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July 9, 2016

Carl Edwards

Ryan Newman

Sparta, Kentucky

THE MODERATOR: We're going to roll right into the sixth‑annual Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway. Our third‑place finisher is Ryan Newman. He's the driver of the No.31 Caterpillar Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Talk about the race. It certainly had a lot of twists and turns. Certainly looked like the cars were a handful and certainly there at the end there was a lot of strategy involved. What were your thoughts?
RYAN NEWMAN: I don't think there's a driver here that didn't have a handful at some point in Turn 3 tonight. But a good well‑played race by Luke and all of us to get the finish that we did. We did have a good car. We just never seemed to be able to get good track position and played the fuel game there at the end, did what I thought I had to do, and with no fuel gauge or any kind of telemetry was able to make it to the end. Was hoping that we were going to be the first guy that could pull that one off, not the third guy, but just proud to get our first top‑5 of the season with the Caterpillar Chevrolet and the guys at ECR and RCR have been working really hard and a night like this is definitely something that we are really proud of.

Q. Ryan, how is RCR right now as an organization, and how are you going to approach the second half of the season and what improvements you can make to get into victory lane?
RYAN NEWMAN: Well, we've definitely been building. We started the season off decent but not where we wanted to be or where we thought we should've been, but been building on it. I think the cars have gotten better, the engines have gotten better. We've been more competitive. We've still got some more work to do. We're not leading a bunch of laps or leading the most laps in a given race and talking about how we didn't win. We're talking about how we can finish in the top 5. We've got some work to do, don't get me wrong, but I'm proud of the effort that went into tonight.

Q. A lot of talk here at Kentucky Speedway in terms of the repave about trying to season it so it would drive not like a brand new track, like an older track. Did it work?
RYAN NEWMAN: I think it did but it didn't. I think everybody has got their own idea. If it was me, it would have been done better, but I think if you took the tire machine and just focused on the middle to upper groove and let the race cars work on the bottom groove, it would have helped. I wasn't here to see how many laps they ran or where the guy drove the tractor around and what all that stuff was and what tire they used when they did that. Could it have been better? Obviously, anybody can say that. But for a first race, I said before Carl got in here, I think everybody had a hard getting through Turn 3. It's kind of a design aspect of the racetrack, but I was happy that we didn't have any tire problems like the XFINITY cars and the truck cars did, so kudos to Goodyear making that tire change after the tire test. As much as we hate that coming to a tire test as a group, as organizations, to change a tire after a test, it looks like it was the right call.
THE MODERATOR: We'll also invite Carl Edwards up to the podium. He's the race runner‑up. He's the driver of the 19 ARRIS Surfboard Toyota and Carl, certainly, as I alluded to earlier, it looked like it was a handful driving that race car tonight, and then there at the end, it looked like you were going to get to the No.2 car and maybe another half lap you might have, but your thoughts about tonight's race?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I thought he was out of fuel, and he wasn't. He played it perfectly. He let me get to him and then stood on it. But we had an opportunity to win the race, and I really appreciate my crew chief putting us in that position and TRD and the power and the fuel mileage that we get. Those are great engines. We had a shot at it, we just weren't able to do it. Saved a little too much.

Q. Carl, you guys looked like you did a lot of work yesterday in practice. How did the track change throughout the night and how did your car from the start of the race to the end of it?
CARL EDWARDS: My car drove a lot differently than it did in practice. I felt like things changed a lot and throughout the night, two tires and four tires and adjustments were‑‑ it was really hard for me. I don't know how everybody else dealt with it, but it was hard for me to get the car to do what I wanted it to do. It was very difficult to drive. I think that's where you see a lot of the trouble. I imagine other people were having trouble, as well. But what Ryan talked about, that flat Turn 3 entry and how tough that is, I think that kind of makes up for the repave a little bit. It makes it a little bit‑‑ it keeps‑‑ there's something out there that shakes the field up a little bit, and that's good.

Q. You've got two races coming up, Indianapolis, kind of the tail end of those. Even though this was a fuel mileage race, does this give a little momentum to either team going into the next two races?
RYAN NEWMAN: For me, obviously yeah. It's four places better than our best finish all year. Our first top 5 from an organization, our team at least, that's a big deal. Proud of that effort. Leading into this stretch of races, especially where we are in the Chase, to have good points tonight, even though it wasn't a win. It's a small victory in itself.
CARL EDWARDS: For us our Toyota has been really fast and we just have to keep the throttle down and keep moving forward. It's easy to get bogged down in this summer stretch for the crew guys and for everyone, so we've just got to keep pushing.

Q. Carl, looked like you were trying to pass Keselowski there in Turn 2, and it looked like he was out of gas and then he just seemed to switch and took off. Did you think he was out of gas? Did you think you had the race won?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I thought he was out of fuel coming off of 4, but he actually did it very well. If he didn't beat me, I'd be more impressed. But I don't know how that works. I guess I'm impressed that he did beat me, but I don't want to be. He waited. He basically shut the car off and went right off of 4 and matched it perfectly to where I couldn't get by him down the front straightaway and then he ran like heck through 1 and 2, and then I thought maybe he'll run out down the back straight. Man, I dove it down in there trying to catch him into 3, and I couldn't even get to him.
RYAN NEWMAN: You should have hit him.
CARL EDWARDS: I tried really hard to get to him, but I couldn't. He was fast. And he actually had a very fast car all night. I guess that makes it‑‑ that helps 1 percent of the pain. But they earned it. I mean, they did a good job. They had a fast car and they got the fuel mileage, and Brad did everything right.

Q. Carl, how confident were you that he was out, and what was the calculation involved there?
CARL EDWARDS: Oh, I already had things bought and I knew what I was going to play on that juke box. I had the whole thing figured out. We'd won the race. I was pretty sure we were going to win it. That's tough. But that's the way it goes, man. You've just got to‑‑ these guys, everyone, everyone that we race against, these are the best in the world, and they always have an ability to pull something out, so they surprised me tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Carl and Ryan, thank you for putting on a great performance here this weekend. Good luck.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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