MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
PLAYOFF MEDIA DAY
NASCAR HALL OF FAME
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 13, 2017
RYAN NEWMAN, #31 CAT D10 CHEVROLET SS met with members of the media at Playoff Media Day. Full Transcript:
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GOING INTO THE PLAYOFFS? OBVIOUSLY THERE IS A LOT OF TALK AROUND MARTIN TRUEX, JR. AND HOW WELL HE HAS RUN THIS YEAR. IS THAT MOTIVATION FOR YOU?
"All I've ever cared about is myself and my team and our sponsors; and to go out there and do the best job we can. Obviously, yeah, our stats aren't as good as some others. But, you can't have Playoffs if you don't incorporate the other guys, too. The championship is not 26 races. It's 36. We'll see what we can do in these last 10 races."
OF THE FIRST SEGMENT OF RACES, WHICH ONE ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MOST?
"The first one. And, then the next one. And, then the one after that. I mean, that's the biggest concern is what's next. I mean, how do you approach what you're doing based on what your experiences are in the past? You can't approach Dover until you've gotten to Chicago and Loudon."
YOU DON'T THINK YOU CAN KIND OF RACE SEGMENT-BY-SEGMENT AS OPPOSED TO RACE-BY-RACE?
"Segment meaning per race or per stage? Or, segment meaning the first three races?
THE FIRST THREE RACES
"You can't race the second segment if you're not in after the first. And we saw what the #48 (Jimmie Johnson) did a couple of years ago with the part failure. We know what could have been his 7th (championship) then, would have been his 8th last year. So, you just never know."
HOW DO YOU THINK STAGE RACING WILL CHANGE EITHER FROM THE REGULAR SEASON TO THE PLAYOFFS?
"Stage racing is just giving us the ability to expand upon our gaps. The same things are still happening. There's just a bigger numerical gap between the first guy and the 40th guy, so to speak; which really, only 16 matter at this point. So, I think that the same situation will occur. There will just be a bigger numerical gap that goes along with it."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT EXPERIENCE VERSUS YOUTH IN THE PLAYOFFS? IS IT MUCH HARDER FOR A YOUNGER GUY TO WIN UNDER THIS SCENARIO?
"I think anybody who has experience at the Cup level at this point, after 26 races and is in the Playoffs, has just as good a shot as the other. Experience is definitely nice to have, but it's no guarantee."
YOU CAME REALLY CLOSE IN THE LAST PLAYOFFS. WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU'RE IN THAT FINAL FOUR AND YOU'RE SECOND OR THIRD WITH FIVE LAPS TO GO? DO YOU JUST GO OVER THE LINE AND PAST THE EDGE TO TRY TO MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN?
"We race at the edge all year long. So, going past that edge only puts yourself in the fence or sliding through your pit box or whatever. If you have that much left over, then you shouldn't have waited that long."
DENNY HAMLIN TALKED EARLIER ABOUT HE WENT INTO THE LAST RACE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO AT HOMESTEAD, AND HE SAID THEY'VE CHANGED A LOT OF THINGS AND HIS WHOLE MINDSET WAS DIFFERENT. DO KEEP YOUR MINDSET THE SAME ALL YEAR LONG? OR, DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT ATTITUDE DEPENDING ON WHAT TRACK YOU'RE AT?
"I watched Denny try to drive right through the #78 car (Martin Truex, Jr.) on the last lap, so I don't know where his mindset actually is (laughs) as a baseline. I don't care what other people are doing. I'm going to go out there and race as hard as I can and try to beat the other guys by doing so."
YOU'VE RACED FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN ALL DIFFERENT TYPES OF FORMATS THAT NASCAR HAS PUT TOGETHER. DOES IT MATTER TO YOU THAT THEY KEEP CHANGING IT SO MUCH? OR, DO YOU JUST PLAY THE CARDS THAT YOU'RE DEALT AND MAKE THE BEST OF IT?
"You definitely don't want to sit there and say oh man, if they would have had this playoff system when I ran good in 2003 that I would have been the champion then. You don't want to be able to say that, but in the end, it doesn't really matter. You're giving us a set of rules at the beginning of the season and everybody has a fair shot."
OUT OF ALL OF THEM, WHICH FORMAT DO YOU LIKE?
"Does it matter? Does it really matter (laughter)? I haven't seen a ballot cast for a poll to figure out if we're going to go to the next one to incorporate people's opinions. Do it doesn't really matter (laughs)."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO THE FINAL 10 AS FAR AS YOUR STRATEGY OR WHETHER YOU TAKE THESE RACE-BY-RACE OR SEGMENT-BY-SEGMENT? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO MAKE IT TO THE NEXT ROUND?
"It's lap-by-lap. It's restart-by-restart. Qualifying run by qualifying run, and whatever makes sense to give yourself the best shot. And that is different for everybody. There are a lot of moving parts as we progress through the Playoffs."
WITH YOU AND AUSTIN DILLON BOTH BEING IN THE PLAYOFFS FOR RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING (RCR), AND TALK OF POSSIBLY NOT HAVING THAT THIRD TEAM NEXT YEAR, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR BOTH OF YOU TO DO WELL IN THE PLAYOFFS?
"It's important for everybody at our shop and for our sponsors and for Chevrolet and for ourselves, personally, to go out there and give it our all. To be in this position is great. But we have the opportunity to make something better of it."
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR CHANCES ARE?
"They are one in 16, man (laughter)."
EVERYBODY HAS BEEN SAYING THAT THIS FORMAT BENEFITS THE VETERANS. DO YOU KIND OF GET THAT FEELING?
"I don't think that matters. I feel like anybody who has made the first 26 races and into the Playoffs is veteran enough to be a champion. That's my opinion."
YOU ALMOST WON IT WITHOUT A WIN. DO YOU THINK SOMEONE CAN DO THAT AGAIN?
"Barring any debris cautions, yeah."
REAL DEBRIS CAUTIONS?
"Define 'real debris' (laughter)".
OF THE FIRST THREE RACES, WHICH TRACK DO YOU POINT AT AS GIVING YOU THE BEST SHOT?
"The first one. And then, the next one. And then the one after that. Everything's got to go in order. When the first one is over with, I can't win that one anymore. So, it's the next one. Seriously, that's my mindset."
HOW MUCH HELP DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE HAVING A TEAMMATE IN THE PLAYOFFS WITH YOU?
"I think it helps, mostly for the guys in the shop because they all know that we're fighting extra hard and there's more people pushing and more arms pulling at the same time to make things better. And that makes a difference."
YOU GIVE THESE QUICK ANSWERS
"Who likes long answers?"
ARE YOU HAVING FUN WITH THIS?
"I'm having fun. Is it as much fun as it used to be? It's a different kind of fun, I guess, because you've got experience and knowledge and the newness if kind of worn off, but I'm still having fun."
YOU KNOW THE EQUIPMENT OVER AT STEWART-HAAS RACING. IS THERE ANY REASON WHY DANICA PATRICK SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET IT DONE OR PUT UP THE KIND OF PERFORMANCE NUMBERS THAT MIGHT HAVE LENGTHENED HER CAREER?
"It's hard for me to give you that answer because I got fired shortly after Tony Stewart won the championship over there. So, it's all about people and it's all about things and it's all about politics and it's all about money. And any one of those things can be an answer."
IT'S NOT AS EASY AS IT USED TO BE, IS IT?
"I don't know. I think if Lee Petty were sitting here right now he'd tell you it was harder back then. I mean, it's different perspectives."
--- Team Chevy ---