Sunday, April 22, 2007

Teammates Newman, Busch endure setbacks again

AVONDALE, Ariz. - Penske Racing looked like it was about to shake off its setbacks and rally at Phoenix International Raceway.

But the team found itself falling victim to fate once more. Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman were running in the top 10 in the final third of the race and as high as fifth and sixth when they were caught out of sequence on pit strategy. Busch had pitted when the caution came out, forcing him to restart in front of the leaders on lap 294. He managed to finish the race on the lead lap, but barely. He did finish 18th, and he did gain two positions in the standings to 13th, but Busch couldn't have been happy about another race where he ran in the front but finished well away from it.

"It's going to be another long week at the shop," said weekend crew chief Troy Raker. "We aren't getting the fuel mileage we need right now, and it's compromising our track position. That, combined with bad luck with caution flags, is knocking the wind out of our sails right now.

"We were running solid fifth and sixth-place all night long, and the car was coming to us at the end. All the adjustments were hitting. Hopefully we'll get it together and win one soon."

Newman's night fared even worse. Not only did he pit and lose out due to the caution, but problems on his stop proved even more costly and relegated him to a 38th-place finish.

"Everything was worst-case scenario," said Newman, who is 26th in points. "I was just getting ready to roll off after the pit stop and the guys had the jack on the right side. I thought we waved off the left side tires and did right sides, and the jackman, I watched him stop like he got a signal from the crew guys that we were going to do two.

"I didn't know the guys came over and took off the left-side tires. On top of that it drug the sway bar arm off when I backed up and rolled over the tires. Unfortunate situation for about six seconds there, but it led us to be 11 laps down and we had a car that was easily capable of winning the race."

source - scene daily

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