NEWMAN SAYS THERE IS A CONTRACT ON THE TABLE FROM PENSKE
Date: Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:29 pm
Topic: DRIVER AND TEAM NEWS
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Captain Thunder sat down with Ryan Newman today at the Kennedy Space Center for a very candid interview about his future with Roger Penske, the preferential treatment Dale Earnhardt Jr. receives from NASCAR, the Car of Tomorrow, and much more.
Newman admitted that Penske has indeed put a contract on the table, but the driver of the #12 Alltel Dodge is not signing it until he sees the performance rebound at Penske.
Newman said, “Yes there’s an offer, but I have not signed it and will not sign it until I see our performance improve. Roger knows that. We have talked about it and he knows where I stand. I have to do what is best for my future and my career.”
When asked if other owners have inquired about signing, him he said there are others owners interested.
“Yes, there is other interest from a few different teams, but out of respect to my current situation I am going to keep that quiet for now. Roger and I have a date in mind that we will get together again and talk about the contract, and it’s in the near future.” Newman said.
Newman also said that there was certainly preferential treatment given to Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Sunday at Michigan when the driver of the #88 Hendrick Chevrolet broke a 76-race winless streak and took the checkered flag while driving on fumes. Earnhardt Jr. passed the pace car under caution in an attempt to save fuel as he was trying attempting to make it to the end of the extended race. He later ran out of fuel and had to be pushed by his crew to victory lane.
Newman said, “Based on the conversations we have in the drivers meeting almost every week, yes there was preferential treatment. It’s a known fact; do not pass the pace car. Whether it’s a caution or coming to pit lane, whatever, you do not pass the pace car. Yeah, I mean it’s…based on the rules that are told to us each and every week. Did it alter the outcome…possibly? Who knows…we don’t know if he had a half gallon of fuel left or three gallons of fuel left.”
“Yeah, my point is, we are told one thing, and the people that tell him not to do that are the people that let it go…so, that’s called preferential treatment.”
The Penske driver also said if given the choice, he would rather drive the ‘old car’ than the new Car of Tomorrow’. When I asked him if he could turn back the clock and race in the old car again or stay in the new car, he didn’t hesitate to answer.
“That’s a fair question and I’ll give you a fair answer…the old car. I have eight years of experience in that car, and some crews and teams have thirty years of experience in that car. It’s was easier to drive, it’s was faster, and it didn’t have a wing or a splitter to deal with. Definitely the old car.”
We also talked about Tony Stewart’s impending free agency and whether or not he would like to have ‘Smoke’ as a teammate. His answer was short and to the point.
“Tony would make a great teammate, but out of respect to my current owner and my current situation, I’m going to leave it at that. But, I know more than you at this point!”
I then asked, “So does that mean you know where Tony is going?”
Newman smiled at me and said, “I know more than you at this point.”
Indeed you do Ryan, indeed you do. - John “Captain Thunder” Nevins for www.captainthunderracing.com
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