Friday, July 13, 2007

Newman Returns To Double-Duty At Chicago

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 12, 2007) – Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, returns to the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend driving the No. 12 Kodak Dodge Charger in Saturday's USG Durock 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

It has been nearly two months since Newman has done double duty – his last Busch race was at Darlington Raceway in May – and Newman is excited to be back in the Busch car.

“I always have fun when I run in the Busch Series and we’ve done really well at Chicago in the past,” Newman said. “We’ve been on the pole both times I’ve run here and the last time we were here we led a lot of laps and ran at the front the whole race. I’m excited to run the Kodak Dodge again this weekend and I look forward to a great race.”

It will be Newman’s third start in a Busch car at Chicagoland and his 34th in the Busch Series. Newman has started both of his races at Chicago on the pole and possesses an average finish of 14.5. He finished 26th in 2001 and third in 2005.

Newman has led 202 laps in the two events and has completed 397 laps of a possible 400, giving him a 99.2 percent completion rate.

Crew chief Matt Gimbel and the Kodak Dodge team are taking chassis PBC-016 to the 1.5-mile track, which is a new car and has never been on a track.

PBC-007 is the back-up car and was last run in Darlington where Newman finished 11th after early problems in the pits stemming from an on-track incident. Newman also drove the car at Bristol.

Of course, Newman’s biggest focus this weekend will be the USG Sheetrock 400 NASCAR Cup race on Sunday. With only eight races left before the beginning of the 2007 Chase, Newman sits 14th in points, 61 behind Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is hanging on to the 12th position.

Newman will drive the No. 12 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger this weekend for his sixth Cup start at Chicagoland Speedway and his 207th in his Cup Series career.

Newman has an average start of 7.4 and an average finish of 21. All of Newman’s starts have been from inside the top 15 and he has three top-10s, including two from the top five and one Bud Pole award.

Newman has two top-five finishes at Chicago, including a win in the 2003 event. His other three finishes have been 29th and lower.

“Chicagoland is like a mini Michigan. We’ve had some success here in the past. We won here in 2003 and we’ve got one pole here as well,” Newman added. “It’s getting down to crunch time for the Chase and we didn’t exactly have the run we were hoping for last week in Daytona, so everyone on this Mobil 1 Dodge team is hoping to have a little better weekend at Chicago before we get to enjoy our final off-weekend. I’m looking forward to the race in Chicago; we’re so close to getting back into Victory Lane and making our way back into the Chase field for 2007.”

In three races, Newman has led 163 laps and has completed 91.9 percent of the laps possible at the Illinois track – 1,230 of 1,338 - since he made his Cup debut at the track in 2002.

Crew chief Mike Nelson and the Mobil 1 Dodge team are taking chassis PRS-108 to Chicagoland, which is a new car that was tested in Nashville, Tenn., last week. The back-up car is PRS-053, which was the car that Newman raced in the May All-Star event at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Coverage of Saturday’s USG Durock 300 from Chicagoland begins at 2:30 p.m. EDT. ABC and MRN Radio will broadcast the race live.

TNT will broadcast its final Cup Series race of the 2007 season with the USG Sheetrock 400 on Sunday. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. EDT. MRN Radio will also broadcast the race.

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