, backwards or sideways. We have to take everything into consideration, as drivers, as teams, as a sanctioning body, to control that situation.
Q: Specifically, do you think a spoiler on the back would not have caused the lift? Are there specific things you recommended to NASCAR?
RYAN NEWMAN: That's kind of my point from our conversation, is 'Do you think' is not the answer. We have to do testing so that we know. Yeah, I think there might be potential for a spoiler to react differently than a wing for sure. I don't know that it's the answer. As we've seen before, I believe it was Matt Kenseth's Nationwide crash, his car got airborne with a spoiler on the back of it. That's not the answer, that's not the fix. I've been parts of crashes with spoilers on the back of them and a wing on the back of them unfortunately. That's not the fix.
Can it be a part of the fix? Yeah, potentially. Is it a better alternative in conjunction with other things you can do to the car?
Those are the things that NASCAR and the teams have to test collectively so that we can make it safer and better for the drivers and, like I said, more importantly, the fans.
Q: Are you satisfied with the integrity of the car, considering your helmet was wedged in there like that?
RYAN NEWMAN: That was the only thing. Like I said, part of my first answer was, every crash is different. When I had 3400 pounds come down basically on my head, I never was compressed physically in the car. I say that, have to explain it a little bit. It's just like a head-on collision. When two cars hit head on, you got the force of both. I had the force of me going up in the car while the car was coming down on me.
I was compressed. My spine was compressed. But I never was compressed to the point that it pushed my butt down into the seat. There was an instantaneous load there that hurt. Don't get me wrong, I'm still sore from it.
But I was never wedged. Once they got the car back upright, I was able to take my helmet off, there was room there. It wasn't like I was physically wedged.
The second part of my answer is, I was I guess a little disappointed in the fact the cage crushed the way it did. I know it was a heck of a hit, don't get me wrong. We've got to be able to learn from that. Whatever we might be able to do from a welding standpoint, from a wall thickness standpoint with the tubing, to make it stronger so that doesn't happen again is equally as important from a safety standpoint.
Q: I know you've really taken to heart the Army sponsorship thing, more than just an average corporate sponsorship. It's really become personally meaningful to you. Consequently with what happened yesterday, that must have been really tough for you especially. Do you know anyone that you've been associated with through the sponsorship that is directly involved with what happened?
RYAN NEWMAN: I don't. Yeah, this has been a very special learning experience for me. I've said before, maybe not in here, but I kind of took for granted some of the things the armed forces have done for us and are doing for us.
This has been an eye-opening experience this year with the U.S. Army, meeting different generals and colonels and soldiers, it's been special.
What happened, unfortunately to me it's a part of life. It's happened before; it will happen again. Whether it's in the U.S. Army, in a convenience store, it's a part of life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families.
But personnel-wise, I know people that know people that were involved, but I don't know anybody directly that was involved either in the giving or the taking of that situation.
Q: We're glad you're okay. When you had the meeting with John Darby, I know he called you Sunday, you met with he and Pemberton, how did you walk out of that meeting? Did you feel better? Did they listen? Did you feel like there was a decision to do something next? How did you feel coming out of it?
RYAN NEWMAN: I learned things and I think they learned things. That was the point of it. Therefore, I think it was a good conversation. From my standpoint, they opened my eyes a little bit as to the training that the safety crews go through, the things that they do.
I want to make a point that I wasn't dissatisfied with the way I was taken out of the car.
I just feel there were things that could be done or potentially could be done to make it easier for the next guy. That's my responsibility, 'cause the next guy might be me again. You never know.
From their standpoint, I think we talked about the car a little bit.
They learned my perspective on a few things. It's one of those things where you can sit there and say I think or this is the way I would like to do it.
Collectively as a group, NASCAR has to make that decision based on the opinions of the people in the garage and their own opinions. It's a tough situation. You're dealing with lives and safety. It's not as easy as making a spring roll or something like that.
Q: Will they call you in again? Will you go visit them again?
RYAN NEWMAN: We called them, went to visit with them. I want to make that point known. I thought it was a good meeting. I thought it was very constructive. It was educational for me and them. That's all you can ask from a meeting.
Q: It's about five, six months till the series goes back to Talladega. In that period, what can be done, what can be looked at, what needs to be done for the next time?
Obviously there was a lot of talk about the no-bumping rule in the corners, whether or not that contributed to your situation. Is that something that needs to stay or can something be done? What has to happen between now and five, six months from now when the series goes back to Talladega?
RYAN NEWMAN: I think there are for sure things that could be done and should be done based on what we saw, both Mark's accident and my accident, the spring accident with Carl. Aerodynamically there are things that need to be done to keep the cars on the ground. I said that six months ago. Six months is plenty of time to make those changes. The important thing is to make the right changes, to do the testing, the best of our capabilities with the tools that we have, meaning wind tunnels, modeling, things like that, to make the difference, make the right difference.
The drafting part of it, I wasn't a fan of the rule. I stated in my post infield care center interview that I thought the drivers need to have a little bit more respect from NASCAR in order for us to make our own decisions, for us to be able to go out there and say, Hey, I'll treat you the way I know you want to be treated and vice versa. I feel it used to be that way. This sport has grown so much because of those people, those drivers that made it that way, and the more restriction that you give the drivers, the less the fans are going to be delivered excitement. That's not good.
I don't like the bump-drafting rule. I understand why it was implemented, but I don't think that is the fix. I think if you put the right racecars on that racetrack as we have seen in the past, you can put a good show on for the fans, albeit not the ideal racetrack and not the ideal way a driver wants to race, but a show for the fans that will be better than what we saw last Sunday.
Q: Is there an active role you can take in working with NASCAR?
RYAN NEWMAN: It's got to be a collective situation in respect to myself.
At Stewart Haas, we have the opportunity to use wind sheer, rolling road wind tunnel, to put a car in it backwards, a full scale car, see what we can do load cell-wise on the ground to eliminate some of that lift, try to keep cars on the ground at 220 miles an hour scaled. There's things that can and will be done collectively that should be done that I want to be a part of, yes.
Q: You said after the crash that you weren't going to talk to NASCAR because you didn't think it would do any good. What changed your mind to contact them?
RYAN NEWMAN: I don't remember saying that.
Q: The transcript said something to the effect that you weren't interested in talking to them because you didn't think it would do any good.
RYAN NEWMAN: I don't remember honestly. I mean, I probably wasn't in the mood to talk at that point, if that's what I said. But either way, I think it's important that we talk and communicate and try to make the situation better. Obviously I was frustrated, as I said.
It was a very ironic situation, me being in the media center in April, whatever it was, living out the things I was frustrated about firsthand six months later, whatever it was.
You know, it was disappointing. I want it to be safer because I plan on being there in the spring, racing just the same, trying to win that race.
I want to be safe and safer and I want the fans to be safer.
Q: This happened to you six years ago at Watkins Glen where you got turned upside down during a practice. I think it took like 15 minutes to get you out. Is part of your frustration from that, too, that six years later, things haven't changed so much?
RYAN NEWMAN: No, they've changed. It was definitely better. Like I said, I want it to be known, those guys did a good job. I'm not mad at any of 'em. I just want it to be known that I think from my standpoint a better job can be done. If we sit there and say they did a perfect job, then we need to find a new situation because that's not the way it works.
Just as in racing, as in safety, we can always be better, we can always make improvements. I felt there were definite improvements from Watkins Glen with a different group of people, a different situation. I think it was 11 to 12 minutes at Talladega they had me with the roof cut out, out of the racecar. That was to me way better than the situation I had at Watkins Glen.
Q: What would it mean for you to get your breakthrough win for Stewart Haas here at Texas this weekend?
RYAN NEWMAN: It would be huge. I said back here in 2003 when I won here, everything that happens in Texas is big. That was a big win for us then. It would probably be an even bigger win for us now. I think we've done a lot of great things this year as a team. A win right now would be huge, not just for this year but rolling into momentum for next year.
-credit: gm racing