NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
5-HOUR ENERGY 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 9, 2014
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 KWIKSET CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed track conditions, tires, his race team’s current program, and more. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
“On pure raw speed here at this race track, this Kwikset Chevrolet has grip and just pure raw speed. I think it’s the fastest we’ve ever been here; at least it feels like it to me here at this race track. So, it’s a new opportunity for me this weekend with the Kwikset Chevrolet. They are the leader in retail home security with respect to locks and I’m just proud to represent them and hopefully get them in Victory Lane.’
DID YOU RUN ANY EXTENSIVE RUNS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TIRE?
“I think our longest run was 10 laps. Based on our tire wear, everything looks really good. There have been a lot of question marks with respect to tires and durability at different race tracks. The speeds that we have here put us at risk no matter what. I think they (Goodyear) have at least, at this point, made a good decision on the tire they brought.”
NOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN ON THE TRACK FOR PRACTICE, WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS RACE IS GOING TO BE LIKE?
“The track has got to widen-out. And I don’t necessarily see the trucks widening the track a whole lot, so I think it will be more a matter of how much rubber we get. I’m not exactly sure. With a 6:30 p.m. start time, the sun will still be out and there is a chance to put a little bit of rubber on the track and hopefully that will make a big difference. When we’re out there, it’s barely two grooves wide now. I’m saying two car widths, not two grooves.
“So it’s really going to be dictated by that. Once we widen out the race track and have double-file restarts and that part of it. I just don’t see the trucks really making the track that much wider just because of their speed and the quantity and quality of the trucks that are out there.”
SINCE THE REPAVE, THE RACING HAS BEEN DIFFERENT HERE BECAUSE THE TIRES HAVE BEEN SO EDGY. DO YOU THINK THIS TIRE AT LEAST MAKE FOR BETTER HANDLING SO YOU DON’T THINK YOU ARE ON EDGE ALL THE TIME?
“Yeah, we’re only on edge because of raw speed and what we’re doing with our race cars to make them that fast. It’s not going clear back to the days of Charlotte and Vegas when the tracks were repaved and you were gripping the steering wheel for all your life to get the first couple of laps in because you were going to spin out; and the more you ran, the tighter you got. It doesn’t see to be so much that. But, it was within a tenth or two on sticker tires versus hot scuffs, so like I said, everything points to it being the right choice.”
NOW THAT YOU ARE ON A NEW TEAM, HOW DO YOU PREPARE TO MAINTAIN YOUR SUCCESS AT THE CHARLOTTE TRACK?
“Well, the 600 to me is like the Southern 500. It’s one of those races that I haven’t won that would really mean a whole lot to win. Having won at Charlotte in the Nationwide car as well as the All-Star race, I know that I can get the job done. And we were close last year. I think we finished sixth. I think we had a bad re-start there at the end and got hung-up on the line that didn’t go, which has happened quite a few times to me this year. But, hopefully that’ll flip-flop and average out and we could have some good restarts and put ourselves in contention at the end of the race. It’s a fun race track. It’s so much different (in) Turns 1 and 2 versus (Turns) 3 and 4; you really have to approach the race track a little bit differently. But in saying that, it’s so fast that you really can’t waste much time thinking about how you approach it.”
WITH YOUR ENGINEERING BACKGROUND, DO YOU KEEP A KEEN EYE WHEN TRACKS GO THROUGH HARSH WINTERS AND NEED TO BE REPAVED OR PATCHED? THEY HAD A HARSH WINTER IN KANSAS THIS YEAR
“Yes, as an engineer I always think of those things. But I don’t think you get the harsh winters here as you get harsh weather at for instance, Talladega. It has aged more because of the sun in the summer. And I think the race track here just gets covered-up with the snow and it just sits. It’s insulated. It’s got a jacket on all winter. So yeah, I think they’ve done a lot technology-wise, to help control the heave of the asphalt and it not getting bumpy as we expected it would as maybe the last repave or two repaves ago compared to what we’ve experienced at other race tracks. To me, I think that tracks that are up north kind of get that shelter from the snow that helps them get through the winter. They have hot summers here, but if you look at a place like Talladega, which to me has aged quicker than some of the other race tracks. The heat is more of a factor with respect to the oils and the aggregate that it affects the way that the race track ages.”
TEN RACES IN, WE’VE HAD EVERYTHING BUT ROAD COURSES SO FAR. AS A NEW TEAM, WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AS FAR AS YOUR PROGRAM GOES RIGHT NOW?
“Performance-wise, I think we’ve been really good. We haven’t been the fastest and we’re not leading the most laps or anything like that, but we’re putting ourselves in contention. What we haven’t done is seal-up the contention that we were holding; just that follow-through. I don’t want to call it ‘execution’; I want to call it the ‘follow-through’ of where we are. And finishing it off hasn’t been 100 percent or as good as I think it should or could be. So, when we’re running 7th, we finish 10th. And when we’re running 5th, we finish 7th.
“We just need to shine-up the performance a little bit with respect to finishing it and not just how we’re running in the middle of the race. So, outside of that it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a good experience (of) me being the plug ‘n play guy in an organization that has so much experience. I feel like we have the tools and the things that we need to have to be successful. We just have to show it.”
ON A TRACK LIKE THIS THAT IS PRETTY FRESHLY PAVED AND THAT HAD SOME TIRE PROBLEMS LAST YEAR, WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED TO SEE A NIGHT PRACTICE SESSION AT SOME POINT THIS WEEK?
“A night practice you said? It doesn’t really matter. You typically like to see a practice that matches up with your race time, but in the end it really doesn’t matter. It’s a guessing game either way. It’s a guessing game how much the trucks are going to affect the race track after we get done qualifying, you know? I don’t think it really matters in the grand scheme of things. I don’t think it changes the outcome of the performance of the race if you look at the package as a whole from the grandstands.”