NOTE: Fog, rain and track seepage forced cancellation of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying on Friday at Watkins Glen International. The field will line up based on points' positions for Sunday's race. Dodge driver Ryan Newman and crew chief Matt...
NOTE: Fog, rain and track seepage forced cancellation of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying on Friday at Watkins Glen International. The field will line up based on points' positions for Sunday's race. Dodge driver Ryan Newman and crew chief Matt Borland discuss Friday's washout, the possibility of no practice on Saturday and Sunday's race.
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) -- Starts 10th Sunday
"It's been kind of like a day off for me today, which is a day of doing nothing. I usually go fishing on my day off. I haven't don that today, but today ain't over yet. I usually don't fish in the rain. I guess you could call me a fair weather fisherman.
"It would have been nice if we could have practiced today, but it's the same for everybody. I'm just going to go with the flow. We're starting 10th now. We could have done better and we could have done worse. We'll see how we end up."
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO MAKE THE CUT? "We've got to finish in the top five in the next five races. I think we're capable of it. I think we should, and I think we might. Bristol is more of a crap shoot than Richmond, at least for us it has been. We finished in the top five in both of them, and we won the race a year ago at Richmond. Watkins Glen has the definite potential to make a big swing in the standings, especially with all the rain we've got. If you get off the track you're going to stay off the track. It's not uncommon to get off the track here. I guess we're just dealing with Mother Nature here, so we're not going to try to fool her."
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T GET ANY PRACTICE BEFORE RACE TIME? "We'll probably get a yellow within the first 20 laps, either a NASCAR yellow or because someone really missed the setup. We've got all day Saturday, so we should be able to get on the track at some point."
HAVE YOU BEEN LOSING ANY SLEEP BECAUSE OF THE RACE FOR THE CHASE? "No, I just wish our performances were a little better, and we didn't get caught up in other people's messes. I'd like to win here Sunday, but satisfaction wise, I'd be happy with a top five. I don't like the fact (the format) takes away from the leaders. I don't like the fact that it eliminates possible contenders. I don't think we would be out of it right now if we had the old points system, and if we were, then we wouldn't deserve it. That's my point. The championship shouldn't be decided in the last 10 races. That's just my opinion."
IF YOU WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR, WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF THE CHAMPION? "I would consider myself the champion in the grand scheme of things, but I won't be the same champion I would have been if I had won the championship in 36 races. Has any other series ever done something like this? That might lead you to believe it's just a little irrational. A lot of people are acting like they like the format now, but a lot of people are two faced."
MATT BORLAND (Crew Chief No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge)
"There's nothing left to do today except get it ready for race trim and practice tomorrow. We'll change some stuff around and try to make it better for the long runs as opposed to just a lap. I guess the track is slippery right now with the seepage. There's a good chance we might get some more rain tonight, so tomorrow might now happen, either. We'll just have to roll the dice and see what we've got if that happens. Ryan is a good road racer, so that helps a lot. A lot of guys struggle here."
WHAT'S YOUR OPINION OF THE RACE FOR THE CHASE NOW? "We were not real crazy about it at the start of the season, and we're not real crazy about it now. The 48 has had an awesome season, and to take that away from him isn't right. They could have an awesome season until the final race and somebody could crash him and he'd miss the championship."
WHAT TESTS DO YOU HAVE LINED UP? "We're going to test at Bristol and Richmond. We run well at Bristol, usually, but there's going to be a lot of crashes there. It could get ugly here, Bristol and Richmond. We feel pretty good about all of them, but usually if a wreck happens at California or Michigan you have time to react to it. At Bristol and Richmond it could catch some people. We finished third at California last time and won at Michigan, but that doesn't mean anything going back. Right now it's so close between some of the teams that you're in big trouble if you have trouble."
ARE YOU IN AN AGGRESSIVE, ATTACK MODE RIGHT NOW? "Basically our fate is in our own hands. We don't have to worry about what somebody else does to get in. You've got to make your best performance count. The last thing we want to do is lose a motor or crash. Last week hurt us pretty bad, but if we had to kick it up a notch we could. We don't want to risk putting ourselves out of it, either."