Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Ryan Newman could have had a worse day at New Hampshire International Speedway, but it could have been better as well.

Newman, who qualified 12th on Friday, moved into the top 10 shortly after the green flag dropped on Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 300.

A tight condition in the center of the corners caused Newman to temporarily fall outside the top 10, but he quickly made his way back towards the front and was running fifth when green-flag pit stops began on lap 69.

Newman made his stop on lap 71 and received four tires, fuel and one-and-a-half rounds up on the right-side track bar. The stop – which lasted 13.69 seconds – left Newman in 12th when the stops cycled through, but on the next lap, Newman moved back into the top 10. By lap 77, he was fifth.

The tight condition continued to plague Newman's Dodge and on his second stop on lap 98 – during a caution flag for debris in turn three – crew chief Mike Nelson called for four tires, fuel and two more rounds up on the right- side track bar. The second stop took only 12.36 seconds, but Newman still lost one position due to some cars taking only two tires.

When the third of six caution flags flew on lap 121, Newman pitted for right-side tires only, fuel and a half-round up on the right-side track bar. However, problems occurred on pit road that stalled Newman's trek to the front. After front-tire changer Ben Brown finished putting on the right-front tire, the air hose he was using was not pulled back to the pit wall and Newman ran over the hose, pulling it apart and sending the air gun into pit lane. Clint Bowyer's car ran over the air gun, tearing an oil line under his car and dumping oil on the track. Newman was then penalized by NASCAR for removing equipment from his pit stall and he was forced to return to pit road for a stop-and-go penalty.

Nelson had the Alltel crew change the left-side tires, add fuel and go up one more round on the right-side track bar, but by the time Newman had served his penalty, he was in the 26th position when the green flag waved on lap 130.

"I guess (crew members) didn't get the hose pulled back across the car and it got caught in the front of the car," Newman said. "We snagged it and that was pretty much the end of it for us. That cost us a lot of track position. That cost us a good top-five finish and potentially a shot at winning the race."

Newman had made his way back up to 20th by lap 162, but was still fighting a tight condition in his car that existed from the middle of the corners to the exit.

A second round of green-flag stops began on lap 192 and Newman was able to lead three laps and earn five bonus points, which helped him gain ground in the drivers' standings.

Immediately following the green-flag stops, the fourth yellow flag waved for Joe Nemechek's crash in turns three and four and Newman, who only had four cars behind him on the lead lap, came in to top off on fuel. He still restarted in 20th.

As soon as the green flag flew, Newman quickly advanced through the field and was running 11th when the fifth caution came out on lap 254. A 13.42-second pit stop dropped Newman to 12th on the restart, again due to cars in front of him taking only two tires.

After receiving the green flag on lap 259, the caution flag flew again before the field could complete one circuit when Bobby Labonte's and David Stremme's cars crashed. When the race restarted on lap 263, Newman was 12th, but by the time he'd completed one lap, he had returned to the top 10.

For the remaining 35 laps, Newman fought Kyle Busch for the 10th spot and ended up coming out ahead when the checkered flag waved on lap 300, earning his seventh top-10 finish in 2007 – six of which have occurred in the last nine races.

Newman remained 13th in the drivers' standings, 127 points out of 12th.

Next weekend, Newman will drive the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. TNT and MRN Radio will have live race coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

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