RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS/THE SMURFS CHEVROLET SS – RACE WINNER
WHAT WERE THOSE CLOSING LAPS LIKE?
“Just stay green that was the biggest thing was I knew we had a good car. Quicken Loans Chevrolet was good all day. First of all I have to thank Quicken, Outback, Wix Filters, Aspen Dental, Code 3, State Water Heaters, Haas Automation, Sprint for giving us this opportunity, an ice cold Coca-Cola and Chevrolet. Starting on the pole and winning the race just an awesome day for us. I’ve got to thank all the fans for coming out. Matt Borland (crew chief) made an awesome call. I’ve won more races with him on old tires and out of gas than I have with four tires and the best car. Hendrick horsepower was the main thing today. Thank Tony Stewart and everybody at Stewart-Haas this is a dream come true for me I can’t wait to get over and push my lips against those bricks.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LOOK AROUND AND STAND RIGHT HERE IN VICTORY LANE?
“I don’t realize it yet, it’s a dream come true. I don’t think that if it hits you all at once it’s not good enough. It will take a week or so for this to set in. Just thank everybody for this opportunity, everybody in my racing career. This is just like when I won the Daytona 500. Everybody that helped me get to that day same thing again, thank you. Just so appreciative for all these guys. They work so hard. We struggled on and off this year, but just a great run today. I’m happy it stayed green we needed that, but that’s racing, Jimmie (Johnson) did a good job he had a good car. I stayed in the back there and kind of watched him a little bit then he would check out there on the restarts and I had to come back. A great long run car with our Quicken Loans Chevrolet and man what an ending to a day.”
THE UP’S AND DOWN’S OF RACING TWO WEEKS AGO IT WAS ANNOUNCED YOU WON’T BE BACK WITH THIS TEAM WHAT DOES A WIN LIKE THIS DO FOR YOU?
“The biggest thing is confidence. Confidence for me, confidence in the team, confidence with me in the team. We still have a championship to go after. We still have the Chase to chase and there is still plenty of racing left. This is a great day for us in points. That doesn’t mean anything. Tomorrow is a new day. Come Pocono this will be the past.”
BACK HOME IN INDIANA BUT THIS IS A PIECE OF REAL ESTATE YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN IN BEFORE HOW DOES IT FEEL?
“This is awesome. I’ve only had so many opportunities. It’s not like we come here twice a year. Quicken Loans Chevrolet was amazing today the best car I have probably ever driven in my career. It takes that here at Indy you have to have a good car. Matt (Borland, crew chief) did an awesome job calling the shots and taking the two tires and getting us the track position. We needed that. Just thankful, my family everybody is here and all the people that have helped me get to this day it’s just as special as it was in Daytona. You get guys like Rick Hendrick coming up and congratulating you after winning this one. It’s a dream come true. I won’t hit you in five minutes, it won’t hit you in five hours, but maybe in five days come back to me.”
WHERE DOES THIS RANK? THE DAYTONA 500 YOU’VE BEEN A WINNER NOW THE BRICKYARD 400:
“You have seen the Victory Lane in both of them this is pretty cool here. No need to compare it this is pretty damn cool.”
HOW MUCH STUFF WERE YOU HEARING GOING WRONG WITH THE CAR ONCE YOU HAD THAT TRACK POSITION?
“I was tricking myself. I’ve got a messed up mind and I knew it was 10 to go and I said 12 to go to myself. I started at 12 and I was hoping it would go faster. My daughter is two and a half years old and I’m thinking this to myself while I’m out there. My daughter is two and a half years old and I’m teaching her how to count. That is the longest it takes to countdown from 10 in my entire life because the laps are so long here. Just an awesome ending for our day, Quicken Loans, the Smurfs 2, Sprint, all the things that they do just so many people that make a big difference. I’ve got so many primary sponsors, Wix Filters, Aspen, Code 3, Outback, everybody makes a part in what we do today.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 2ND:
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE DISAPPOINTMENT RIGHT NOW?
“There is definitely disappointment there, but this is racing that stuff happens. I have given away a couple late in the race myself this year. We win as a team we lose as a team, it’s just how it is. I wouldn’t take another race team out there. I’m very proud of this KOBALT Tools Chevrolet team and everything that goes into it. Great day, Ryan (Newman) was fast all day long. I can’t take anything away from him. At the beginning of the race he paced everything for a long time. I think he got mired back in traffic for a while there. Towards the end of the race he worked his way back to the front and he was plenty fast. A big hats off to Ryan and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CAR YOU HAD HERE TODAY?
“It wasn’t the easiest one to drive. I was real tight in and then loose off. If I had clean air and the track to myself I could get my line right and run the laps I needed to, but in traffic it was a little tougher than what I wanted. It still was an awesome race car. Just came up a little short today, but we will load up and go to the next one and try to win next week.”
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND RYAN NEWMAN TODAY?
“Second is never fun especially at the Brickyard. Bummed out with that, but stuff happens. We had a problem on the last pit stop and I believe the No. 39 took two (tires) as well where we took four (tires). He was coming really strong on four the run before. I don’t fault the call by any means. To be honest I have squandered away a few wins late in the race myself here in the last month or two. All in all a very strong weekend, of course we want to be in Victory Lane, but hats off to Stewart-Haas Racing our teammates over there and to Ryan it’s going to be a special day for him to win here.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 3RD:
YOU HAD A ROCKET IN THOSE FINAL 25 LAPS:
“Yeah I think we did the whole race at times. We just really got going at the end of the race. We had a really fast Great Clips Chevrolet. We kept falling back too far. Just things happen and we got back and then you have to pass. You get so far behind with track position here. It takes a while to get back to the front. The guys did a nice job, had a really fast car. Great Hendrick horsepower was key and congrats to Ryan (Newman) he had a big weekend. He deserved it and needed it.”
IF YOU HAD TO DO OVER WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE TODAY ABOUT WHAT YOU GUYS DID IN TERMS OF PIT ROAD?
“Well I think we would start with the car just a little bit different. I really struggled behind cars early in the race and got really tight off the corners. Once we fixed that we were really competitive with everybody and at times were the best car.”
ON HIS RACE:
“I have just always liked this place. It’s a pretty neat track to race on and enjoyed the race today. We got back there a few times and we were able to work our way back through. It’s awesome Great Clips Chevrolet and tons of Hendrick horsepower so it was enjoyable to drive this car. We just never got to the lead, but at times I think we were the fastest car we just never got up there.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 4TH:
TODAY YOU FINISHED FOURTH BUT YOU ARE A WINNER. DESCRIBE YOUR FEELINGS:
“I can’t wait to give him a hug and congratulate him. He has just done an awesome job all weekend getting on the pole and he was in the hunt all day. He led early obviously and it was down to him and the No. 48 car that was easy to see. I didn’t know what the strategy was going to be at the end. I just kept looking up at the board and watching.
“I was scared to ask where he was at and how big of a lead he had. Finally with three (laps) to go I couldn’t wait any longer, I finally asked and wanted to know what was going on. I just didn’t want to jink him. Just kept watching the jumbo trons every time we would come off of (turn) four and was watching to see where he was at. Just really proud of him. He’s a great teammate he’s an even better friend. Just couldn’t be happy for him, this is awesome, this is our home race. Couldn’t be any better than this.”
WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY HERE AT THE BRICKYARD:
“Oh my God, what a dream. I have been waiting for the day we could get Ryan (Newman) in Victory Lane like this at a big one. Man, it is just awesome. What an awesome week, he did an awesome job getting on the pole and an awesome job today all day. Him and Matt Borland (crew chief) and everyone on the Quicken Loans team they just did an awesome job. I’m proud of our guys we had a solid day too. Proud for Mobil 1 and Bass Pro and everybody. What a great job by Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) and great Hendrick horsepower. You’ve got to look at the board there and see six cars in the top seven that are Hendrick engines. That pretty much tells you where the power is at.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 6TH
ON HIS RUN: ”I thought it was good. We had good speed. I thought the strategy was good. We had a loose wheel on the start of the race; that was weird to have a loose wheel then. We changed our strategy and made it work. The car had good speed. Right at the end, we were either running out of gas, or had a little bit of an engine problem the last two or three laps. I almost lost another spot. But the car just quit running at the end. I don’t know if it was out of fuel or what. But the fuel pressure was good.”
WAS IT A TOUGH DECISION TO COME IN THAT EARLY, OR WAS IT THAT BAD? “Yes, yes. I’ll tell you, you can’t have a wheel come off here. You’re running that thing at 200 m.p.h. at the end of the straightaway, you don’t want to take any chances. We came in. Steve said it was loose and it was a good job and a good save.”
IS THAT A RARE THING TO HAVE A LOOSE FIELD AT THE START OF A RACE. “Yes. As you can imagine, it’s rare.”
HOW MUCH SECOND GUESSING WERE YOU DOING THERE?
“I knew it was loose. The car was shaking real bad, and wandering in the back-end on the straightaway. You have a wheel falling off; you have something serious happening. Come in, it’s dangerous staying out there. You can hit the wall, or wreck something, or wreck some other people. I don’t want to do that. It is a long race. We had an early chance to fix that, and that is fine. It gave us an opportunity to try some different strategies, and it worked out for us.”
WERE YOU WORRIED THAT THE STRATEGY MIGHT LEAVE YOU GUYS HIGH AND DRY?
“Yes, a little bit. But it is still a long race, and Steve is a good strategist, and we ended up all right. The car had good speed; we finished about where we should.
HOW DIFFICULT WAS YOUR DAY WITH RANDY (EARNHARDT) PASSING?
“It was really tough. He helped me through a lot of challenges when I was trying to become a race car driver. He was there when I started driving late models. I went through the whole process of racing with Tony (Eury, Sr.) and all of them through the Bud car. Randy was always there. I hurt for Mamaw and Randy’s brother and sister, Danny, Kaye and Cathy.
“It is just very, very sad, but I am glad his suffering is over with. He is going to be missed. He was awesome, such an awesome guy. He kept things together (at DEI). He was in charge of a lot of different things. Mainly in charge of where every nut and bolt was. He was accountable for everything. After the racing after I left and everything kind of went away, he stuck around. He was loyal to Dad, and really looked after everything that was there and that was my Father’s and what would have been important to him as far as material things. Randy really looked after that. It is tough. It is part of life, and it is hard to get used to. I am just glad his suffering is over with; he was having a real hard time. I loved him dearly, and will miss him a lot.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 7TH
ON HIS RACE:
“You had to fight extremely hard today. It was just pit strategy and speed in the car and traffic it was not easy I can tell you that.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 9TH
A SOLID TOP-10 FINISH, BUT THE STRATEGIES WERE KIND OF WEIRD, TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY: ”Yes, the strategies were kind of weird. It kind of hurt us in track position. Our car wasn’t that good that good on the straight today; I don’t know why. We will have to look at it. Even when I got a good run, it kind of bogged down. Just really struggled with the balance. We had a pretty competitive car at the beginning of the race, but it just couldn’t seem to be able to keep up with the race track. Everything I did, it still wouldn’t turn at all, we all the entry stability.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/ BEAUTYREST CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 14TH
ON HIS RACE:
“The 14th-place finish is unacceptable,” said Busch. “We were strong in practice but had trouble in the race running in traffic. The car was loose and didn’t have the traction that was needed on this track. We’ve accomplished a lot thus far this season, but one area we need to improve upon is finishing strong. No question we have to run better than we did today if we want to get into the top-10. We are definitely capable of making it happen, but we need to have strong finishes in the next six races.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 30TH
ON HER RACE:
“You know it just wasn’t anything special. I just kind of kept with it and hoped to catch a break somewhere or that the car would get a lot better and it just kind of stayed real steady. We took two tires on one of the stops and we got track position out of it, but unfortunately it just didn’t run very well. So, we tried something; it just didn’t work and that’s that. It just was what it was. When we came into this weekend, I said okay, I’m not going to try to take anything from the car that it doesn’t really have and unfortunately that’s what we had today; or that’s what I had today.”
WHAT IMPROVEMENTS DO YOU THINK YOUR TEAM COULD HAVE MADE FOR YOU THIS WEEKEND TO GIVE YOU A BETTER RESULT?
“I think just more laps in practice would have been good. I know this track very well, but I didn’t feel like I knew it in this car. So, I didn’t feel like I was extremely comfortable as in I knew where to take the car to the limit. More time would have probably helped. That’s where experience comes in and it’s not like Indy. We don’t have a whole week. So, we’ve got to get it done in a couple of hours.”
YOU’VE GONE THE WHOLE NINE YARDS WITH INDYCAR AND NOW NASCAR. WHAT DOES THIS TRACK MEAN TO YOU?
“I said it all week that this is a special place and always will be. It would have been nice to have a better day than this and be able to march forward. We just didn’t. And that’s just all there is to it. Sometimes these are just the days you have. So, that’s all right; we’ll roll on to Pocono and hope for better.”
WAS IT NICE TO SEE YOUR TEAMMATE, RYAN NEWMAN, IN VICTORY LANE TODAY?
“Yeah, yeah. Ryan, he is an Indiana boy. He got the pole so I’m really happy for him. I’m happy for Stewart-Haas. We’ve had a trying year for sure and so, the high point of Tony winning at Dover and Ryan winning here is pretty cool. This is a special place and I’m sure he’s very happy in Victory Lane.”
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT RACING IN STOCK CARS AT INDIANAPOLIS?
“I think I just got more familiar with the track and realize how important restarts were here, a lot. They are very, very important. You know just being able to keep the car free enough to get around the track. You use a lot of throttle here and if you’re tight on throttle or if you’re tight in general, it’s kind of a killer with these long corners. So, we’ll be better next year.”