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Jun 27, 2014 - 05:30 PM
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2014 Kentucky Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Ryan Newman
Posted by: ASkyler on Jun 27, 2014 - 05:28 PM
NASCAR News
2014 Kentucky Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Ryan Newman


RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed his ‘best/worst’ season to date, the characteristics of the Kentucky race track, upcoming qualifying at Daytona, and more.

TALK ABOUT CATERPILLAR RENEWING THEIR SPONSORSHIP AND WHAT THAT MEANS TO THE TEAM

"It’s great for all of RCR and it’s great for me, personally. Caterpillar has been such a big sponsor and a great name in NASCAR for so long. It’s a great way for them to get their dealers involved, and the dealers who are fans involved, and some that don’t know it yet. It’s been a lot of fun this year working with Caterpillar, so it’s nice to see them sign-up to come back and keep doing this."

YOU HAVEN’T WON A RACE THIS YEAR YET, BUT THERE ARE SOME GUYS WHO WILL GET IN ON POINTS. YOU ARE CURRENTLY RANKED #2 OUT OF THE SIX THAT ARE POTENTIALLY IN THERE NOW. ARE YOU BASICALLY TRYING TO FIND TWO WAYS TO SKIN THE CAT?

"This is probably the best worst season I’ve had (laughs) as far as just not having the ultimate numbers. Our average is good, which is still a part of getting yourself into the Chase if there are not 16 winners. So, we have to win. We want to win. If you’re going to win the championship, you’re probably going to have to win something. I don’t see that the winner of the championship doesn’t have a race victory under his belt.

 

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"But we’ve been working hard at it. The guys at RCR as well as ECR have been working really hard at it and I think that we have some things in the works that are going to make us better. But I know that everybody else does, too."

IN LOOKING AT YOUR FINISHES. YOU HAVE CONSISTENCY

"It’s probably the longest in my career to not have a top 5 in any given season, but at the same time we’re sitting eighth in points, which is probably twice as good as I was at this time last year if I remember roughly. So, that part of it is better. That’s why I said it’s the best/worst year I’ve had without top 5’s and a few top 10’s; and yet consistency-wise, we’re eighth in points."

IS THERE SOMETHING TECHNICALLY THAT YOU THINK CAN MAKE THINGS A LITTLE BIT BETTER?

"It takes a little bit of everything. From underneath the hood to pit stops to myself; the race car, strategy-wise, some racing luck. We’ve probably had about as bad of racing luck as you could have had last week at Sonoma. We were going to pit twice when the caution came out twice, two different times. So it changed our strategy and our track position. Had we have gotten to the pits when we wanted to, or if the caution didn’t come out, we would have been right there with Carl (Edwards, winner) and Ambrose right up front. Not to say that we would have won the race, but we were good. We had to fight back from 21st to 11th in the last 17 laps. Just things like that. We’ve made mountains out of molehills and we’ve made molehills out of mountains."

THERE IS AN OLD SAYING IN BASEBALL THAT THE LONGER YOU PLAY; THE MORE LUCK TURNS YOUR WAY. IS THAT TRUE IN NASCAR?

"You can create your own luck. And some of it is there to haunt you. In the end, you’re going to catch a piece of debris and run over it and get a flat tire. It’s going to happen throughout the year. But it doesn’t mean it happens on the first lap or the last lap, but that’s where the good luck or the back luck comes in, is if you have a chance to rebound. When it’s happened to us, we haven’t had a chance to rebound. It’s usually been on the last pit stop or the last cycle and here we are fighting back at the end of the race and you can’t do that after everybody gets their stuff sorted out."

HOW DOES THE KENTUCKY TRACK DIFFER FROM OTHERS

"Well it really is a big circle with the exception of the back straightaway. So that’s one of the biggest things. It’s got a D-shape appearance from the sky, but it drives like a big circle with a small straight. And the character of the bumps is probably like no other right now, as far as the roughness of the race track. It seems like Goodyear has brought a really good tire here that hangs on and it’s rubbering the race track up. One of the best things I think I’ve seen all weekend so far is the fact that the track rubbered up before we even got through half of our practice. Usually it takes, like Michigan, it takes until the end of the race for the track to get good. And we’re starting with a better race track here."

CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW BUMPY IT IS WITH THE NEW SET-UP NOW?

"It bumps you around to the point that it’s difficult to see at times. The front straightaway is really, really rough."

WHEN YOU SAY ‘ROUGH’, IS IT ‘CORNFIELD-ROUGH’ (LAUGHTER).

"You’ll see the in-cars (cameras) and if you just do that with your head and try to stay focused, it’s not easy."

HOW MUCH DOES IT CHANGE FROM YEAR TO YEAR?

"Well, the cars have changed more than the track has. It’s always been a typically rough track, but we’ve gotten stiffer with the chassis because we’ve gotten lower with the chassis and that part of it just makes it that much rougher. It’s like taking a car with no suspension over the railroad tracks. It doesn’t ride like a Cadillac."

AT DAYTONA COMING UP, WHAT’S THE KEY TO FINISHING UP FRONT THERE?

"Daytona, it’s just so much different than it used to be, which is how I liked it when you could slip and slide around. But you have to have a fast race car and you have to put yourself in position for that last little section. And you have to have a good enough car to not get shucked out of line. It all depends. It could end up being a fuel mileage race. It could end up being a multiple green-white-checkered race. You just never know there."

WE WILL HAVE KNOCKOUT QUALIFYING THERE FOR THE FIRST TIME. DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE LIKE THE CHAOS WE SAW AT TALLADEGA?

"Yeah, I’m not a fan of it at all."

WILL YOU HAVE A PLAN WITH YOUR TEAMMATES?

"Oh, we’ll have a plan; but to me it’s not what qualifying is all about."

WHY?

"Well, it’s not qualifying. Qualifying shouldn’t be chaos. You said it yourself. It’s not what we’re here for. It’s not what I’m here for."


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