Check out the press release featuring Ryan Newman and Matt Borland talking about taking the #39 team to Texas to try and take home a checkered flag in the AdvoCare 500!
Ryan: “Obviously, that’s our goal. I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight, but I do think it’s something we can do. Matt and I understand each other and I think we speak a similar language. Although Matt hasn’t been a crew chief for a while now, he is still very in touch with every part and every aspect of the racecar. He understands a lot about the racecar. Obviously, he’s not been here each and every week to see the changes in the tracks. He’s missed some things, but he’s still very involved. I think we had a good first outing last weekend at Martinsville, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do this weekend in the Quicken Loans Chevy.”
Talk about racing at Texas.
Ryan: “I always look forward to racing at Texas. I love the speed at Texas. It’s a fast racetrack. Texas is actually one of the fastest tracks we go to all year, so you have to be on top of your game because things can happen pretty quickly. It’s a track I’ve always liked, although it doesn’t necessarily show in my finishes. It’s a smooth, fast racetrack and there are multiple grooves, so it’s fun to race there. The asphalt has aged the track to the point it has gotten better and better each time we come back. What I mean is, the track has basically gotten wider. It’s gotten a bit more character. A little more bumpy, which is fine. I like it. I think, in general, the track has gotten wider and racier each time we’ve come back. It’s got less grip, but that’s fine. I’d rather slide around a little bit and be in charge of my racecar than be stuck to the racetrack.”
Assess your first weekend with Borland back on the pit box.
Ryan: “I was really proud of Borland and the entire team. It was kind of a learning weekend for everyone. There was a new group of guys working on the cars in the race shop and at the racetrack, so we all had to get to know each other and understand each other and communicate. And to be honest, I was really happy with everyone’s effort. We got behind in first practice with our Quicken Loans Chevrolet because we made a change that didn’t work, and we kind of stayed behind through qualifying. We didn’t qualify as well as we wanted, but we felt like we had a good racecar for the race. During the race, we just couldn’t get our car right. We got two laps down, but we got those laps back and we were inches away from a top-10 finish. So for a new crew chief and a new crew, I think it was a great weekend. I was proud of everyone. I was proud of the rebound we had. I think we learned lot, and I’m really excited about Texas because this is a track that I really like.”
Can you and Ryan pick up where you left off and have the same kind of success you did in the past?
Matt: “That’s our goal and I think we can get there. We’re going to do everything we can to get back to that but, for a lot of the teams, that’s what they’re after, so it’s a challenge. I think we’re realistic and know it’s going to take a little while. That’s why we’re running these last few races this season. He’s obviously been doing this every weekend for the last 10 years or so, and I’ve been not doing it for the last six or so. It’s getting me back on the same page but I think things went pretty well last weekend at Martinsville.”
What made that relationship between you and Ryan so successful? Why is having a relationship like you had so important?
Matt: “I think just attitude, probably, and work ethic. Everything was about racing, everything was about winning and everything was about that particular moment in time and being the best you can be. For us, I think the biggest reason is, in the Cup Series, you have to have a strong relationship because you don’t have data acquisition on the car. You’ve got to be able to trust what that driver is saying. You’ve got to be able to know what that driver is saying is right. So you’ve got to spend a lot of time talking about what’s going on with the car, what he’s feeling. Sometimes, you might not get that answer in the first 30 seconds of a conversation. It might be four hours down the road and you’re talking and you’re like, ‘Wait a minute, you just said something here. I remember you said something over here that matches that.’ If that relationship is not good, you don’t have those two-, three-, four-hour conversations, you end up with those 30-second conversations. So then, when you are making decisions, you don’t really have all the information you need.”
Assess your first weekend together with Ryan at Martinsville?
Matt: “It was nice to be back. It was good to see everybody and be in a familiar job setting. Being back on the box felt good. The guys did a great job at the shop getting the cars ready. I don’t have a single complaint with anything other than dialing the car completely out in the middle of the race. But, luckily, we got it back. We figured some things out, I think, so that’s all good. I just can’t say enough about the guys getting the cars ready. All in all, it was a good day for our Quicken Loans team. We would’ve liked a top-10 finish, but we’ll take 11th and head to Texas.”