NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
QUICKEN LOANS 400
MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 13, 2014
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed racing Michigan, home of Quicken Loans and auto industry manufacturers, team efforts to improve at-track, his plane ride to the track the morning, and more. Full Transcript:
ON QUICKEN LOANS SPONSORING THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP RACE AT MIS THIS WEEKEND
“Well, you know how when we come up here to Michigan we talk about the importance of the manufacturer’s side of it and what it means to win in the backyard of your manufacturer; so when you can win in the backyard of your manufacturer, your primary sponsor, and the sponsor of the race, it’s probably about tenfold more important. And we had an opportunity to come up here and test. We had a really good test. I feel like our Quicken Loans Chevrolet was pretty good here in practice. We didn’t get the absolute best qualifying lap as I think some other guys did, but it’s been a lot of fun working with the guys at Quicken Loans. Their backyard is Detroit. So this is their backyard race track and it was my kind of race track growing up being born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. So, it’s a good opportunity for us to get back to Victory Lane like we did in Indy.”
COMMENT FROM JAY FARNER, PRESIDENT AND CMO OF QUICKEN LOANS
“There’s nothing better than doing something in your backyard. We’ve got 12,000 + team members out in the city of Detroit. We’re really actively involved in helping to make sure that Detroit and all of Michigan is growing, so this is great for our team. We’ll bring hundreds of our team down to watch the race and hopefully watch the No. 31 car have a great day. It’s also just great for the state of Michigan. I think it helps show off to the country all the wonderful things that are happening here in the state of Michigan and MIS is a beautiful place so we’re excited to be a part of it.”
RYAN, YOU’VE BEEN REALLY CONSISTENT WITHIN A NUMBER OF TOP 20 FINISHES, BUT HOW DO YOU GET TO THAT EXTRA GEAR AND GET IN THE TOP 5 AND HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN?
“We’ve been working on that. Pocono was a good rebound weekend for us after having a tire issue at the Coca-Cola 600 and then a transmission issue at Dover. So, we’ve been running where we’ve been finishing for the most part, but we do need to step that up, definitely. If you’re in the top 10, you’ve got a chance of finishing in the top 5, but rarely can you be in the top 10 and have a chance at winning. You have to be running in the top 5. So It’s just a combination of everything. Everybody’s got to step their game up a little bit; me included. Little things like watching your speed on pit road and capitalizing on not losing time. Pit stops; obviously the race car is the biggest part of that, but overall, it’s a compound effect of all the little things that really make a difference.”
THIS MORNING WE HEARD DALE EARNHARDT JR’S VERSION OF THE ‘TRAVEL MORNING’. THERE WAS SOMETHING LIKE THEY CHANGED THE TIME FOR THE PLANE TO LEAVE. WERE YOU AWARE OF IT?
“I talked to Junior Monday night and asked if I could bum a ride up here because my wife and the kids are coming up tomorrow on my plane, and it just made sense if I could just jump a ride instead of sending a plane back and forth. He said yeah, no problem. I double-checked and made sure that we were 8:30 Friday morning and everything was good because it was pretty much the last ride that I thought was going to go out to come up here. It was convenient and we were flying into the same airport and we were supposed to leave at 8:30 and I showed up before 8:30 and his truck was there and the airplane was gone.
“So, I knew I was in trouble at that point. I jumped in my truck and drove across the airport, literally, and happened to see Dale Jarrett’s plane sitting there. I walked in and Dale wasn’t there yet, but his pilots were. And I said, ‘I’m hoping you guys are going to Michigan, right?’ And they said yes and so I bummed a ride. It was extravagantly convenient and lucky at the same time.” (laughter)
HE SAID SOMETHING LIKE MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE CHECKED EARLIER IN THE WEEK
“We had texted back and forth a couple of times because he wasn’t sure about what FBO and all that stuff. I forget when the last confirmation was, but we were good. And it was just an honest mistake, I guess; he forgot. I don’t think it was by any means on purpose. He had more people on the airplane.”
DOES DJ’S SON STILL SPOT FOR YOU?
“Yeah. I got in the car and I told Jason his old man saved me on this one (laughs). That’s probably the closest I’ve been to not making a practice. I made it from the Adrian Airport to here pretty quick.”
GOING TO SONOMA NEXT WEEK, TEMPERS CAN EASILY FLARE ON THE ROAD COURSE. TEMPERS CAN FLARE ON THE HIGHWAY AS WELL. WHAT THINGS REALLY MAKE YOU ANGRY WHEN DRIVING YOUR CAR ON THE HIGHWAY?
“The biggest thing is people driving in the fast lane with their phone in their hand. That really gets me going. But that’s the majority of it. I always say accidents happen because two people aren’t paying attention. If you cross the centerline, the other person has a responsibility, too. But when you’re out there driving and you think you’re just minding your own business and everything’s fine but you’re blocking up traffic, I’m just not big on that. I don’t like to lose time on the Interstate. It’s hard to make time.”
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT RYAN NEWMAN?
“He’s smooth. He found a way to get up here when he missed his first flight. This guy makes it happen. He’s got a great personality and the reason we do sponsorships, and in particular NASCAR, is that we want to connect with the fan base. You don’t get a mortgage every day. It’s every five or seven years. We need to find ways to connect with our clients and fan base and let them know that we’re here. And so there’s not a better way than to pick a guy like Ryan who can do that for us. He has a good sense of humor, and he’s a quality guy; even his road rage stories are pretty tame. You don’t have to worry about him doing something crazy for your brand. So, he’s a sharp guy. We say that we’re engineered to amaze because we’re focused on the process and what we’re doing and that’s the same thing we’ve learned from him. He’s very thoughtful about everything that happens in that race car and on the track, so we just think he’s a good representation of our brand.”
RYAN, YOU WERE THE MOST RECENT CHEVROLET WINNER LAST YEAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY. CHEVROLET HAS 10 WINS IN THE LAST 10 YEARS THERE. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT CHEVROLET’S SUCCESS AT THAT PARTICULAR TRACK?
“Yeah, I was actually talking to Alba (Colon, NASCAR Sprint Cup program manager for Chevrolet Racing), and she reminded me of that when we were doing one of our hospitalities at Pocono. It’s a pretty impressive stat actually, to have 10 in a row at a race track that’s sponsored by Chevrolet is obviously pretty cool. But to be such a big race, it makes it even sweeter. For me, had I not won, Jimmie Johnson would have and it would have been another Chevrolet in Victory Lane. In the end, it’s just an honor. I’ve always said that with Chevrolet, the difference is in the nuts and bolts and the difference is in the people; and they have proven not just in winning the Brickyard, but also in championships, that they make a difference. Those people make a difference.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES