Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ryan Newman 2011 Budweiser Shootout Preview


Newman will use the Shootout to get answers for the Daytona 500
“I think it will be the biggest potential change of events at Daytona that we’ve ever had with the asphalt and new nose, the restrictor plate being as small as it is, the fuel cans and the lack of that extra man coming over to be the catch can man. I think there are a lot of things that have changed up in reference to the tires. If you look at what we are going to go through at Daytona, it might be two sets of tires. The things we typically did we don’t necessarily have to do, so the emphasis gets put on other areas to be better or faster.

“The new Daytona is definitely going to change the racing. It’s going to change the way we race. It’s going to change a lot of things in respect to the Daytona 500 but, in the end, there’s still going to be a victor and we’re still going to see a lot of drama and unexpected things happening, just like any other time in NASCAR. To me, just that extra grip and the way we draft is going to make it more like Talladega, but it’s still not going to be Talladega. It’s going to be Daytona.

“And the whole fuel can situation is going to be very critical this year with the way that can inserts and needs to be pulled out. So there’s emphasis this year, specifically, at Daytona and throughout the season, in areas we have not had to worry about or have not had to work on, so those are going to be the things I think can make a difference. You could see something unexpected happen.

“We tested down there, but we never got more than two or three drafting in a pack, so I think being part of the Budweiser Shootout is going to be a really big deal. Not just to see how the cars react in the draft, but also to see what happens on pit road with the new fuel can. The Shootout will be the first live action for the pit crews and, while I know they’ve been practicing with this for quite some time, now, I think they will learn a lot in the Shootout. There are still a lot of unknowns for the teams, so being part of the Budweiser Shootout is a big deal and it potentially will give us an idea of maybe what we can expect in the Duels and then again for the Daytona 500, both on the track and in the pits. To be honest, everybody talks about how excited they are to kick off the season and get to Daytona but, to me, I think everyone is anxious. We want to see how all the pieces of the puzzle are going to fit together.”


Winning the Daytona 500 was a dream come true 
“Winning at Daytona was an incredible experience. I won the ARCA race there in 2001, but nothing will ever compare to winning the 50th Running of the Daytona 500 in 2008. That was a dream-come-true. After the race, I said I could hear my dad’s teardrops over the radio while he spotted for me as I came to the start-finish line to win, and I think that shows the importance of this race and this place to me and my entire family. I always said that just competing at Daytona was an honor. When I was a kid, my dad would bring me to Daytona for the 500 and we would make fake passes with construction paper and glitter so I could sneak into the garage and meet the drivers. Winning the Daytona 500 was a dream-come-true. I still can’t put it all into words, but I would love to do it again.

“For me, it was the culmination of everything that me and my family had sacrificed for all those years of building my racing career and getting me to that moment. I still get speechless when I talk about it. But winning one Daytona isn’t the goal. You want to win every race. It’s obviously the biggest win of my career, and it was a great day. I believe Dale Jarrett had said the second one can be sweeter than the first. So I’m looking forward to getting down to Daytona and trying to get that second Daytona 500 win. But it would be pretty cool to get the other wins that I haven’t gotten there before, too. I would love to start my season with a Budweiser Shootout win.”

This chassis was brand new for last season’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, in which Newman finished a disappointing 19th. For Newman, it was a continuation of his bad-luck streak at restrictor-plate tracks with the No. 39 team. With just a handful of laps remaining in the non-points event, Newman was making his move and charging toward the front. Unfortunately, Newman’s efforts were halted when he was caught up in an eight-car accident in turn three. While Newman’s car never actually made contact with the outside wall, the No. 39 Chevrolet made plenty of contact with other cars and suffered heavy damage all around.

Following the Shootout, the car returned to Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), where it got a new body. In December, the car went to the GM Desert Proving grounds in Yuma, Ariz., where the team tested the 2011 front fascia in preparation for this weekend’s race at Daytona. After the Arizona test, the body was updated and wind-tunnel tested on Jan. 28.

- True Speed Communications PR Release

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