An interview with Ryan Newman, 2nd place finisher in the Coca-Cola 600.
KERRY THARP: We’ll roll into our post race press conference for the Coca Cola 600. Our race runner up is Ryan Newman. Ryan, certainly an unusual turn of events out there today. We battled rain all day long. You got a second place finish. Your thoughts?
RYAN NEWMAN: I mean, obviously I’m happy with the strategy and things like that with the U.S. Army Chevrolet. I feel so bad for the fans out there, I mean, just to see the grandstands that were packed yesterday, then to come back on Memorial Day, know that people couldn’t make it back.
Even the fans that were here, it wasn’t going to get any better. It’s not going to be any better tomorrow. So I’m glad we got past 200. I’m glad we could call it an official race.
We struggled a little bit speed wise, especially in traffic. We had a couple bad pit stops that slowed us down. Worked our way back towards the front, then just stayed out. I told them afterwards, I told David, congratulations, but I wish he wouldn’t have hit the wall. If he wouldn’t have hit the wall, he probably would have pitted with everybody else, I would have been up front. Either way, it was a good finish. Not at all a racing finish. It’s not like I’m proud of it, but I’m glad we got a good finish today.
KERRY THARP: We’ll open it up to questions for Ryan Newman.
Q: Ryan, do you think they waited too long to call this thing?
RYAN NEWMAN: I wouldn’t say they waited too long. It was in the best interest of the fans to put on a show for them. Unfortunately we lost a huge part of the population with all the rain delays. You know, we sat around for another hour and a half just being hopeful and optimistic.
Bottom line was that Mother Nature didn’t let it happen. We knew based off the forecast that it was going to be that way. Turned out to be that way. Now we get to go home.
Q: Ryan, you mentioned several times about the fans, hanging around for the last couple days. Tomorrow you have a meeting where NASCAR is going to open it up for you to discuss issues. What do you hope to tell them or express to them that they need to do to kind of help bring more excitement back to the sport?
RYAN NEWMAN: I don’t know. I mean, obviously I don’t know how the meeting is going to go. I don’t know if we’re going to do more listening or talking. I think to have good communication, it’s got to be 50/50. There are some things with the racecars we’ve talked about to make the racing better. Obviously there’s some issues outside of the racecars that have been talked about in the past.
I’m not really sure what the program is for that meeting. I’m not sure if it’s going to be a 45 minute just listen and walk out or if it’s going to be 45 minutes of questions afterwards.
It’s going to be interesting. It’s the first meeting, to my knowledge, that we’ve had in a situation like this. We’ve been put in a room before and talked to, but it’s interesting and nice to be able to have the capability to talk and a two way street of communication.
Q: So far the first two crown jewels of the season, the Daytona 500 and this race, rain shortened. What kind of a positive do you get out of something like that? Is there anything that can be done? I’m sure there will be some fans that will ask, after the Daytona 500 a lot of fans were saying why didn’t they try to complete the race. Look at what happened here. Is there a solution to things like that?
RYAN NEWMAN: I think they did than excellent job putting an effort in today and yesterday. There’s different situations that NASCAR is put in. You don’t start a race unless you know you can finish it. So they were boxed in last night. Today was a little different situation where they knew they could get to at least 200, 201, I guess. I don’t think there was any type of premature call on the rain shortened race today.
Daytona I’d say was a little bit more of a question. It’s just part of it, man. It’s Mother Nature. We don’t race in the rain, period. There were times today we were racing in sprinkles. But they did a good job of keeping the cars and drivers
safe. Unfortunately, like I said, turned the Coca Cola 600 into 12 hours or 24. Either way, it’s just part of racing.
RYAN NEWMAN: And there’s a bunch more rain coming.
Q: You won your first race under somewhat similar circumstances. How satisfying was it to you at the time and how much different did it feel when you won one getting the checkered flag?
RYAN NEWMAN: I mean, there’s different ways to win a race. When you win your first race, it doesn’t really matter, I guess you could say. It’s special all on its own. The running of the Coca Cola 600 is special in itself. You got to be in the right place at the right time. You got to use strategy. You got to have a fast racecar. You got to do all those things right or close to right. Reutimann pulled it off. Not much more you can say about it.
Q: Ryan, could you talk about your sense of accomplishment, four straight top fives, what you have with that, given the fact you made the decision to make the jump to Tony’s new team. Robby, what does this do for your program, not only in points, but momentum?
RYAN NEWMAN: For me personally, it’s huge. A long time since I had four top fives in a row. The guys are doing a good job with Tony Gibson leading the group. Obviously everybody at Stewart Haas. Same things I’ve always said, put ourselves in the right position at the right time, we’ll get our win.
But you can forget the jumping ship. That’s in the past. We’re talking about the present and the future. I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing. I look toward to Dover.
Q: Ryan, was there a decision for you guys? Was it just a no brainer to stay out?
RYAN NEWMAN: There was a decision. We talked about it down the back straightaway. I said, Is the rain going to stay? They said, Looks like it. It might. It’s gonna rain. Just a matter of how much and what was the situation gonna be with NASCAR calling it.
We decided if everybody pitted in front of us, we were going to stay out. Then at the last second, he goes, Come in. My dad is spotting for me. He goes, They’re all coming. Gibson says, Come in, we’ll put four tires on. Me, I’m like, Come on, you can’t chicken out on me. I stayed out. In the end, it’s the right thing to do.
KERRY THARP: Congratulations. We’ll see you in a few days. [nichemate]0,1,4,’Ryan Newman’,,US,,,,,,,,1[/nichemate]