Ryan Newman Wins the Pole at New Hampshire; Four Team Chevy Drivers will Start in Top-10 in Sylvania 300
LOUDON, N.N. (Sept. 23, 2011) – For the 49th time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career and the sixth time at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, will lead the 43-car field to the green flag.
Newman’s pole-winning effort for the Sylvania 300 is his third Coors Light pole of the 2011 season.
Kevin Harvick will start the No. 29 Budweiser Designated Driver Chevrolet from the sixth position Sunday afternoon at the Magic Mile.
Four-time NSCS champion Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, will roll on in seventh position with five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson in the 10th starting position behind the wheel of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet.
Kasey Kahne (Toyota), Brian Vickers (Toyota), Greg Biffle (Ford) and Kurt Busch (Dodge) complete the top-five starters of the second race for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
A total of 16 Team Chevy drivers will take the green flag at 2:00 p.m. with live coverage provided by ESPN TV, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER: LOOKING AT THE TIMES, DO YOU THINK ANYTHING WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT IF THE RAIN HADN’T HAVE COME AND WASHED SOME OF THE RUBBER AWAY? “I don’t think so. If you look at what guys are picking up in qualifying over practice, it was two to three tenths and that’s right where we were. I think because of the conditions, it was cloudy all day; the track dryers probably put a little bit of heat back into the race track that the rain kind of washed out, so I think it all kind of averaged out. I was really proud of our guys to go through something like that and still be able to capitalize on it.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 7TH: ON THE QUALIFYING “I wasn’t expecting the pole to come there in those final six cars. The track was obviously better than we anticipated. You know it’s going to rain any second now. I think the track conditions were not that bad. I still wouldn’t have wanted to have been Juan Pablo (Montoya). I hated it for him. But for when we went out, I felt like we were a little bit too free, which we were on the edge of that in practice anyway. So, 7th; I was hoping to be a little bit better than that, but it’s still not a bad day.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 10TH: DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING WATCHING THE JUAN PABLO MONTOYA GO OUT BEFORE YOU?
“No, not necessarily watching him; but this process, I’ve always wondered what would happen if the drivers didn’t think the track was dry enough. And I learned a lot through this process today. I don’t think it’s ideal circumstances for anyone, but I think NASCAR did their best job to give us drivers what we were looking for in a dry race track. It’s still slick. That’s just kind of how it is. But the effort was made. And although I hate that my car was that sideways, I really appreciate their effort to make sure the track was dry and giving us a good race track to go out and drive on.”
HOW IS IT WHEN ONE DRIVER SAYS IT’S WET AND ONE SAYS IT IS DRY? “No, we were all pretty much convinced that it was wet down there. When you have one car on the race track, you can’t keep the track dry and if you looked underneath the race cars that were sitting there parked, it was dry under the cars and wet around it. You could see standing water on top of all the race cars and that standing water is sitting on top of the race track. I commend NASCAR for listening to the drivers and giving us a good, dry surface to go out on. My car was still slipping and sliding pretty bad there, I’m not sure what the reason is for that, but, we got a decent lap in and NASCAR put a huge effort in to make sure those last five cars had an even playing ground to go out on.
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER DESIGNATED DRIVER CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH: ON HIS LAP: “It wasn’t bad. We got off to a rough start today and about half-way through practice we switched to qualifying trim. The car drove really good from the time we put it in there. I am really happy with the Budweiser Chevy.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 12TH: HOW WAS THAT LAP FOR YOU? “That was better than we had been running today. We’ve been struggling a little bit in qualifying trim. Pretty happy with the car in race trim. That was a pretty good lap for us. I’m not sure how fast the track is, but hopefully this will be one of our better starting positions; qualifying efforts this year not counting the restrictor plate tracks. I felt like it was a pretty decent lap. We needed to improve pretty badly throughout the Chase here in qualifying. That is one of our worst deals we had going on was qualifying all year long. We picked up like three-tenths from practice. Pretty happy with our pickup. We ran some race trim and was pretty happy with that too. We have a couple of different things we’d like to go back over and hope we have a chance to run if the weather holds out.”
DO YOU LIKE THIS TRACK AND IS IT HARD TO PASS HERE? “I really like this place. Lot of fun to race. Lot of ways to get around a corner. It is really hard to pass, but it is a fun race track and been looking forward to coming here every time we get the opportunity.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SYLVANIA/MENARDS CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 14TH: ON HIS EFFORT AS IT STARTED TO SPRINKLE RAIN: “It wasn’t that bad. If we would have gone right after the No. 33 (Clint Bowyer) it probably would have been fine, but we sat for a couple of minutes so the first lap there wasn’t any grip. The second lap felt a lot better obviously, but the track was just a little bit too wet. I probably should have held just a little bit longer. We have a really good car, I would have hoped for a little bit better lap than that, even if it was a little bit wet.”
POLE WINNER POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET:
TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING EFFORT:
“I don’t think I have seen that much drama go into the last five cars in qualifying in my ten or eleven years experience, just to have the little situation we did with the rain, the drizzle. It is a tough situation. I was thinking about it when I was in the car. On one hand your thinking well the other guys had sprinkle, some of the did, some of them didn’t but in the end you were supposed to have dry track conditions or at least it not be raining when we go out on the race track, so I understand where Jimmie ( Johnson) came from when he pulled in. My track was dry, I don’t know that it was any faster to answer that question; I think we picked up about the same amount of speed as the other guys did earlier in qualifying. Really proud of the team to back up what we did hear at least on Friday from the spring race and give the Hass Automation a good starting spot.”
WHAT WERE CONDITIONS LIKE WHEN YOU WENT OUT?
“It took a little bit more for my tires to fire up as far as sticking, that kind of scared me a little bit but I ran the first lap just as I expected it to as I did in practice and it was enough to win the pole. Gladly so because our car was typically quicker on the first lap, but not the second in practice, I was glad I got him on the first lap. Gibson (Tony, Crew Chief) said shut her down and that was a good sign for me. It was different than practice but I think it was different from practice for everybody.”
WAS THERE NO HESITATION IN YOU GOING AS FAST AS YOU COULD GO, AS FAST AS YOU WOULD NORMALLY GO BECAUSE OF THE WEATHER?
“(Tony) Gibson was giving me the lap times of the guys, each lap first and second, and Kasey (Kahne) gave me the confidence that the track had the grip in it when he ran that 26 and knowing he was a 50 and we were a 47 in practice if I could just pick up the same amount then we would be in good shape and we were able to do that on the first lap. Good team effort, really proud of the guys today and obviously it is important in the Chase.”
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