Crash.Net NASCAR News
Newman Phoenix Victory Q & A
11 April 2010
Q & A WITH RYAN NEWMAN ON HIS WIN AT PHOENIX
Q: As the race came down to a couple of final laps what were you thinking?
RYAN NEWMAN: I don't know if I have enough words. But the last restart, didn't really know what to expect. The inside, from what I had seen, hadn't been the ideal lane all day. I'm not sure if Jeff didn't get a great restart. I didn't feel I did, but it was just the right place at the right time.
Two tires paid off, clean air, and track picked up so much grip as we went there, and it was just right time, right place. And gotta thank Tornados and Chevrolet and the U.S. Army and Haas Automation and Coca Cola and Kraft and Gillette and all the people that have stood by us.
It was a long time coming for me personally, 77 races, but to see Tony Stewart win so many races last year and be so close but not get that victory, this is really awesome for us and our team.
Q. I will verify that Jeff Gordon said on Pit Road he spun the tires on the restart and he was kicking himself afterwards. Maybe that explains what happened at the end. But could you talk about that and the restart?
RYAN NEWMAN: I did the best I could. I knew from what my car had done every restart is a push down on 1 and 2. I got a good start and hooked the apron just right. Got a good run to the green, which is so difficult here.
I was talking to, of all people, Kyle Busch about it before the race. I mean, this is one of the longest straightaways we have before the green flag from Turn 4. Most tracks are D shaped and you can kind of see, but here it's really hard to gauge, at least when you're mid pack, what to expect on a restart.
So I had one opportunity earlier in the race when I was on two tires and it didn't pan out at all. And to go back later in the race and be on two tires with more laps then left still be able to pull it off was amazing.
Q. Can you talk about the decision to go for four; for two and how much you and Tony discussed it and who made the final call?
RYAN NEWMAN: Gibson wanted to put four on it. I said, put two on me. I didn't want to get jumped by a bunch of guys that did two. As it turned out, I don't know where the first guy was that finished on four tires. I don't know if he was even in the top five. He made the ultimate call.
I was the one that suggested two tires but he made the ultimate call on of two tires on Pit Road. And it was ultimately the right call. I think like the top five, we're two tire car, so it was all good from my standpoint.
Q. I think you said it was an emotional one because it's been so long. What's it been like for you? For a while you were winning races and you were one of the people that fans were mad at because you were winning every week. How that does when you're a driver, how is that going through that experience, trading that experience?
RYAN NEWMAN: It was tough. It was tough last year, I'm not going to kid you, when I come to a new organization and it's the same organization for Tony Stewart and he won all those races. Looking back at it, we were close, but we gave some of our races away and we know that. We knew what we needed to do to make our team better.
And I feel that we've done that. We proved that tonight. So it was a long time coming for me. The emotional part when I first started in the series, it just came easy. I was with a great team. Had great crew chief, great pit stops, all those things just kind of came easy to me, and then as it I got towards 2005, got to struggling a little bit. I got a win here or there, but it was not dominant like we were back in 2002 and 2003. And to come to this new organization and achieve the things that we did was great last year.
But, as I said all year long, I wanted to get that first victory for our team and for No. 39 and these guys at Stewart Haas Racing who had never been to any victory in any series, and we did that today.
Q. Ryan, obviously some people are going to say you stole this one. Kyle was way in front when that last caution came out. However, you were running near the front almost all race. And can just the fact that you did win it, can that just change everything around for you guys just the momentum of that? Just going to victory lane again and regardless of how you do it, just the fact that you got there, can that be a difference that can propel you guys the rest of the year?
RYAN NEWMAN: I thought Kyle stole one last night, so he's just even now. It's racing, man. It's racing all the way up until the checkered flag falls. You never know what happens.
That's why fans love the sport and the strategy and the drama and what's going to happen and how teams play it out. Four tires, two tires, no tires. I'm surprised that there wasn't a guy that went out there with no tires just to see. There was 24 cars in the lead lap, it's like why wouldn't you? Some guys just don't take that risk, and I was glad that they didn't tonight.