Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 8/29/14

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 09: Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway on October 9, 2009 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 Army ROTC Chevrolet, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed US Army leaving NASCAR, strength of Stewart Haas Racing at New Hampshire, the second half of the season and other topics. 

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT STARTING THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON, OBVIOUSLY THE CHASE AND THE WILD CARD BEING A HUGE TOPIC AS WE HEAD HERE INTO NEW HAMPSHIRE JUST TALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS THUS FAR THIS SEASON: “This is our place to shine and statistically I’ve run really well here on Friday’s and Sunday’s.  It’s a crunch time period for us in the season to need to do that again.  Hopefully, we can deliver, I feel like our cars are pretty good.  The U.S. Army ROTC Chevrolet was good in practice; I didn’t get a perfect lap in practice so I’m hoping I get that perfect lap in qualifying.  I just kind of caught the seams wrong just a little bit down in (turns) three and four.  It’s crunch time no doubt and we will go out there and see if we can have fun today and the rest of the weekend.”

TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU ARE DOING DOUBLE DUTY THIS WEEKEND JUST TALK ABOUT THE WAY THINGS ARE SHAPING UP FOR THE MODIFIED: “The guys have built a brand new race car we have Aggressive Hydraulics and Menards on the car.  I’m really excited it’s so much fun to drive those cars here.  Those group of drivers are usual very respectful and a lot of fun to race with.  We have been fortunate enough to win and feel like we have a good in practice we will see how we can qualify this afternoon.”

YOU ARE IN A POSITION WHERE YOU CAN STILL GET IN ON POINTS AND YET ANOTHER WIN PROBABLY WOULD PUT YOU IN GREAT SHAPE IN TERMS OF A WILD CARD DO YOU HAVE A SENSE AS TO HOW YOU APPROACH THESE RACES AS WE MOVE CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THE CHASE? “We are here to win each and every one of them there is no doubt about that.  That second win would be huge from a wild card stand point.  I think there is eight or so races left or something like that I guess they have said I don’t even keep count I just know that winning is important for our sponsors, winning is important for our team and it’s important from a points stand point. We are here to do that.  We would like to be in the top 10 and not have to worry about that, but you look at somebody like Carl Edwards who is not even in the Chase for the championship right now weather it’s a wild card or not and he tied for the championship last year.  We are in a real good/bad company there is a lot of guys that are very deserving to be in that top 10 or 12 right around so we have to work our tails off.”

YOUR CREW CHIEF WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO BE WIDE OPEN, TAKE CHANCES AND GO FOR BROKE.  IS THAT STRESSFUL OR DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT IS RIGHT UP YOUR ALLEY? “That his job to make those calls and do those things when he feels like he’s going to do it obviously he’s not going to try to jeopardize what we have going on, but he can make a difference.  We made a difference in July of last year when we were here and we’ll see if we can do it again.”

WHAT ABOUT YOU THOUGH? “I do what I have to do to try to get the best finish I can and that is each and every week.  We know no matter what we’re doing I don’t think there are any real true risks it’s not like I’m going to go out there and crash 32 other guys just to get a top 10 it’s just not the way we do it.”

COULD YOU COMMENT ON ARMY’S DECISION TO LEAVE NASCAR RACING AND SPECIFICALLY GIVEN THAT THEY HAVE ALWAYS SEEMED VERY HAPPY WITH THEIR PROGRAM DO YOU THINK BASICALLY JUST HAVING TO FIGHT THE PR BATTLE WAS A FACTOR IN THAT DECISION? “From what I’ve heard and what I’ve read there was so true politics involved.  I’ve always been very proud to represent the Army.  I learned a lot about the soldiers.  I learned a lot about their education programs that we do to recruit and the recruiting process.  I hope whatever they do it’s going to be good for the Army, it’s going to be good for the USA to recruit and educate and improve the quality of our soldiers.  Their decision is their decision and it’s unfortunate for us.  I was a proud representative of the name and the people and the colors and everything else.  It seems that time has come and passed and like I said I wish them the best but we are here to win for them this weekend and we will do that each and every other time before the end of the season.”

TALK ABOUT THE STEWART-HAAS SWEEP HERE LAST YEAR: “It was awesome for us here last year. It was a time when (Tony) Stewart was struggling a little bit too, so, to have the one-two start and one-two finish, that was awesome. Then for him to back it up, and us to win the Spring race, and him to win the Fall race, I wish we could have backed it up and finished at least second in the Fall race. But, it was an amazing place for us here, for Stewart-Haas, this race track here in Loudon. We’ll try to do it again. There is no reason that we can’t.”

WHY DO YOU THINK YOU AND TONY ARE SO GOOD HERE? “I think our cars are good, there’s no doubt. I think the Hendrick engines, I mean everything’s clicking. I like the track because I think you have to feel the tires and be on the edge. I was thinking about it last week. I think (Tony) Stewart might have a similar answer, it kind of reminds us of our old IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park) days. This kind of drives like that kind of race track where your car is on top of the race track, and you get everything that you can. There is nothing to really make it go any faster. It’s not like you are pushing the car on the banking to make it grip better. There’s none of that really to speak of here. I think just a little bit of our past. A little bit of our time. A little bit of us as far as the way we drive race cars.”

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