Click here for video footage of Newman's Talladega crash.
Q. Obviously, a lot of frustration and concern for you last weekend. I believe you mentioned thinking about things from an engineering standpoint. Looking at it from an engineering standpoint, could you talk about what your frustrations were last week, what you see? From an engineering standpoint, are there things you see that could have be done differently that would have prevented some or all of that?
Ryan Newman: Always, because every crash is different and every situation is different, whether your car gets spun around by another car or it just takes air by itself.
Ultimately, yeah, there are things that I feel can and should be done. I sat down with John Darby and Robin Pemberton Wednesday morning. We talked about two different things, the extra indication of myself from the accident scene and secondly, the reason why we're in that position in the first place, which is to me more important.
From an aerodynamic standpoint, ultimately our biggest thing is to keep the racecars on the ground. Crashes have always been a part of racing. There are fans who like that. Sometimes that adds to extra excitement, don't get me wrong. When we can bounce off each other, get the car fixed, go back out and try to win a race, I understand that part of it. Keeping the racecars on the ground is how we keep the drivers and especially the fans safe. So that's the one thing.
From an ironic standpoint, that's why I was probably the most frustrated after the race last weekend. I was in the media center talking about the very same thing on the last lap of the spring race. To live out what my frustrations were from six months before was difficult, as well.
From an engineering standpoint, whatever we can do speed-wise and aerodynamically to keep the cars on the ground – in particular, things in the back of the car, when it sees the air first for downforce, keep the lift out of the back of the cars is what we need to focus on.
There has been testing done. I learned some of that stuff on Wednesday morning talking to Mr. Darby and Mr. Pemberton, that they have tested. But I don't know that they have tested everything. I don't know that you can test everything. But obviously more testing needs to be done in order to make it safer for everybody.
Speed is a part of it. The faster you go, the more likely you are to take lift. We were talking before, an airplane takes off at 160mph. We're 40mph above that at times. There's plenty of potential for a car to take lift, whether it's going forward, backward or sideways. We have to take everything into consideration, as drivers, as teams, as a sanctioning body, to control that situation.
Q. Specifically, do you think a spoiler on the back would not have caused the lift? Are there specific things you recommended to NASCAR?
RN: That's kind of my point from our conversation, is, “Do you think” is not the answer. We have to do testing so that we know.
Yeah, I think there might be potential for a spoiler to react differently than a wing, for sure. I don't know that it's the answer. As we've seen before, I believe it was Matt Kenseth's Nationwide crash, his car got airborne with a spoiler on the back of it. That's not the answer; that's not the fix. I've been part of crashes with spoilers on the back of them and a wing on the back of them, unfortunately. Can it be a part of the fix? Yeah, potentially. Is it a better alternative in conjunction with other things you can do to the car? Maybe.
Those are the things that NASCAR and the teams have to test collectively so that we can make it safer and better for the drivers and, like I said, more importantly, the fans.
Q. Are you satisfied with the integrity of the car, considering your helmet was wedged in there like that?
RN: That was the only thing. Like I said, part of my first answer was, every crash is different. When I had 3,400lbs come down basically on my head, I never was compressed physically in the car. I have to explain it a little bit. It's just like a head-on collision. When two cars hit head on, you get the force of both. I had the force of me going up in the car while the car was coming down on me. I was compressed. My spine was compressed. But I never was compressed to the point that it pushed my butt down into the seat.
There was an instantaneous load there that hurt – don't get me wrong, I'm still sore from it. But I was never wedged. Once they got the car back upright, I was able to take my helmet off, there was room there. It wasn't like I was physically wedged.
The second part of my answer is, I was, I guess, a little disappointed in the fact the cage crushed the way it did. I know it was a heck of a hit, don't get me wrong. We've got to be able to learn from that. Whatever we might be able to do from a welding standpoint, from a wall thickness standpoint with the tubing, to make it stronger so that doesn't happen again is equally as important from a safety standpoint.