Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Newman, Stremme, Raines excited to be home

Ryan Newman and David Stremme grew up in South Bend, Ind., and Tony Raines is from Laporte, which is west of South Bend.

All three drivers are geared up for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and claim there is more to life in northern Indiana than Notre Dame athletics.

"It's always been known for Notre Dame football and basketball, whatever it is," Stremme said. "Auto racing in that area is strong. You can go race different tracks, and it's tough. That's what helped me be able to move on and get the experience I needed to compete at this level.

"Ryan and I grew up only three miles away from each other. He was open-wheel racing. I was stock car racing. We went to school together. Tony Raines (13 years older than Newman and Stremme) actually raced with my parents when I was a little kid running around the track. I got to watch him race."

In six career starts at the Brickyard, Newman has only one top-10 finish, a fourth-place showing in 2002. Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart won the last two Brickyard events with each going on to win that year's Nextel Cup points race.

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