This Week’s No. 31 Grainger Camaro ZL1 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Ryan Newman will make his 610th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start when the Series competes at the 2.5-mile speedway this weekend. He scored the victory in 2013 at this prestigious event after starting from the pole and leading 45 of the 160 laps scheduled. In 17 total starts, the “Rocket Man” owns three top-five and four top-10 finishes. The South Bend, Indiana native has led 59 laps in competition and has an average start of 9.2 and average finish of 16.8

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What do you remember most about your 2013 win at the Brickyard?

“Early in the race Jimmie Johnson got by me and I came off Turn 3 and it really hit me for some reason that I can’t screw this up because we had a really good car and a really good shot to the win and we really did. We kept ourselves in the hunt the entire day. I don’t think we fell back any farther than fourth or fifth. My crew chief Matt Borland did the right thing at the end and made the call to take two tires. We assumed the lead and used the track position to our favor. The victory was a dream come true.”

What was the last lap like?

“Once I got the white flag and knew I could bring it home, I knew I had it. I just made sure I kept the nose clean. It was a special moment for me because I got to talk to my dad coming out of Turn 3 on the way to the checkered flag. He was my spotter at the Daytona 500 when I won and for him to be up there spotting for me in Turn 3, it was really special.

“Believe it or not, that’s the only race my wife and kids have been with me in victory lane. I don’t think they were really old enough to appreciate it. Both kids didn’t really want to kiss the bricks and I think now, they would definitely lay their lips all over the bricks.”

Why is it so hard to win at Indy?

“Indy is about so much horsepower and so much downforce because it is flat that you have to have the complete package there. The cars are so rigid now and stiff that it’s really all about downforce and horsepower. Everybody has to do their job. Pit lane is really tight, narrow with long pit stalls. It’s really easy to get in trouble there. Lots of little things can go wrong there. Regardless, it’s a special track with all its history.”

You finished third last year, how do you approach Indy this year since you’ve got to win it in order to qualify for the Playoffs?

“I think we got a little lucky last year by finishing third. We had a whole bunch of damage. We just want to go out there and do our best. It sounds simple to say but everybody has to do their job. It is the last race of the regular season. We need a win to make the Playoffs and we need to win to have a chance at the championship.”

Why would winning a second Indy be special for you this season?

“I guess to be able to go back and defend something is special. I have an opportunity to go back and add my name again to a trophy that’s hard to win once, let alone, twice. Plus, we’d be in the Playoffs.”