Driver of the number 39, U.S. Army Chevrolet, Ryan Newman is in his ninth full season in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. Last season, he qualified for the 12-driver Chase for the Championship for the first time since 2005 and finished the season in ninth-place.
This Sunday Newman will be racing in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Presented by Target at Pocono Raceway. Prior to the race, Newman with join Grand Marshall John Cena and other Gillette Young Guns, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano in a promotional event that will attempt to turn NASCAR fans from “skeptics” to “believers” of Gillette’s newest razor – the Gillette Fusion ProGlide. Select “believers” also will have the opportunity to participate with Cena in the pre-race activities, which includes commanding the drivers to start their engines.
We caught up with Newman earlier this week.
Trading Paint: That was a nice finish last week at the Coca-Cola 600.
Ryan Newman: It was good to rebound. We started off with a pretty good race car. We had a decent car we just didn't have a winning car. I wasn't happy with the overall performance, but it was a good points night. When you're stuck in traffic and dirty air it's hard to move forward. But when we got in clean air at the end, the U.S. Army Chevy was a lot faster.
TP: That finish moved you into 12th place in the standings, is it too early to be thinking about the Chase?
RN: We are always thinking about it. It's never too early in the season to think about it. You really just have to make it happen because as a driver, that's our ultimate goal.
TP: Can you talk about racing for the U.S. Army over Memorial Day weekend?
RN: It's extra special having the U.S. Army on my chest Memorial Day weekend. These men and women fight for our freedom and we can't take that for granted. It's actually something that, before I started working with them, I took for granted.
TP: The Indy 500 was last weekend, did you watch?
RN: We're racing people, so yeah, we watch the race. You don't have to agree with that style of racing to watch it. It was a pretty wild finish there.
TP: Tony Stewart is in his second year as an owner-driver, how is that going?
RN: He's been a great leader. He has great experience. It's very difficult to do what Tony's doing. He has great people working for him and We have had a lot of fun on the race track and off.
TP: You are in the Poconos this weekend, talk about the challenges of racing there.
RN: The Poconos is the most unique race track we go to. All three corners are different. It's fun for a driver and a nightmare for a crew chief. It's different banking, different straightaways. From are car standpiont it's hard to get a car to do all three things right.
TP: And what about the atmosphere?
RN: It's a pretty laidback atmosphere. I like it. There are some really nice bodies of water and you get a chance to do some great fishing. I enjoy that aspect of it.
TP: Do you think NASCAR will find its way into the New York-Metro area?
RN: I know that New York has a lot of race fans which baffles me because they are different from our typical demographic. If they built a track in the metropolitan area, we'd see just how many great NASCAR fans there are in New York. We'd love to come to New York just as it would be cool to be able to do something in Seattle for all the great race fans in the Northwest.