Sunday, July 15, 2007


Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, led the Dodge contingent in qualifying Friday, earning the third starting position for this weekend's USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

It was the sixth top-10 starting position for Newman in the last eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.

“We were second quickest in practice and I did my quickest lap the second lap," Newman said after emerging from his two-lap run on the 1.5-mile track with a time of 29.595 seconds, 182.463 mph, just 0.015 second behind pole winner Casey Mears.

"I ran two [laps] today and the first one was really, really good. It just wasn’t good enough, but it was a good run for the Mobil 1 Dodge Charger to start in the top three. I look forward to the race. I think we have a very competitive car based on our race trim times today [Friday].”

Newman, the 41st of 49 drivers to record a qualifying lap, predicted during his post-qualifying interview in the track's media center that Sunday's 267-lap race would produce side-by-side racing.

"We’re very, very confident that it will be three-wide racing at some point at both ends of the race track," Newman continued. "And the track, for whatever reason, feels like it has quite a bit of grip because it’s really, really fast; there’s already a second groove out there. I know I was passing some cars in the Busch practice. The Busch race depends on how wide it will get for the start of the race, and on Sunday. I think, without a doubt, it will have some second and third grooves, so it may be faster on the bottom.”

Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400 begins at 4 p.m. EDT. It will be televised on TNT and broadcast on MRN Radio. This is the final race this season for TNT.

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