NASCAR News

Sunday Morning's MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award Press Conference
with Ryan Newman
September 21, 2003

Go to our forums to discuss this article

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTELL/WEGA Dodge Intrepid) -
Note: Ryan Newman won MBNA's Mid-Race Leader Award en route to his second victory of 2003 earlier this year at Dover. MBNA awarded him a total of $30,000 for the feat. Today, any race-winner who also earns the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award will net a total of $70,000.

"First of all, with the whole weather issue I think some people are happy and some people are upset. Some people want to qualify, and some people don't. We would like to have qualified, especially after getting the pole here in June. But, we can't beat Mother Nature when it comes to getting the pole. We just came in on Friday night, and came here ready for practice on Saturday morning, which is something I've never done. I don't know if any of the guys have ever done that, or if this situation has ever happened before, but we just kind of took it for what it was and went with it. The car was pretty good in both practices, and that's pretty much it.

"This is the same car we had here in the spring. It's also the same car that we won with at Michigan and Chicago, so it's definitely a good car. We've got it repainted with a special paint scheme from Sony on top of our ALLTEL Dodge. It's a different paint scheme, and this is the one race we're doing with Sony.

On power-steering not being a problem this race...
"I hope so. That was really a handful. I think it was the last 180 laps here in the spring race. We had a really good car, and losing power-steering is like having somebody reaching over and trying to do whatever you don't want to do with the steering wheel - as far as turning it the opposite way you want to go. You've really got to work extra hard at it. It was fun, but it wasn't fun.

On yellow-flag rule revisions in effect during Busch race...
"I think what they're doing is the right thing from a safety perspective. They've even admitted that as far as working the bugs out of it that there are going to be some things that might be criticized along the way. But, they're trying to be considerate of everybody. I think the only hiccup is going to be around the car that gets its lap back each caution. Other than that, it's pretty cut and dry. When the yellow flag comes out, you don't race back. It doesn't matter. From what I understand, when the yellow comes out people are locked in, and if you pass you're susceptible to a penalty. How are they going to lock people in? I guess by eyeball is the way they're doing it. I know that they're working on some systems, as far as electronically, to make that happen. The technology is here, but it's just not here yet. Talladega is a special scenario. We'll see how it happens here and if the same rules even apply to Talladega.

"If you're on the lead lap and you're trying to keep cars a lap down, or if you're a lap down and trying to get back on the lead lap, you can be a little bit more considerate and cautious. But you'll see, and you have seen, that the guys that are a lap down are wide-open and trying to get their lap back. That was the dangerous part of it. It was never usually the lead lap cars that cause the safety issues. It was the lap-down cars. I have nothing against those drivers though, because I've been one of them before. I think the last time I was in that situation, racing back a lap down, was at Las Vegas. I came off of turn four when Junior was leading, and there was a wall of smoke. I would have gotten my lap back had I not lifted, but I decided to lift from a safety perspective and it cost me not getting my lap back. There's situations like that where I could've gone wide-open through it and got my lap back 15 laps sooner and maybe have had a different shot at winning the race. But I chose the safe route. It's tough.

"I've talked to John Darby about that, and the way that works is if somebody does spin somebody out and they were up to get their lap back, they will not get their lap back. Again, it's a fairy legitimate call by NASCAR.

"I think we've had a great season from a win-perspective and a 'sitting on the pole'-perspective. I'm not mad a NASCAR about the points system or anything else. It's the same system that we had last year, and nobody had any problem with it then. Matt Kenseth has done an awesome job at what he's doing. We've missed on some things and they count all 36 races, not 30.

On strategy for Talladega...
"Hang on. That's really all you can do, just hang on when you get in those situations. When you're up front at those racetracks it's a piece of cake - anybody can drive those cars. But when you're in the back and you're trying to get to the front and there's no air on the car, it's really a handful. Talladega is a lot less susceptible to the handful part of it than Daytona is. But still, three or four-wide at a racetrack like that can be pretty wild. You just go in it and do the best job you can. You've got to hang on. I'm not trying to be smart, I'm just being realistic.

On future spoiler changes...
"I haven't tested them, no. I think what they're doing is trying to go in the right direction, as far as slowing the cars down aerodynamically and at the same time giving them a little more throttle response. It's something that's super, super hard to do with these cars now because they're making so much horsepower, they're basically cutting them in half for those racetracks. I don't know. It's just basically a trial and error test to see if it works.

On racing with Tony Stewart who was one lap down in the last Dover race...
"Let me clarify that. He had gotten a lap down through his own fault in the pits. It wasn't a cut tire or anything else. He was right behind me coming back to the yellow, and I gave him the bottom line through turns three and four and he wasn't able to pass me. So, I gave him the opportunity to race me back and he didn't beat me back to the line. So, I gave him full opportunity to get his lap back, which he lost himself.

On repeating as the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award winner at Dover...
"It'd be nice. I think it's cool what (MBNA) has done with the award. A lot of series don't reward the mid-race leader, and then they double up for the race winner. This is something that I know used to happen a lot in USAC, sprint cars and Silver Crown racing. People used to sponsor each lap. There was a big bonus for the halfway point, and then obviously they had the big check at the end. I think it's cool, and it's something that you haven't forgot in the history of racing."

Today's Starting line-up (based on points since qualifying was rained out)

Pos.

Car

Driver

Make

Sponsor

Speed

Time

Behind

1

#17

Matt Kenseth

Ford

DeWalt Power Tools

N/A

N/A

N/A

2

#8

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Chevrolet

Budweiser

N/A

N/A

N/A

3

#29

Kevin Harvick

Chevrolet

GM Goodwrench Service

N/A

N/A

N/A

4

#48

Jimmie Johnson

Chevrolet

Lowe's

N/A

N/A

N/A

5

#12

Ryan Newman

Dodge

ALLTEL

N/A

N/A

N/A

6

#24

Jeff Gordon

Chevrolet

DuPont

N/A

N/A

N/A

7

#97

Kurt Busch

Ford

Rubbermaid

N/A

N/A

N/A

8

#18

Bobby Labonte

Chevrolet

Interstate Batteries

N/A

N/A

N/A

9

#5

Terry Labonte

Chevrolet

Kellogg's/got milk?

N/A

N/A

N/A

10

#15

Michael Waltrip

Chevrolet

NAPA Auto Parts

N/A

N/A

N/A

11

#20

Tony Stewart

Chevrolet

Home Depot

N/A

N/A

N/A

12

#31

Robby Gordon

Chevrolet

Cingular Wireless

N/A

N/A

N/A

13

#99

Jeff Burton

Ford

CITGO

N/A

N/A

N/A

14

#2

Rusty Wallace

Dodge

Miller Lite

N/A

N/A

N/A

15

#9

Bill Elliott

Dodge

Dodge Dealers

N/A

N/A

N/A

16

#6

Mark Martin

Ford

Viagra

N/A

N/A

N/A

17

#40

Sterling Marlin

Dodge

Coors Light

N/A

N/A

N/A

18

#42

Jamie McMurray*

Dodge

Havoline

N/A

N/A

N/A

19

#16

Greg Biffle*

Ford

Grainger

N/A

N/A

N/A

20

#38

Elliott Sadler

Ford

M&M's

N/A

N/A

N/A

21

#22

Ward Burton

Dodge

Caterpillar

N/A

N/A

N/A

22

#32

Ricky Craven

Pontiac

Tide

N/A

N/A

N/A

23

#21

Ricky Rudd

Ford

Motorcraft Quality Parts

N/A

N/A

N/A

24

#25

Joe Nemechek

Chevrolet

UAW/Delphi

N/A

N/A

N/A

25

#19

Jeremy Mayfield

Dodge

Dodge Dealers

N/A

N/A

N/A

26

#10

Johnny Benson

Pontiac

Valvoline

N/A

N/A

N/A

27

#88

Dale Jarrett

Ford

UPS

N/A

N/A

N/A

28

#77

Dave Blaney

Ford

Jasper Engines & Transmissions

N/A

N/A

N/A

29

#7

Jimmy Spencer

Dodge

Sirius Satellite Radio

N/A

N/A

N/A

30

#1

John Andretti

Chevrolet

Pennzoil

N/A

N/A

N/A

31

#23

Kenny Wallace

Dodge

Stacker 2

N/A

N/A

N/A

32

#30

Steve Park

Chevrolet

America Online

N/A

N/A

N/A

33

#154

Todd Bodine

Ford

National Guard

N/A

N/A

N/A

34

#01

Mike Skinner

Pontiac

U.S. Army

N/A

N/A

N/A

35

#41

Casey Mears*

Dodge

Target

N/A

N/A

N/A

36

#45

Kyle Petty

Dodge

Georgia Pacific

N/A

N/A

N/A

37

#0

Jason Leffler

Pontiac

NetZero HiSpeed

N/A

N/A

N/A

38

#49

Ken Schrader

Dodge

BAM Racing

N/A

N/A

N/A

39

#74

Tony Raines*

Chevrolet

Staff America

N/A

N/A

N/A

40

#4

Kevin Lepage

Pontiac

Kodak

N/A

N/A

N/A

41

#43

Jeff Green

Dodge

Cheerios

N/A

N/A

N/A

42

#37

Derrike Cope

Chevrolet

Friendly's/GBR Online

N/A

N/A

N/A

43

#02

Hermie Sadler

Pontiac

TBA

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

Did not Qualify

44

#150

Larry Foyt*

Dodge

Harrah's

-

-

-

45

#27

Scott Wimmer

Chevrolet

Bill Davis Racing

-

-

-

46

#189

Morgan Shepherd

Ford

Racing With Jesus

-

-

-

47

#79

Billy Bigley

Dodge

Arnold Development Companies

-

-

-

48

#44

Christian Fittipaldi

Dodge

Bugles

-

-

-

49

#71

Tim Sauter

Chevrolet

TBA

-

-

-

The author can be contacted nascar@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article

 

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

Back to the top

AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
User agreement & disclaimer

Copyright 1999 - 2003, AutoRacing1, Inc., Hamilton, NJ