CHEVY NSCS AT CALIFORNIA: Ryan Newman Press Conference Transcript



American Muscle


March 25, 2011

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 US ARMY CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed start of the season, racing at Auto Club Speedway, wins for the wild car position, the new points system and other topics. Full transcript:

TALK ABOUT COMING OFF BRISTOL AND HEADING INTO AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY THIS WEEKEND: “I am really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing, the start that we have gotten as an organization. At the same time, prove that what we talked about we were capable of, we are capable of, at least this year. Coming into California after our finish as an organization last fall, Tony (Stewart) winning and us getting a top-five after battling back on the last restart. Happy to be where we are at now coming back to this race track with our past performance here last fall.”

FROM A DRIVER’S PERSPECTIVE, WHERE DOES THIS TRACK RANK IN DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY AND THEN FROM THE “FUN” PERSPECTIVE? “It is the most difficult I think, in just pure engine performance, what you have to have in an engine package here. It is extremely important to have a successful. Being able to get off the corners is one part of it, but its really got to run from the start/finish line as well, because there is so much straightaway. You get a big difference in RPM here that you don’t at other race tracks. Even a place like Michigan, you carry just a little bit more corner speed and don’t have to worry about the acceleration as much. At the same time, even though the RPM band is so far down, we’ll have to work on our forward bit and our forward drive a good bit here more so than other race tracks. Those are the things that we focus on here. But the most fun part of this race track now is its age and the fact that we can widen out the corners and get up in the gray. It really hooks the car up. I don’t know what it is going to be exactly like this weekend number one with the rain and the way the schedule works and the overcast we will have here now where typically in the past we’ve been dealing with 105 degree temperatures. Those are the things from a performance standpoint we will be working on and keeping an eye on.”

IS THERE THAT MUCH WITH THE TEAMS THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM THIS YEAR TO LAST YEAR? OR IS IT AS MUCH LUCK AND DIFFERENT THINGS? IS THERE THAT MUCH THAT HAS CHANGED AND EVOLVED IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS? “Some of it is luck. Even the little bit of bad luck we had at Daytona we led the most laps. Then going into Phoenix, we were fortunate to stay out of the big one there at Phoenix and that was the luck we usually had, it was just that we were on the other side of the luck; we were on the bad luck side, not the good luck side. But in saying that, I think the team as a whole has done a good job of having cars that are performing well so that we are in a better position. Our pit crew has done a much better job this year to open the season than they have in the past. And in saying that, I think that with our start to the season, meaning the No. 39 side, I think that also helps the No. 14 side because we have two teams that are starting off well versus one team that has notoriously started off well, not as well as Tony is, but well. Just the overall strength and the backbone of our team and our organization is much better and stronger than it has been and part of that is just pure confidence from the first four races.”

INAUDIBLE (MEDIA MEMBER DID NOT HAVE A MICROPHONE): “It is kind of an ‘I’ll let you know’ because I haven’t always been the guy at Stewart-Hass organization the guy that is working his way back up from an unlucky or misfortunate start. I’m hoping that us being as good as we are at the start of the season on the No. 39 side, that we’ll see how that helps the No. 14 as well. I don’t know that it does, I’d have to say that if you look at confidence and momentum, we’ve both got a great opportunity and a great start to the season being tied for points four races in.”

ANY PRESSURE TO GET A WIN WITH THE WILD CARD SITUATION FOR THE CHASE? “I don’t think there is any pressure. It is I guess like an insurance program when it comes to the Chase. As it was last year, they said we would have been in the Chase if this year’s rules were last year’s rules. But, they weren’t and now they are different. But, we are here to win each and every race. If you get that win and you have four DNFs after that, then there is a chance you may not be in the top-10 but you’ll have a chance to make that top-12 part of it. But in saying that, two wins and you can pretty much play around in the summer if you aren’t worried about getting extra wins and play with some things with the race cars and strategies and things like that to put yourself in a different position potentially. But, ultimately, you have we are here to win whether it is now or in Richmond or Daytona in July, we don’t have the answer as to who is going to be those two guys locked in. The crazy part is you can have a guy that wins two races, be 25th in points and still make the Chase. CORRECTION FROM MEDIA MEMBER, NO MICROPHONE: “Ok, sorry, 20th in points which would probably happen anyway. But say he is 18th in points, doesn’t have any pressure to race his way in at Richmond, and there might be three or four guys racing for 10th at that point but he will be locked in because he got two wins back in April or May.”

IT HAS BEEN SAID IN THE PAST THAT LAS VEGAS CAN VALIDATE CALIFORNIA PERFORMANCE BECAUSE OF THE HORSEPOWER AND AERODYNAMICS, BUT SOMEONE WAS TELLING ME THAT BECAUSE VEGAS IS A LITTLE MORE ROUGH NOW, THAT MAYBE NOT AS MUCH CARRIES OVER THAT CALIFORNIA MIGHT HELP VALIDATE WHAT HAPPENS AT TEXAS NOW. CAN VEGAS VALIDATE WHAT HAPPENS HERE OR ARE THE TWO TRACKS BECOMING TWO DIFFERENT THAT IT IS CALIFORNIA AND SOMETHING ELSE? “I think whether they are the same or not the same, whether they are rough or different shaped, I think the biggest thing that validates each other is the confidence to be able to adjust to each of them. I don’t think that is necessarily that the bump in turn two at Vegas transfers over to the bump in turn four at California or Texas or whatnot. I think it is more so your ability to adjust the race car in those conditions and that confidence gives you the ability to kind of fight through those situations so that you are not necessarily comparing race tracks, but you know in the back your head, you are capable of achieving what you want on a given day. My point is that to me Vegas and California aren’t even close. And Vegas and Texas are closer than Vegas and California. So it all depends on who you talk to and what they struggle with at those race tracks. The No. 43 car may have problems with the bumps at Vegas and California but be great at Texas because of their setups and they not even know it. It is just a matter of opinion at that point.”

WHERE IS IT FOR YOU GUYS BECAUSE OF YOUR BETTER START THIS YEAR? “I think the biggest part of our confidence isn’t necessarily that we are tied for third In points as it is how we got to this point with our performances on the race track. To come to back from some of the things that we have dealt with and to have as good a start is nice, but the confidence of how we work together is I think what to me what is more exciting than actually being fourth in points because I think we have done much better as a team to get to where we are this year and done what we thought we were capable of the last two years, we just had bad racing luck that put us in a hole that we had to fight out of.”

DID YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES TO YOUR PIT CREW IN THE OFF SEASON? “Not that I am aware of, no. I am pretty sure all the guys stayed the same. We made one change with maybe 10 or 12 races to go last year, something like that. I think that is the way it has been from that time on.”

TO YOU FOLLOW-UP DO YOU SEE A TEAM THAT MIGHT BE 10TH OR 11TH OR 12TH, BUT JUST PUTS ALL OF THEIR EFFORTS ON WORKING ON MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS, IS THAT A WAY TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “I don’t think a team would do that number one I don’t think a team can win a championship in doing that number two. Because, of what it takes as an average finish in those last 10 races, you can’t bank it on mile-and-a-half race tracks. Between the restrictor plate track and a couple of short track races in there, your average can significantly fall if you weren’t any good at those other tracks. Ultimately we are trying to win each and every race as a team.”

LOOKING AHEAD TO MARTINSVILLE, THE LAST NINE RACES, ONLY TWO GUYS HAVE WON THERE. YOU’VE HAD GOOD RACES THERE, WITH HOW YOUR PROGRAM IS PROGRESSING, ARE YOU GUYS ON PAR TO BEAT THE NO. 11 (DENNY HAMLIN) AND THE NO. 48 (JIMMIE JOHNSON? AND WHY HAVE TWO GUYS DOMINATED AT ONE TRACK WHEN COMPETITION IS SUPPOSED TO BE SO CLOSE? “I think the competition is still real close I just think it is those guys have risen to the ultimate top at that race track which is entirely unique to anything else we have on the schedule. I think that in itself, Martinsville being Martinsville, is part of it. The other part of it is the drivers have to really modulate that brake pedal which is another part of it. You can have the best car there and burn the brakes off it is and finish 35th. I have actually blown two tires out, melted the beads on two tires at one time and blew both of them at the same time which I thought was pretty cool afterwards (LAUGHS). We’ve been good there, we have been really good, especially on Fridays and we seem to start off a little slow on Sundays and end up in the top-five or top-10. I think that last fall was going to be a good race for us had we not lost a gear because we were leading at the time. I think we have made some pretty big gains to try to catch those guys and surpass them.”

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