When Ryan Newman hits the high-banks of Bristol Motor Speedway for the race this weekend, his car will have a slightly different look. He’ll have Quickens Loans on the quarter panels of his Chevrolet – however Quickens Loans has a special promotion going on. They’re doing a billion dollar bracket challenge, in which Newman says is simple to win.
“Just get a perfect bracket, which I think is like one in two hundred million, trillion odds; but it’s a great opportunity to engage with the fans, not just in our sport, but with college basketball,” Newman commented. “If you nail the bracket, it’s a billion dollars. There is some form of losers bracket as well, bracketology there too, as well. They’ll give out some money for that, too. But the ultimate goal is to win the billion dollars. Quicken Loans is a big supporter of ours and we appreciate the opportunity to let us come race. But in the end, we talk about their college bracket.”
Newman says that the promotion is a no brainer for Quickens Loans, given they’re located in southern Michigan in the heart of basketball country.
“Even if you just plain old get lucky, you get lucky! So, go register,” Newman added.
Newman hasn’t filled out his bracket yet as he says it’s on his to-do list. He says that given he likes to over analyze things, it may become easy for him to over-think how he wants to do this.
“So I don’t know if I’m going to take the over-think approach or the under think approach,” he commented.
While fans look to get lucky and get the billion dollars, Newman is hoping to get lucky and survive the carnage that Bristol is famous for. Newman avoided trouble in practice – while a couple others weren’t lucky as they had to roll out their back-up cars.
“It’s a big transition, I think, for us this weekend; not only with the new rules package, but with the new tires that we have here (and) getting a grasp on that,” Newman suggested as the cause. “It seems like the cars are really, really sensitive to some changes just because the cars are so stiff now because of the rigidity of how we’re running them. Once you lose it, you really lose it; which is kind of what we’ve seen. More aerodynamic-related at other race tracks; but here, more mechanical-related.”
Newman adds that as a result, the tires should fall off more than normal and bring handling into an even bigger question with the track marbling up as it was in practice. Newman says that it’ll be tough on drivers come race time as if you get in the marbles, it normally takes you two or three laps to get back going again.
” You want to have the confidence in the race track and your race car to be able to put it anywhere so that you can pass at any time,” he continued. “And obviously the track is pretty narrow. So, giving us the ability to move around is a good thing.”
Though don’t worry – there is some grip – actually, lots of grip. It’s all about keeping it.
“Once you lose that grip, it’s kind of gone,” he commented. “That’s a full slide. You have to run it right there on the edge to kind of feel it.”
Whether the marbling-up condition will continue throughout hte weekend nad transfer to the race, is yet to be seen.
“I think if they blow the race track off and we go straight to the top and doing our thing like we have done here in the past, it won’t be an issue,” Newman said. “But as of right now, it’s laying a lot of marbles and we’re running the bottom to the middle; so the top third of the race track really is marbled-up. So, I don’t know that it’s going to be an issue, but it has potential more so I think now, than last year.”