Sunday, July 8, 2007


Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, was having a top-10 day until the final 35 laps of Saturday night’s Pepsi 400.

Newman started the race from the 14th position after qualifying was rained out on Saturday night, leaving NASCAR to set the field based on owners’ points. Within four laps, the caution flag waved for the first time and Newman was up in the top 10.

The first 13 of 26 laps would be run under yellow-flag conditions and while Newman didn’t get much of a chance to get a good feel for the balance in green-flag laps, he radioed in to his crew that he was “definitely on the free side”. He also informed the Alltel crew that he needed more grip.

After coming in for his first pit stop on lap 17 and receiving four tires and fuel, Newman still fought the loose condition, but the car began to tighten up on him as the run went on and Newman was comfortable with the balance of the race car.

By lap 40, Newman was running in the top five and was pretty happy with the car only needing more grip.

When the caution flag waved again on lap 57, crew chief Mike Nelson brought the Alltel Dodge down pit road for their second stop of the night.

“It’s a little free in turns one and two, but good in turns three and four,” Newman relayed to Nelson. “It’s free in general.”

In order to tighten the car up, Nelson called for two rounds down on the right side track bar along with four tires, fuel and a half pound of pressure out of the left side tires.

As soon as the field took the green again, Newman said that the car was just a tick loose, but after 10 laps, the car got aero tight and Newman wanted the car freed up a bit on the next stop.

The field cycled through one round of green-flag pit stops and Newman came down pit road for his third stop on lap 110. To loosen the car up, Nelson had the Alltel crew put two rounds in the right rear wedge along with four tires and fuel. Once Newman got back on the track, he radioed in that the car was a tick free, but soon the car began to tighten up on him.

On lap 122, Newman – who was running fourth at the time – got shuffled out of line and fell back through the field, dropping out of the top 10. He dropped as far back as 17th at one point and had a hard time fighting his way through the field without any drafting help.

With 15 laps to go, Newman made his way back into the top 10 after avoiding the spinning car of David Gilliland, but Newman wouldn’t be able to hold on to that spot. When the checkered flag waved on lap 160, Newman was in the 14th position.

“We started 14th, finished 14th and fell to 14th in the standings. The only good result was we’re only 61 points out of 12th now and we entered the race 127 out of 12th,” Newman said after climbing out of his car. “It’s going to be tough, but we really want to qualify for The Chase. We had a good car tonight, but we didn’t get a good finish with it. We’ll try to bounce back and get ‘em next week in Chicago.”

Jamie McMurray, who had been just behind Newman in the drivers’ standings, earned his first win in five years and with the victory, McMurray moved ahead of Newman in the points. Although Newman fell to 14th in points, he gained ground on the 12th position and is now only 61 points behind Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who holds onto the 12th spot after finishing 36th following an accident on lap 14.

Next weekend, Newman will drive the No. 12 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. TNT will broadcast their final race of the 2007 season begining at 2:30 p.m. EDT. MRN Radio will also cover the race live.

Newman will also be driving the No. 12 Kodak Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Busch Series race. The USG Durock 300 will be broadcast live by ABC and MRN Radio starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 14.

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