NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
JEFF BYRD 500 PRESENTED BY FOOD CITY
BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
March 18, 2011
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TORNADOS CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed his season so far, the technical challenges of Bristol since the resurface, his thoughts on Danica’s first race at Bristol and more. Full transcript.
TALK ABOUT YOUR SEASON SO FAR AND YOUR OUTLOOK HERE AT BRISTOL. “I wish we could have started off Daytona better than we did but it was still twice as good as it was that last couple of years. So going into Phoenix and Vegas getting two top-fives I’m really proud of the team and organization to be able to achieve what we have. We’ve done a good job to carry the momentum from 2010 into this season at the same time we got lucky a little there in Phoenix by not getting caught up in the wreck that happened all around me and took a lot of good cars out. The one thing I will say for us as a team with the U.S. Army Chevrolet is I’m proud of the way we ran at Vegas, that was one of our struggles last year and the last couple of years for that matter. Our racing performance at the 1.5-mile race tracks, I think we did a good job of improving our performance and capabilities at those types of tracks.”
IN REGARDS TO THE NEW POINTS SYSTEM, IS THERE CONCERN IN GARAGE ABOUT THAT AND ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT A REALLY BAD DAY COULD DROP YOU WAY DOWN? “I haven’t done the math all the way down to 43rd in seeing where people are at. I think only one spot or two spots would have changed in the top-10 or top-12 from what I’ve seen going back to last year’s point system. To me it’s kind of like just dropping a zero where it’s not that big of difference in the essence in what the outcome is as far as who would be a champion and who would be in the top-12. Ultimately, we’ve said this several times, it is the way it is and yes it’s no different than the essence of not wanting a bad finish because you can lose a lot in one bad weekend or one bad day or one bad mistake on a Sunday. None of that really to me has changed with this point system.”
DO YOU AND TONY TALK ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS RIGHT NOW AND THAT YOU WILL HAVE STAYING POWER AS THE SEASON GOES ON IN THOSE POSITONS? “I feel much more confident this year than I have in the last two years at least of our teams performance and our capabilities. Again going back to Vegas I think that is a big part of that. That was one of our weaknesses, our balance and grip at those intermediate race tracks. After Vegas and the last part of last year, I feel like we’ve made big improvements and we are a much better and stronger team and our pit crew stepped up as well. So I think that there are a lot of things pointing to the good for us, we just have to keep that good rolling.”
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES IN THE NEXT FIVE WEEKENDS FOR YOUR TEAM AND HOW MIGHT THOSE RACES START TO SHAKE THINGS OUT? “Every lap is different so I don’t know that I can sit here and tell you the strategy on each lap, each restart, each race track or for instance the weather that we get at them. To me it’s just going and attacking them as we need to attack them and putting ourself in a position. We did that at Daytona and I think we’ll have to do the same type of racing and the same type of strategy at Talladega. Texas to me is going to be similar to Vegas and I think California will be our first new experience with that race track, with the shorter distance and what not.”
DO YOU SEE CALIFORNIA AS A WAY TO MAYBE VALIDATE SOME THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN VEGAS? “Yeah, for sure but at the same time I think Vegas was validation for us as to how well we ran in California last year. That’s part of what I was alluding to. I think we’ve made some big improvement as a team and an organization at least on the No. 39 car to feel that we’re not just in the top-five but we’re capable of staying in the top-five.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TECHNICAL CHALLENGES OF THIS TRACK FOR A DRIVER AND SINCE IT’S BEEN RESURFACED DOES THE DRIVER PLAY LESS OF A FACTOR IN THE FINISH MAYBE THAN HE DID BEFORE? “It’s different every race here. Last fall of the 500 laps I bet I was in the sixth place for 490 of them it felt like. And I’ve been here before where I’ve gone from first to 35th to 12th to 36th to third, that’s not exact obviously. It changes every time the way the race plays out here. Because of where the yellows fall is basically what it amount to. The way our fuel windows work here at the race track, it changes a lot of things the way guys cannot maneuver their fuel verses tire situation. That’s the biggest question mark in everybody’s mind, is that and getting a good qualifying effort and you get those pit selections because this is one of the toughest pit roads.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK DANICA IS GOING TO EXPERIENCE AT THIS RACE TRACK THAT SHE HASN’T DEALT WITH YET? “Bristol. Just kind of like what I said it’s different every time first of all. It can go a lot of green-flag runs and a lot of single-file racing or it can be crazy and it can get randomly crazier. She proved a lot of things in Vegas. If I think back to my first time at Bristol, I don’t necessarily remember it but I know there have been a lot of different things that have happened every time I’ve been here.”
WHAT ARE THE KEY DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY IT USED TO BE AND THE WAY IT IS NOW HERE AND WHICH DID YOU LIKE BETTER? “I like the racing better now than it was before. The track to me before was more demanding now its smoother and there’s more maneuverability. If you miss your line just a little bit you wash up the race track and you come down the hill and you come back off the corner where before if you missed your line a little bit you were going to get freight-trained maybe 10 or 15 spots back. I think the racing from a driver’s perspective is much better than it used to be with the old configuration. I think one of the best races we ever had here was when it was brand new, that combination of track and tire, we ran three-wide in the Nationwide race the last 20 or 30 laps and it was awesome. It was like holy cow what is going to happen next. Each lap was different. I like it the way it is.”
ON WHY HE LIKES THE SHORT TRACKS SO WELL: “I like using the middle pedal. In all seriousness I think it adds another parameter of a driver’s input when you have to modulate that third pedal. We have to go to places like Vegas and you’re using very little brake. When you are using a little bit it’s hard to screw it up. I think our team has done a really good job with the brake package that we have. I like the short tracks. I like having the character added to the program of modulating the brake. Places like here, Martinsville, Phoenix and Richmond, we’ve been really strong as a team.”
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