RYAN NEWMAN, driver of the No. 39 QUICKEN LOANS Chevrolet, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed his special paint scheme for this weekend’s race, qualifying under the lights at Charlotte and other topics. Full Transcript:
TELL US ABOUT COMING BACK HERE TO CHARLOTTE. YOU ARE ALWAYS PRETTY FAST HERE THIS IS ALWAYS A FAST TRACK AT NIGHT HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING INTO IT?
“It’s fun for me because it’s home. It’s just an awesome race track. It’s kind of a unique race track. I would say eight or 10 years ago I kind of looked at here, Texas and Atlanta to be kind of sister tracks. I guess over time they have separated themselves. It’s just so fun for me here at night, especially qualifying when the lights go off, picking up the speed and adjusting your driving style to match the grip. I’ve got an exciting paint scheme this weekend with the Quicken Loans cobranded with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so we are excited about that as well. It’s fun, it’s fall, it’s nice and cool. Everything is positive.”
WHAT IS OVER YOUR SHOULDER THERE? (Ryan was joined by a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle during his media availability)
“A turtle, a killer turtle.”
AREN’T THEY SUPPOSED TO HAVE HEADS? LIKE A TURTLE HEAD?
“He’s popped out right now he’s not scared.” (Laughs)
A LOT OF TALK ABOUT CONCUSSIONS IN LIGHT OF DALE (EARNHARDT) JR.’S SITUATION THIS WEEKEND. HAVE YOU HAD A CONCUSSION OR FELT LIKE YOU HAD A CONCUSSION?
“The only time I was actually ever close to it and I never got really sick from it or anything, I would say I was close to it was when I crashed one time in Indy. I got spun around in turn four, left-sided it into the wall really hard. I got out of the car and I felt kind of nauseous, but I never got sick and I was fine afterwards. I know at that point I guess I was close. It’s kind of a tough deal to talk about because it’s something you can’t see medically. It’s kind of subjective. You go off symptoms and you go off your feelings and you go off doctors recommendations. I guess NASCAR has some sort of guideline as far as what guidelines they follow according to what the doctor says. I don’t know I’ve never been in that situation, I hope never to be. I know it’s not easy for Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. to step out of the car for two weeks whether the doctor told him to or not. We will see how it all works out. It’s a part of our sport. He (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) said what he said and meant what he said after the race at Talladega. It’s tough, it’s dangerous and we know in the end no matter how safe it is we are still putting ourselves at risk whether it’s a concussion or a broken bone or whatever. It’s a part of racing always has been always will be, but we have the capabilities, technology wise to help reduce the situations that we are in.”
GUYS HAVE RACED WITH INJURIES THAT YOU COULD SEE. THERE IS THIS CULTURE OF TOUGHNESS…
“It’s no different than anything else. I could smash my finger with the same hammer that you do and I could still work and maybe you can’t. Maybe you could work and I can’t. It’s just everybody has a different threshold of pain. Everybody has a different threshold of concussions and everybody is different. Again, a concussion you can only see the symptoms you can’t see the actual, I mean I’m no doctor, but you really can’t see when you go and talk to Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. a concussion. You can see that obviously he has had some kind of pain or whatever, but I don’t know. It’s tough to deal with, it’s tough to talk about because number one it’s not me, number two I wouldn’t want it to be me and it’s a big name in our sport.”
DOES IT BECOME A CONCERN THAT ANY DRIVER CAN HAVE A CONCUSSION AND YOU NOT KNOW IT AND BE RACING AGAINST THEM?
“I don’t know what the byproduct is of a concussion if it makes a guy crazy then again it might be different for everybody. I would say that somebody would actually know and not put themselves at risk or put others at risk. No different than any other kind of disorder weather it was being bipolar or narcoleptic or whatever it is everybody reacts to things different. I don’t know. To me that is all speculation.”
DO YOU APPROACH THE OFF SEASON ANY DIFFERENTLY WHEN YOU MISS THE CHASE AS OPPOSED TO WHEN YOU MAKE IT?
“No, I won’t approach the off season any differently. Our biggest thing is just to do what we have to in order to make the Chase next year. That started the day we didn’t make the Chase this year. The off season is just another part of that.”