Ryan Newman broke a two-year winless streak Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway.
Newman talked about the win for his Stewart-Haas Racing team after the victory. Here are excerpts of that interview:
Question: How emotional was it to finally win again after a 77-race drought?
Newman: It was tough. It was tough last year, I'm not going to kid you, when I come to a new organization and it's the same organization for Tony Stewart and he won all those races. Looking back at it, we were close, but we gave some of our races away and we know that. We knew what we needed to do to make our team better. And I feel that we've done that. We proved that tonight. So it was a long time coming for me. The emotional part when I first started in the series, it just came easy. I was with a great team. Had great crew chief, great pit stops, all those things just kind of came easy to me, and then as it Ð I got towards 2005, got to struggling a little bit. I got a win here or there, but it was not dominant like we were back in 2002 and 2003. And to come to this new organization and achieve the things that we did was great last year. But, as I said all year long, I wanted to get that first victory for our team and for No. 39 and these guys at Stewart-Haas Racing who had never been to any victory in any series, and we did that today.
Question: That was the first win for crew chief Tony Gibson. How did that feel?
Newman: We've had our struggles. We've had some poor pit stops. We've made the wrong calls. We've done lots of things wrong. And we've done lots of things right. But we just didn't put it all together on a given night. And tonight it happened. Martinsville we were close. We just didn't get the restart we wanted. It was a great team effort for Tony and his calling the two tires and the guys did a great job on the pits tonight. It took everybody. It took a good race car, and all the people behind us at Stewart-Haas.
Question: Before that late caution and the decision to gain track position for the final re-start with two tires, what were you thinking about your car?
Newman: I thought a op five for us was going to be a good day, two top fives in a row wasn't something we had since May or June of last year. So I would say I was satisfied. But I wouldn't be satisfied with that. I was happy that we were competitive, more competitive than we had been here last year and we made improvements as a team and as an organization, and that gives us an opportunity to win a race. Fortunately the yellow came out and we proved that.
Question: Was it lucky?
Newman: Usually when we have no luck, it's a better day. Any kind of luck is usually bad luck for us.
Question: How emotional was the win for you personally?
Newman: It's a long time coming for me. I couldn't believe it. I saw the white flag and thought, 'Man, I don't have that far to go.' Two tires was a good call because the track had cooled off. Earlier in the day, two tires wouldn't have been good enough.
Question: What did your boss, Tony Stewart, have to say?
Newman: He told me he loved me, and I told him I loved him back. It's the most-emotional victory in my entire career because it's been so long.
Question: Who's decision was it to change only two tires at the end of the race?
Newman: I've got to throw Gibson under the bus. He wanted to go four, and I said, 'Just give me two.' I liked the track position. I'd rather block than have to boot. I was in a good position there, obviously. On two tires, I was kind of impressed-but there were a lot of cars behind us with two tires. It was a good situation to be in. It was just the right time, right place.