NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
THE COMBAT WOUNDED COALITION 400 AT THE BRICKYARD
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 22, 2016
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 GRAINGER CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed his thoughts on this weekend’s race, what Jeff Gordon’s toughest challenge will be and the hot temperatures that the driver’s face this weekend. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND’S RACE?
“It’s just a great opportunity. I look forward to being back home again in Indiana and having an opportunity to race for that Brickyard trophy and kiss those bricks. It’s hot and it will probably be something we will talk about on Sunday for sure from what I’ve been told, but nevertheless it’s the same for everybody. This is a sport where only the strong survive. The strongest have the best chance to get to Victory Lane. We will see how strong we are.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE TOUGHEST CHALLENGE WILL BE FOR JEFF GORDON THIS WEEKEND?
“I would have to say the biggest thing that comes to mind would be people. I mean they have a lot of good people obviously at Hendrick Motorsports, but just working with the personalities that he has only seen from the outside, so to speak. He has worked with Greg Ives, he has worked with those guys he knows a lot of people on the team, but now they are responsible for him and he is responsible for them. I think that when it comes to making strategy calls, trying to miss the cone when you are committing to pit road on those types of situations when it’s last second, that experience, that past experience pays a lot. You’ve got to get the inflection of somebody’s voice is all it takes sometimes to make you own the answers or make you own decisions. I think that with a big race like this, with different strategies and fuel mileage that something as simple as that could be one of the biggest hurdles so to speak.”
WHAT DO YOU THE REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS ARE FOR JEFF GORDON?
“He has the best stats of anybody or as good of stats as anybody here at this race track as far as top-five’s and top 10’s. I think that he is driving the same equipment it’s not like he’s in somebody else’s race car. He knows what he’s driving, he knows the people he is driving for, so I don’t see any reason why he is not one of the guys to beat. I mean he has always been that guy here and has more wins than anybody. I don’t know that it matters a whole lot that it’s the No. 88 versus the No. 24. I think it’s no different than it was last year.”
WHAT WILL BE THE MOST DIFFICULT PART GETTING BACK INTO THE CAR?
“Just getting a feel for the car and the tire. He has experienced this rule package last year. It’s not like it is totally different to him, but just getting a good feel and balance for the car is what we all try to do. He probably has that feel better than most with his stats, but it doesn’t mean it comes easy.”
DO YOU THINK THERE ARE THINGS THAT TRANSLATE BETWEEN INDY AND POCONO?
“Yeah, I have always said the Tunnel Turn at Pocono was the closest thing to any corner here at the Brickyard. If you feel like you are super competitive at Pocono in the Tunnel Turn and not necessarily in any other turn you have something to work with for this race this weekend. Yeah, there are similarities, but the tire is different, conditions are a little bit different. It’s a fun race track and it can be a miserable race track because it’s twice the amount of work in one given lap. You’ve got an entry, middle and exit four times, not two times. If your car is good it’s nice, but if it’s not it’s completely miserable.”
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO MAKE THE HEAT MORE MANAGEABLE THIS WEEKEND?
“Go faster. (Laughs). Just be hydrated is the most important thing, because if your body physically starts to lock up then your mind goes right behind it. So, being hydrated is super important and just getting the hot spots off of you. In other words making sure that your feet don’t get hot, make sure that your shifter handle is not hot, make sure the bottom of your seat is not hot, those types of things. Those hot spots can kind of distract your mind.”
IS IT GOING TO BE HARD TO ADJUST FROM LAST YEAR’S HIGH DRAG PACKAGE TO THIS YEAR’S CONFIGURATION?
“It will be easy to adjust to driving the race car. It will be more challenging to adjust to how the cars race. Not having this package here and the set-up’s that we run make it a challenge at times to race in dirty air. We make the cars as fast as we can in clean air. It comes at a price sometimes or how they race in dirty air. We won’t know that obviously until we get 40 cars on the race track on Sunday.”