Overheard at NASCAR Media Tour

This week marked the annual preseason NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman share their take on the upcoming season, in addition to a number of other subjects.

Here are some of the most memorable things our drivers had to say during this week’s event:

Austin Dillon on brother Ty Dillon’s reaction to earning a Cup ride:

“I’m very proud. He was emotional. He cried and gave me a hug. It was cute. It’s special; he’s put a lot of effort into it and it’s what he’s wanted to do his entire life. I’m happy for him, and he should be happy and excited. Now it’s time when the work really begins, and I’m looking forward to working with him. I think he’s an asset to RCR.”Austin Dillon Media Tour

Ryan Newman on his first job:

“As crazy as it sounds, I’m still looking for my first job and that’s no lie. I have never really held a distinct job. I have worked for my dad and I’ve driven race cars all my life, but I have never had a job that really expected me to be there for a certain time, five days, 40 hours a week. When I worked for my dad, I had responsibilities, but I was usually in school and he gave me the flexibility with school to make my own schedule at my dad’s auto repair shop.”

Paul Menard on Carl Edwards’ decision to walk away from NASCAR:

“Knowing Carl the way I know Carl, I figured that’s the way he would do it. You know, ‘I’m done and I’m going to do something else.’ It was a surprise but not that surprising. I think his kids are around the age where Carl being gone all the time is tough. A six-year-old boy having his dad gone all the time is tough. So I think that played a big factor in it. I can’t blame him.”

Austin Dillon on RCR’s quest for its next win:

“It sucks. No one likes to go winless. We want to wipe that out as soon as possible… We can be aggressive this year and do what it takes to be ahead of the pack.”

Paul Menard on giving and receiving the ‘one-finger salute’:

“I’ve been on the receiving end of the one-finger salute and on the delivering end many times. My first one was with David Greene at Phoenix Raceway in practice. He gave me the one-finger salute, I couldn’t figure out why and I still don’t know. We are friends now, but that was my first time experiencing that in NASCAR. After the race now, you can’t even remember if you did that to someone or not. If someone does it to you then you must have done something to make them mad.”

Ryan Newman on this season’s crop of rookie drivers:

“Stay out of the way.”Ryan Newman NASCAR Media Tour

Austin Dillon on where his dad, Mike Dillon, watches races on the weekend:

“When the race starts on Sundays, he can’t sit still. He does a good job of just going with the flow. He went and sat in my bus with my fiancée last year, and she had to kick him out because he was getting too jacked up. He gets jacked up and gets mad at me and gets mad at the crew. He calms down and wants to love on you. He’s competitive and that’s where a lot of my fire comes from. He’s always pushing.”

Paul Menard on his love of ice racing:

“There’s a series in the Midwest called the International Ice Racing Association. We race full-size passenger cars with some classes being fully modified and others being more stock. The tires are studded and you go out racing on a mile-and-a-half to five-mile road courses in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Canada, all over.”Paul Menard NASCAR Media Tour

Ryan Newman on which driver would be the mastermind of an “Ocean’s 11” style casino heist:

“I would say myself with a little help from Clint Bowyer who has a little evilness to him. I’d probably have to mix in a couple of the Busch boys because they are from Vegas and would know at least a couple of escape routes. I’ve got a lot of mule in me so I could handle (being the muscle). I’m probably the guy that didn’t carry the dynamite but did carry the safe.: