Monday, June 18, 2007

Penske Racing endures long day at Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Penske Racing's drivers looked like they had finally escaped the bad luck that has dogged the team for months. Sunday proved that's not completely the case.

Both Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch suffered ill luck that cost them during the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Newman fell victim first, hitting something that caused a tire to fail, then getting caught up in a crash that cost him even more positions.

In the end, he finished 37th, four laps off the pace, and dropped two spots to 15th in the standings.

"We just caught a piece of debris or something and it popped that tire," he said. "It wrapped itself around the caliper and rotor and stuff and it cost us three laps."

Then came the crash.

"Jeff Green ran out of talent there ... [and] caused a big crash," Newman said. "The race track is capable of going three- and four-wide. We saw it all day, but he couldn't do it."

Green obviously saw things a little differently.

"[Newman] came across our nose on that restart," he said. "He was trying to get by [Jeff] Gordon and get a lap back, but I don't know what made him think he could squeeze in there. Maybe his spotter told him he was clear. It tore our right-front fender off, and that took us out of it."

Later, Newman's teammate would also find problems. Busch was putting together a good outing before a loose lug nut forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop and cost him his shot at a strong finish. Busch finished 25th but remained 16th in the standings.

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