NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed safety at restrictor-plate tracks, the confidence of his team after first race of the Chase, his approach to restarts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and more. Full Transcript:
HOW WAS PRACTICE?
“Our Caterpillar Chevrolet was really good in race trim; not the best, but we were good. But we didn’t get the ideal lap in qualifying. I think we ended up 18th, or something like that. But our car is much better than that. I need to do a better job of driving it. We’ll prove what we have in qualifying here in the next couple of hours.”
WHAT IS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF NASCAR’S POLICY REGARDING CLOSED FISTS? A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO CASEY MEARS AND MARCUS AMBROSE GOT INTO IT AND BOTH GUYS WERE PENALIZED. WERE YOU SURPRISED THERE WAS NOT A PENALTY FOR THE SITUATION WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON AND KEVIN HARVICK LAST WEEK?
“My perspective of that is usually, how does the sentence go? ‘Any actions detrimental to NASCAR we can do whatever we want to at any time’. So, closed fists or not, I think it all depends. If for instance, I was aggressive towards Danica (Patrick), closed fists or not, would it matter? I don’t know. There are so many different scenarios. The whole deal with Mears and Ambrose, to me, was very unclear because you always have the right, as a human, no matter what, to defend yourself, in any form or fashion, in my opinion. And that, I thought, was something you shouldn’t get fined for to defend yourself. So that, to me, was where some of it was unclear at Richmond two years ago.”
LOOKING AT THE FACT THAT THE POINTS LEADER AFTER THE REGULAR SEASON GETS NO TANGIBLE BONUS GOING INTO THE CHASE, DO YOU THINK THAT’S FAIR? WOULD YOU CHANGE THAT IF IT WERE UP TO YOU? IT DOESN’T REALLY REWARD CONSISTENCY?
“So, you’re saying all the bonus points are for wins and not consistency?”
“It is what it is. Everybody’s got a fair shot at winning or being consistent. Consistency might get you into the Chase and not have a win, to get the bonus points. The math is the same for everybody when the gren flag drops at Daytona.”
A COUPLE OF WEEKS BACK, NASCAR WAS TALKING ABOUT HAVING A POTENTIAL PROCEDURAL CHANGE FOR TALLADEGA. THERE ARE INSTANCES WITH GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED AT PLATE TRACKS. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FEELING TOWARD A REDUCTION OR CHANGE IN THE NUMBER OF THOSE FOR PLATE RACES?
“I don’t even know what potential is for a procedural change. Two things for me, for Talladega: The obvious thing is the goal of keeping the cars on the race track. In doing so, you have to slow the cars down so they don’t reach their lift-off speed in any direction that they go, forward, backward, sideways, or whatever. I think the second part of that is to give us the flexibility of keeping the cars lower. We’re running old-style rules of ride height clearance and things like that. As soon as the cars turn around, they want to come up. And if you kept a car with the skirt sealed off and things like that, the back-end wouldn’t want to become airborne quite as easy. I think there are a couple of things that could be done from a safety standpoint for the drivers, as well as the fans. And from what we’ve seen, even at that point the crew members and people on pit road, too. The cars, once they get airborne, are obviously out of control. And keeping that perspective of it, to me, is the most important part; way above and beyond any kind of procedural change.”
“Slowing the cars down is a no-brainer. If the cars are running, let’s say 185 mph, the likelihood becomes exponentially better that the cars would become less airborne. It’s just like an airplane. And airplane has a lift-off speed with max flaps at 120 mph, given a certain amount of load. A race car does the same thing going forward and is does going backyard. Typically the more downforce it makes going forward, the more lift it makes going backwards.”
LAST WEEK YOU TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE BIG RESTART AND EVERYTHING GOT WORKED OUT AND YOU GAINED A BUNCH OF SPOTS. HERE, THE BOTTOM LANE IS A TOUGH LANE TO HOLD OR GAIN POSITIONS. HOW DO YOU DO THAT HERE IF YOU’RE STUCK ON THE BOTTOM LANE ON A RESTART? HOW AGGRESSIVE DOES ONE HAVE TO BE?
“Well, you don’t want to mash a race car up and you don’t want to agitate somebody for the most part. So, in the end, using eight tires or 12 tires is your best option; or, just having a good race car and keeping yourself in the right position. You typically don’t want to be on the high-side here; especially three-wide, because our cars do not stick once they get outside of the upper seam there. That different transition in asphalt, there’s really only, I’m going to say 45 or 50 feet of the race track that we can use if it’s 80 feet wide. And you do not want to get shuffled up into that. You’re better off being on the inside and having something to lean on than being on the outside and being the guys what gets leaned on.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR TEAM AND THE CONFIDENCE RIGHT NOW CONSIDERING HOW THE CHASE WENT LAST YEAR, AND THIS BEING A TRACK THAT’S ALWAYS BEEN PRETTY GOOD FOR YOU?
“To finish Chicago 11 spots better than we were last year, was big. Confidence-wise, we’ve been building that throughout the year. We had a pretty big bump in the road there, and to be able to continue to build upon the things that we’ve done, going back to the race tracks for the second time is a bonus, obviously. But, when Luke (Lambert, crew chief) came back from suspension, we were going back through the whole high-drag, low-downforce, different type of packages at different race tracks, on top of the fact of figuring out the 2015 rules package that we started out strong with, but kind of lost grips with about eight races in. So, from a confidence standpoint, last week was huge. We had a good car. And we were not going to finish that good. We were going to be 14th or so, and that last caution definitely helped with respect to that. But the hiccup there was that we would have not been 14th had the previous not happened. So, we got caught having to do the wave-around there. That changed our day.”
YOU WENT THROUGH A SIMILAR SITUATION TO CLINT BOWYER EARLIER THIS YEAR WHERE YOU WERE WITHOUT YOUR CREW CHIEF FOR A FEW RACES. WHAT SORT OF PRESSURE DOES THAT PUT ON A RACE TEAM, ESPECIALLY GIVEN NOW THAT IT’S THE CHASE?
“Isn’t his crew chief here? I’m pretty sure he’s here.”
WELL, IF HE WASN’T, WHAT WOULD THAT HAVE DONE? (LAUGHTER)
“It would have been equivalent to you not asking that question if you wouldn’t have been here (laughs). It has the potential to be a game-changer. But in the end, it’s a challenge for your team to be able to not have your quarterback and still be able to throw the ball. I mean, that’s what it amounts to.”
Team Chevy racing photos are available at: http://media.gm.com/product/public/us/en/gmracing/photos.html
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