Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Newman, Busch working to grab two open Chase spots

Even though Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch appear to be battling for the final spot in the Chase For The Nextel Cup, the pair of Penske Racing drivers don't see each other as competition.


Instead, they say they are fighting a lot of other drivers for spots to get both of them in the 12-driver field that will compete for the NASCAR championship.


Entering Sunday's 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Busch holds that final Chase spot while Newman is 13th, 96 points behind him.


Yet they don't plan to change the way they operate or alter the team dynamic at all. If anything, Newman and Busch are working together even more closely in an effort to boost the performance of both.


"We're not competing against each other," Newman said Tuesday during a national teleconference. "We've got two teams going for the last two spots in the Chase. That's the way we look at it. Obviously we're [96] points out of 12th, but Kurt is not too far behind 11th and 10th. ... With four races to go, there's still opportunity for both of us to get in the Chase."


Both Newman and Busch have ramped up their performance in recent weeks. After falling to 17th in the standings following a 100-point penalty, Busch has rallied to the 12th spot after finishing no worse than 11th in the last five races. That's a stretch that includes a win and finishes of third and sixth.


Newman hasn't been as solid, but the team has gained ground as well. After dropping as low as 26th in the standings, he's up to 13th on the strength of three top-10 finishes in the last six races. He also has a 13th and a 14th-place finish in that stretch, but his 42nd-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after being caught up in a crash interrupted his recent surge.


So what's the difference?


"Just teamwork," Newman said. "The cars' performances. The new Dodge nose/hood combination has definitely been a big thing for us. It's been a lot of little things in the honest truth."



vroom said...

Looks like the Chase will come down to the final laps in Richmond!

MIKE said...

Thats what I was thinking. I would feel alot more comfortable if some really good things happened to Newman sooner than later!!