Texas II: Pole winner interview

Newman Wins Pole at Texas. RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) -- Wins Eighth Pole of season, 35th career pole in 150 attempts and wraps up fourth straight season-long Bud Pole Award "We're here to race and now we've got some more work...

Newman Wins Pole at Texas.

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) -- Wins Eighth Pole of season, 35th career pole in 150 attempts and wraps up fourth straight season-long Bud Pole Award

"We're here to race and now we've got some more work to do. We got the opportunity of winning the pole and get a good pit selection. We don't have the opportunity to lead laps right away. We'll see if we can get the car handling well in race trim so we can work our way through the field. Something happened in the right front for it to do what it did. It wasn't getting off line or something like that. Something happened and the end result was a tire going down. It was unfortunate because it was a fast car, obviously.

"I didn't think I had everything on the first lap, and obviously we're here to get the pole. If you have an opportunity to do two, some tracks are faster on the second lap and some are faster on the first. It was an opportunity to try. That's why they give you two laps to qualify.

"We came here and tested and the car we chose was PRS-61. We crashed it qualifying. It was the same car we had here in the spring. We also tested PRS-20, which is an older car for sure. It was equally as fast. We're not dejected that one car was faster than the other. It's more of a track position situation. I felt my first lap was really good in qualifying, but I felt I left a little on the table. We tried a little bit harder the second lap and something happened going into turn three. It shot up into the wall. It was a pretty good lick, but good safety restraints and more importantly I feel the safer barriers were the reason I was able to walk away fairly easily. (The backup car) should be good. We tested it and it was equally as fast. We've struggled a lot this year at these types of racetracks in dirty air. We've got a good opportunity to see if we've made some improvements."

"It's PRS-20 and right now we're on 102 or 104 or something like that. This is the car in 2002 my rookie season we raced it at Phoenix and won the pole. I'm not sure where we finished. It's actually a car that Rusty gave up because he thought it was messed up.We acquired it because we were short on car count and it's been a good car for us.

"There's a real easy opportunity if we don't move forward that we can stay out and lead a lap on the first 30 laps if there is a caution and everybody pits. We'd rather be up front and leading and have the Alltel Dodge in a place where we want to be all day.

"If we would have been the last car to qualify and won the pole on the first lap then I would have shut it off. We had some pretty stout cars coming. Me not knowing what I ran on the first lap, I would have been putting myself in good position to win the pole. It's kind of a situation where they give you two laps in qualifying and you never know if the first lap or second lap is going to be better. Every racetrack is different, so there's no reason not to try.

"I'd say this track is middle of the road. It's not the best racing racetrack we have as far as multiple grooves, and it's not the worst. I think as the pavement has aged and the more we run on it the more the groove widens out and it will become better and better. I don't think it'll be bad.

"The recommended tire pressure is only for race trim and it's a minimum, so there is no recommended tire pressure for qualifying, not saying there needs to be. We're not sure what happened, but the end result was the tire blew. That's why it went up into the wall. We're not 100 percent sure why that happened, whether we cut something on the racetrack or if it was just a tire failure or something rubbing the tire. It's hard to tell afterwards, but there is no tire rule for qualifying pressures.

"I think we have a really fast car (in Busch Series). It'll take some good racing luck (to win sixth straight Busch race) and a good effort to give ourselves the opportunity. I feel good about it. We didn't come down here and test in the Busch car. We look forward to an opportunity to do that. Those guys are doing a good job putting fast cars on the racetrack."

"Something broke in the right front. I'm not sure what it was. It was a great effort for our Alltel Dodge guys. We picked up speed, and we're doing the right things. Something just happened, and I don't know what it was. That's part of it. We've struggled this year. This is a good opportunity to prove we can do better.

"We struggled at Atlanta last week, no question. We were better than a 23rd-place car, but we have some work to do to run with those guys up front, especially the Roush cars. Texas is another great opportunity for us to gain, but we've got to fix the things that aren't right and be more competitive in race trim.

"I'd say an easy five, maybe six (still have a shot at winning the title). You can count people out, but that's not my job. We're here to do what we've got to do with the Alltel Dodge. We'd like to be No. 1 with a 150-point lead right now, but that's racing. That's what the sport is driven off of, the way the point system is right. I don't think it's perfect. I still wish we had points for qualifying. I don't think there's anything that needs to happen. The sport is not going downhill because of the points system.

"A continuous relationship (between driver and crew chief) is definitely good as far as the points go and as far as the championship goes if you have the right relationship. You see the ones that are struggling and making changes, such as the 19. Maybe that was for the good for the driver and crew chief, but that's up to them. I'm real happy with the relationship Matt and I have on and off the racetrack. We enjoy doing what we've done and what we expect to do.

"We've had more things to battle through this year than we expected. I think our relationship as well as knowledge is stronger and bigger. I look for that to pay dividends in the future. The entire team is a part of it. We've had some ruffled feathers this year on our camp as far as the team goes. It's been the roughest year for us for sure. We just look forward to having a good off season.

"It's definitely cooler today (than when 12 team tested at TMS last week), but there's not a lot of difference. The track has more rubber on it, and it's a little slicker, but it's basically the same track."

-dodge motorsport-

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Series NASCAR Cup