Saturday, August 18, 2007

Penske - Newman To Start 34th At Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 17, 2007) Throughout 2007, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman haven't been very lucky when it comes to the qualifying draw and Friday at Michigan International Speedway was no exception.

Newman was the second of 48 drivers to make his timed run on the hot 2-mile track and Busch was eighth. When qualifying had ended, Newman's Alltel Dodge Charger was in the 34th starting position for Sunday's 3M Performance 400, while Busch's Miller Lite Dodge Charger sat 15th.

As has been the case for many times along the circuit this season, it was definitely a situation of luck of the draw here in qualifying today, Busch said after his 38.590-second, 186.577-mph lap. We were ninth in practice, picked up a little even in the heat of the day and wound up 15th.

It was quite a bit cooler there at the end of the session and you have to think that we'd been faster if we had gone out much later. Not taking anything from [pole winner] Jeff [Gordon], he ran a great lap and deserves getting himself another pole, but it was definitely an advantage having a late draw here today."

Gordon was the last driver to make his qualifying run.

After the day's lone practice session ended, it appeared Newman and Busch might both contend for the pole. Newman's Alltel Dodge Charger was seventh quickest, while Busch's Miller Lite Dodge was ninth fastest in practice.

Something that we did after practice is not working for our car, Newman said after recording his lap of 184.947 mph, 38.930 seconds. I almost crashed going into turns one and two during my qualifying lap. After being seventh fastest in practice, starting 34th is a little disappointing, but we'll find out what the problem is during Saturday's practice sessions and fix it and hopefully, we'll be able to move through the field quickly on Sunday and get a good finish, as we inch closer to a Chase spot.

Like Newman, Busch is banking on a good run Sunday, as the season draws closer to the Chase for the Championship. Only four races remain to determine the top 12 that will contend for the title.

We're looking for a nice, solid, consistent run here on Sunday. This race track here, the race fans should be proud of it. You can race in the middle or you can race low. You can race in the low groove or you can race in the high groove; you just go where the other cars aren¿t. That¿s what makes Michigan International Speedway so exciting. I¿m looking forward to a good run. You have to have a fast car to win here and I hope my Dodge is fast.

Saturday's action at MIS has practice sessions from 10-10:50 a.m. and from 1:50-2:50 p.m. Sunda'¿s 3M Performance 400 has a 2 p.m. EDT starting time with live coverage by ESPN and MRN Radio.

No comments: