“I was right behind Kenseth when he blew a right front and right behind Nemechek when he blew a right front a couple years ago. There’s no other word for it than ugly. It’s definitely a good thing to have the SAFER barriers, and we’ll appreciate it and hopefully not use it.”
But back to pole qualifying, which has helped Newman earn the title “King of Fridays.” Newman likes the title, and would like to be the king of Saturdays and Sundays as well.
“There’s several different ways of looking at that,” Newman says. “We’ve got 31 poles and 11 wins now. I’m not going to even try to pat myself on the back, that’s not the point. But we’ve done our share of winning on Fridays, and we’ve done our share of winning on Sundays or Saturday nights.
“It doesn’t make me big-headed or anything else if someone calls me the King of Fridays. I think if I can be the king of anything, that’s great. Some guys never get to be a King of Happy Hour, a King of Fridays or a King of Sundays. And that’s cool to me. But I don’t think that makes us lack at all in any other respect throughout the weekend as far as if we’re good or not good.”
Newman has also been helped by the fact that he is a college graduate – with an engineering degree from Purdue.
“I think when I’m sitting in the car after we make a run and talking to the guys, I think I have a different way of describing what’s happening to the car, in a way that as a team we can get farther forward,” Newman says. “I’ve always said the engineering degree has helped mostly with the language that I’ve learned to understand from a physics standpoint to describe what’s happening in the car. Obviously, it helps to understand the car itself. My college degree didn’t necessarily help with that, but it helped to understand what was happening and why.
“I can take any race car apart and put it back together by myself without a doubt. But to be able to understand what’s happening when you’re driving around the racetrack is one of the harder things. Describing that to the team in order for them to make the car go faster, because I don’t make those decisions, is what makes the difference.”
Cities Vie to Build NASCAR Hall of Fame
Proposals to fund and construct a NASCAR Hall of Fame were received in late May by NASCAR from five cities – Atlanta, Ga., Charlotte, N.C., Daytona Beach, Fla., Kansas City, Kan., and Richmond, Va. The proposals will be reviewed by NASCAR, with site visits scheduled for later this summer. NASCAR says it would like to have a final decision by the end of the year on where to build the sport’s first official Hall of Fame.
“NASCAR is honored to receive proposals from these five cities that all play an important role in hosting NASCAR Nextel Cup events each year,” says Mark Dyer, NASCAR vice president of licensing. “These five cities are all winners and are to be congratulated for their diligence and dedication to the Hall of Fame project. We now will get to work and study each of these proposals carefully and completely.
“Later this summer, we will schedule site visits to each of the five cities. We are excited about the prospect of partnering with one of these cities to produce a world-class facility that will enshrine the legends of NASCAR and give our millions of loyal fans a touchstone of the sport they love.”
NASCAR has enlisted the services of OnSport as a consultant during the evaluation process. OnSport previously worked on the development of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the World Golf Hall of Fame projects.
NASCAR announced last January its plan to develop a new Hall of Fame. Request for proposals were then sent to groups in Atlanta, Birmingham/Talladega, Ala., Charlotte, Daytona Beach, Kansas City, Richmond and the state of Michigan. Since that time, Birmingham/Talladega and the state of Michigan opted not to participate in the proposal process.