Although he led the circuit...
Although he led the circuit last season with 8 wins, it took Newman 15races to celebrate his first victory this season.
SCR: Would you agree that you've been a little more inclined todo that this year?
NEWMAN: I wouldn't say more inclined. I would say after eightwins last year people will listen to me a little more than before.
SCR: So it's a matter of being more comfortable with yoursituation?
NEWMAN: I think it's people being a little more comfortable withme.
SCR: With DNFs last year you were somewhat snake bitten. You woneight races but had five DNFs, and you had three this year in the first15 races. How much of a concern is that and what can you do about it?Does that frustrate you?
NEWMAN: It's frustrating, especially when it's not of your doing,like when you get caught up in somebody else's crash or somebody else'swrongdoing. It's frustrating but you know you can overcome that. Whenit's your own--multiple engine failures or something like that--that'swhen it's extremely frustrating.
SCR: Do those things cause stress or friction within the team?
NEWMAN: Without a doubt. But you've got to fight through it andnot fight with each other.
SCR: Has that been a problem in the past?
NEWMAN: Not with our team, no. I've seen it with other teams butnot with our team.
SCR: Last year a lot of teams probably would have folded and notwon eight races given the bad luck you had.
NEWMAN: The two restrictor-plate crashes, the fire at Michigan,going up on our side at Watkins Glen--we went through a lot of thingslast year. But we were able to come back and get those eight victoriesand 11 poles, finish sixth in points, and still have a shot. Although wewere over 600 points behind at one point, we still had a shot with threeraces to go at the end of the season to be the champion. We can'tcomplain.
SCR: How much does you background and training as an engineerhelp in those circumstances, when things get tough? Maybe you don't lookat it from an emotional perspective but see it more as a rational, A, B,C thing. Is that a fair statement?
NEWMAN: Well, you're a product of your environment and the peoplearound you. We've got a lot of great people here on this Alltel Dodgeteam. My upbringing and people around me help us be who we are.
SCR: By upbringing you mean your family background?
NEWMAN: Family upbringing and values and morals and things likethat.
SCR: Did your dad race while you were growing up?
NEWMAN: Never raced. Wanted to. He just put me in a seat at ayoung age and never looked back.
SCR: He was a race fan, obviously?
NEWMAN: Big fan. Very big fan, as well as my grandparents.
SCR: So they were all NASCAR fans?
SCR: So you knew who Cale Yarborough and David Pearson were whenyou were growing up?
NEWMAN: My first quarter midget number at 4-and-a-half years oldwas 43.
SCR: So you were a Richard Petty fan, or your parents were?
SCR: How much did your open wheel background help when you madethe transition to stock cars? You hear about car control and things likethat.
NEWMAN: The car control, racing the different race tracks, andnot becoming a track champion, but instead becoming a series champion.That's what this series is all about, the multiple race tracks, thedifferent venues, from road courses to superspeedways to short tracks tointermediate tracks, flat tracks, banked tracks, a little bit ofeverything. That's a huge positive that I have, my upbringing as far asracing different race tracks across the country, whether it was inquarter midgets or Silver Crown cars.