RYAN NEWMAN met with media and discussed track speeds at MIS, additional testing, the upcoming Kentucky race, and more. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
NO PRESSURE, BUT TALK ABOUT BEING ASSOCIATED WITH THE U.S. ARMY AND ALSO QUICKEN LOANS AS A SPONSOR
“I don’t look at it as pressure. I look at is as reasons to do well. I’m really proud, as always, to drive the U.S. Army car. It’s an honor to represent soldiers out there, past, present and future, who have always and will always fight for our freedom to do the things that we love and enjoy our families and enjoy that peace of mind. And so, to celebrate their birthday in the race car and on the race track and getting a nice slice of cake before I get in the race car is nice. I’m just very thankful for their support. Quicken Loans, being in Detroit, it’s special for them to be close to home. There are a lot of executives that are going to be here. This will be our fourth race this year with them as a primary sponsor. Actually I shouldn’t say that. This is our Army race, but we’re going into our fourth race the next race. So, we are just getting started with our relationship with them, and look forward to growing that.”
LOOKS LIKE YOUR TRACK RECORD MIGHT BE GOING DOWN TOMORROW (AT MIS).
“Yeah, I called Mother Nature and she’s on standby just in case if we don’t feel like we have a shot, we’ll see if we can make it rain.
“It’s no different than what we had at Bristol running that 14.90 before they redid the race track and it was that much harder to get to a 14.90. Here they’ve redone the race track and it’s way easy to get to 194. So it’s just a product of the evolution of the race track, the cars, the tires, the horsepower. I told them my ultimate goal was just to be able to change the numbers and not the name.”
THE WINS THAT RICHARD PETTY HAD AT RICHMOND COUNT, EVEN THOUGH IT’S AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT TRACK NOW. JUST FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW, HOW MUCH CHANGE DOES IT REQUIRE BEFORE IT QUALIFIES AS ‘DIFFERENT’? IT SEEMS TO ME THERE SHOULD BE DIFFERENT RECORDS FOR DIFFERENT TRACKS
“I don’t see it necessarily as that. In thinking about baseball stadiums and fields and whatever you want to call it, they might change their venue. They might build a new stadium. It’s entirely different. The lights are different and the field is different and it’s just different. Look at the Cowboys who built a brand new stadium and it took them forever to win in it.”
“It’s not. That’s like saying that Charlotte and Texas and Homestead, just because they’re a 1.5-mile, doesn’t mean they’re the same. What’s the difference between grass and AstroTurf? A lot. What if they’re different kinds of grass? Have you ever stepped on different kinds of grass? They’re different. Ultimately they’re different.
YOU AND I DISAGREE
“I’m not saying I disagree; I’m saying they’re different. When you look at it stat-wise, you won in Indy. You won in Richmond. You won in Daytona. It’s still geographically you can say you won at these coordinates and then they moved the race track over 500 feet; it’s not like that. I don’t think we disagree though.”
IS IT TOO FAST OUT THERE OR YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE SPEEDS? WHAT IS COMFORT ON THE TRACK RIGHT NOW?
“Realistically, that’s a very good question because it is fast. I can’t say that it’s too fast. Nobody really has had a situation where they’ve hit the wall or hit each other to say that it’s too fast. We won’t know until that time comes if it is too fast. Predicting that, I don’t know if there is a true answer in figuring it out if 218 at the end of the front straightaway is too fast when we were doing 207 before, that extra 11 miles an hour; is that too fast? I don’t know. It is fast, no doubt. And like I said, and explaining speed to people, I always said from 140 mph on up, it doesn’t necessarily feel any faster until you hit a bump or something hits you or you hit the wall or a tire blows out. And I equate that to flying in an airplane. When you’re running five or six hundred miles an hour, you don’t feel like you’re going that fast until you hit turbulence. And that turbulence is just a difference in air, and that air feels big when you’re going that fast. That’s what we’re dealing with is where we really haven’t hit that turbulence yet in the race car; in a group, bouncing off each other as we do at times. So, I don’t know that it’s too fast, but it is fast.”
THEY INCREASED THE SIZE OF THAT SHARK FIN IN ANTICIPATING THE SPEEDS AND IF YOU DO GET TURNED, TO KEEP THE CARS ON THE GROUND. HAVE YOU FOUND THAT THE SHARK FIN HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE AS FAR AS CARS GETTING UP IN THE AIR OR NOT?
“I haven’t seen; I haven’t been turned around. I know that they’ve done that. Mechanically and engineering-wise it makes sense to why they’d do that and I know they’ve done some extensive testing to validate that it does activate the roof flaps quicker and get the car set back down more efficiently. I don’t know if there is a limit to that. Obviously there is some kind of limit to it; that’s why they increased it. But, I don’t know the true answer to your question because I haven’t experienced it first-hand.”
WITH YOUR ENGINEERING BACKGROUND, DOES IT MAKE SENSE?
“It makes sense, yeah; from a side-force perspective as well as from activating and pitching the air up on top of the car and activating those roof flaps, yes, absolutely.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO KENTUCKY IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS, YOU HAD A TOP-5 THERE LAST YEAR. HOW DOES THAT TRACK COMPARE TO THE OTHER 1.5-MILE TRACKS ON THE SCHEDULE?
“It’s got a lot of character because it’s pretty bumpy and I enjoy it. I enjoy the race there. It was interesting. That was kind of our first experience with going into a race track and getting more practice sessions and more time on the race track before we actually started our weekend. We learned a lot there about Kentucky, having not tested there for a while. I look forward to going back there; not just because we ran well there last year, but because it’s a fun race track.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF TESTING MORE NEXT YEAR ESPECIALLY WITH THE NEW 21013 CAR?
“I’m not for the testing part of it. I don’t think that’s necessary, number one. I don’t think it necessarily makes the racing any better. To me it’s an expense that the teams don’t need to go through; from an expense, monetary standpoint but from an expense physically, of our schedule and things that we do, I think that it’s been good to not go do the testing when we have. It’s kind of like the whole F1 deal and all that stuff where they’re starting to put a cap on the money and the testing and all that stuff. To me, I’d rather us not go and get to the race track and show up and race. To me, that’s the way short track racing is. You go from one race track to the next; you show up and practice and qualify and run your heat race and you race. That’s something that I think there’s a lot of merit to in putting on a good race. It allows the teams to adapt a little quicker. They have to be on your game to show up and come off the truck and be good; and not having gone there and tested and trying to figure out what the difference is between the track when you tested and when you get there for the race.”
AS WE GET CLOSER TO RICHMOND, IS THERE A SPOT WHERE YOU START LOOKING AT WHERE YOU ARE IN THE STANDINGS AND WORRY MORE ABOUT WINS THAN WHERE YOU FINISH? HAVE YOU GOTTEN TO THAT POINT YET?
“I don’t worry about that. Obviously I know what my stats are when it comes to having the one win and where we are in the points. But, our goal is to go out there and win every race and that’s everybody else’s goal nine times out of ten. You do the best you can. It would be great to have two wins. We would have loved to win the first two races of the year, too. It doesn’t change anything. That’s what we’ve got. That’s what we’ve accomplished so far. Going into Richmond that may weigh into it; hopefully it doesn’t. Hopefully we’re in the top 10 and there’s no worry.”