Ryan Newman Teleconference Notes
Posted by: David Starr, Follow @DavidLStarr
April 7, 2012
Ryan Newman has had a strong start to the 2012 season and currently sits eighth in the standings after his win at Martinsville last weekend. Newman was made available to the media via conference call earlier this week and here are some of the highlights.
Newman started off by talking about his wild day at Martinsville.
Ryan Newman: …it was an eventful day for us…I got the speeding penalty on pit road and put myself in a bad position. The guys did a good job of fixing the balance of the race car first and standing behind me and having good pit stops and things like that, and using the right strategy at the end of the race to put ourselves in position to be in contention. I was happy to bring the Chevrolet home and in first.
Q. Ryan, near the end of the race Sunday, at the start of the first green/whitechecker, you had maybe half a second to respond to what was happening there going into the first turn. Was it your plan all along to follow Bowyer, or did you see something happening as everybody went into that turn that made you take the direction you took?
RN: Well, I knew that the front two didn’t have tires, and there was a better chance of them spinning their tires than us, at least with two tires. My intention was to get a run on Clint, which I did, then having the entirety of him blocking me and getting down and getting a run on 24, because I couldn’t see that.
Once he did, I just kind of backed off, and I gave him, I guess, enough courage to try to stick his nose up in there. It didn’t work for him, and it worked for us.
Q. When you were going into that what turned out to be the next to last race start, what were you hoping for as far as where you would finish? Did you think you had a really good shot at the win? Were you concerned if anyone wrecked that you were just going to get collected in it? What was your mindset going into that first initial green/whitechecker?
RN: …I remember coming out of turn two and hit the radio button and said listen, guys you’ve done a great job today. If I don’t bring it back, I just want to tell you beforehand. Just because I know that anything can go or anything usually does go at Martinsville when it comes to restarts.
I didn’t have a specific plan other than just going forward. Obviously, I wanted to win. That was a goal. But I figured I had a shot of maybe getting two of them and getting underneath Clint and getting into one. When that didn’t work out, Clint took himself and a couple others. And I’m not blaming Clint for the product of three-wide at Martinsville. I could say it was just as much as Jimmy and those guys down as it was Clint and the pack getting in there. But that’s racing. It happens at Martinsville. It happens at every short track across America. There is a time when somebody will go three-wide and it doesn’t work.
Q. Did the win give you more of a feeling did you want to celebrate or just breathe easier? Was it more relief than exuberation or the other way around?
RN: The relief was when we got the white flag, and I saw A.J. on the outside. I didn’t know how A.J. was going to race me, if he’d try to take me out or anything. You never know. You can never anticipate that emotion. But I knew I had purposely raced him clean and never got up and leaned on him because I didn’t want to. I didn’t want him to race me that way. I figured we had plenty of racetrack to work with. We both needed a good finish, and we both got that. Somebody has to win, and we were fortunate with our Outback Chevrolet to do that. There was a sense of relief there, but the emotion was, man, we did it. I’ve tried so many times there, and I enjoy short track racing. I enjoy Martinsville, and I didn’t used to. So it made it more sweet for me than maybe another racetrack.
Q. Ryan, Sunday’s late caution certainly won’t be the last one to change race results. Could you talk a little about a driver, a crew chief and a team’s ability to adapt and take advantage of changing situations?
RN: Well, the situation the way it played out, the 24 and the 48 stayed out and gave us the opportunity to create an advantage on them, and we did that. They still had the full opportunity to come down pit road and take two tires. Maybe everybody behind them wouldn’t, but it was a difference in strategy and a difference of opinion. There was no known factor of like the 24 running out of fuel at the end. For us, it was just get a splash of fuel and see if we can create a performance advantage with tires. We had 130-plus laps, I believe, on our tires. So there was a true advantage to new tires at Martinsville. We did what we thought was right. And did a good job of making the call, put us in position, and it all came through.
Q. How does winning a race early in the season help your confidence throughout the rest of the year?
RN: Well, it’s big for us from a points standpoint because we gain an advantage in the points, but primarily to give us something to fall back on if we need to to make it into the Chase. That is a sense of relief. But that relief doesn’t get you anywhere when it comes to performance. It just gives you something to fall back on. So our job is still to go out there and win each and make the effort to win each and every race and keep moving our way up into the points so we don’t have to rely on the win. It’s a relief and that’s what we shoot for. But realistically it doesn’t matter if it was right now or if it was three races before the Chase.
Q. Ryan, we were pouring over the stats a little bit. 11 of your 16 wins have been on different tracks. So pretty much that makes you a jack of all tracks versus a jack of all trades. Can you expand on being so diverse on the NASCAR circuit?
RN: I said this in the media center, so I have no problem repeating it. The fact is I enjoy most all racetracks. There are tracks that I prefer over others, but there are no tracks that I truly dislike. It’s not like I say I hate going to this racetrack this weekend. I think that helps in giving me an opportunity to be successful at most, if not all of them. Hopefully, I can create enough stats and increase the 11 of 16 into like 20 of 40 or something like that. So we’ll keep working on it.
Q. Also, you talked about going to different tracks and not caring which track you go to. How do you get a feel back as a driver of tracks after they’ve been repaved. Like in June, the Michigan track that you’ll be racing on has been repaved totally.
RN: The thing is you’ll feel the same types of feelings in the race car with respect to your seat. But you’re not going to feel the same things on the steering wheel because the tire will be different. That part changes more so than the actual racetrack does. You have to remember the things that you’ve learned in the past, but you can’t rely on going back to those. You have to be able to adapt. That’s why I look forward to going to Kansas in the fall and Pocono and Michigan and places like that. I say that now, and hopefully I can adapt and be successful, but I look forward to it. It’s a challenge.