Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Newman is back, but it's not a comeback

DOVER, Del. -- Don't call it a comeback; he's been here for weeks.

Ryan Newman's runner-up finish in Monday's rain-delayed Nextel Cup race at Dover International Speedway marked the driver's fourth top-10 in five weeks.

For Newman, who led 135 of 400 laps, it's a much-needed turnaround from where he started in the Daytona 500 season opener.

"These guys are doing a good job. We've just got to keep working on it. We're not in the best points position. We've got to stay focused on that," Newman said. "We don't have anything to give, we have to keep taking."

On top of consecutive pole starts, one at Lowe's Motor Speedway and the other at Dover, Newman's second-place finish is a season-best for the Dodge manufacturer. His recent string of top-10s has moved the driver up from 26th to 16th in points in the past five races.

"It was a good run for our Alltel Dodge, something to build on for sure," Newman said. "Believe it or not, I get out of the car with a smile, but I get a smile driving the car, too. It's nice."

Newman, who has been winless for nearly two years, has commented that his pit crew, the same crew which won the Pit Crew Challenge in May, is making strides as well.

Crew chief Mike Nelson agrees.

"The guys did an awesome job in the pits [Monday]," he said. "I don't think they could have done any better and that's all I can ask for."

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