Friday, June 22, 2007

Newman expecting a difficult race this weekend

Ryan Newman enjoys driving road-course cars, but that doesn't mean he's a huge fan of this style of racing.

Newman finished second at Infineon Raceway last year, so he's obviously figured something out. But he points out some of the more frustrating aspects of this style of racing we well.

"It's fun to drive the cars," he said. "It's more fun to drive a road-race car than it is to race a road-race car, because it seems like any time you have somebody in front of you, you're falling behind in nine of the 11 corners because there's only two good passing zones. It's not like an oval as far as having the opportunity to pass the guy four times a lap."

The races are demanding on drivers as well.

Newman says that the timing of the races as well as their nature can make things tough.

"They're more demanding, both physically and mentally," he said. "Last year, the toughest race I had physically was Sonoma because of the heat. I was uncomfortable in the race car.

"I had a charley horse and some burns on my butt afterwards."

He says that's one challenge, but the mental wear may be even worse.

"Mentally, keeping the car on the race track, knowing what you have to do because you get basically two opportunities to pit the car, maybe three this year because of the strategy with the fuel cell ... with either way, you've got to stay on top of your game," he said. "You've got to keep it on the race track. You can't afford to give up any track position whatsoever throughout the entire race.

"That keeps it mentally demanding."

Recovering from the race can take a couple of days, too.

"Dehydration is a big part of it," Newman said. "If you can stay hydrated, it takes a lot less time to rebound. Last year, when I was burned a little bit, it took four, five or six days."

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