Monday, September 17, 2007
LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 16, 2007) Ryan Newman led the Dodge contingent in Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway with a ninth-place finish in his Mobil 1 Dodge Avenger, but teammate Kurt Busch had to settle for 25th after his Miller Lite Dodge developed a mechanical problem.
Busch was running among the top five when on lap 119 of the 300-lap race, he told crew chief Pat Tryson that he thought his Miller Lite Dodge had dropped a cylinder. He began falling back through the field, having dropped to 16th on lap 141 when he made a scheduled green-flag stop.
Busch's team didn't get a chance to check under the hood until the race's third caution flag, which fell on lap 149. The team continued to analyze the power loss during a stop on the fourth yellow on lap 165. After the fifth caution flag flew on lap 169. Busch brought his Dodge Avenger to pit road and shut off the engine. The team, aided by John Payne, engine tuner for Newman, made a spark plug change under the yellow, hoping that would solve the problem. It didn't.
Busch continued to race underpowered, but because he had taken on fuel during all of the stops, he built an almost 20-lap surplus over the lead-lap cars. Running nearly a second slower than the leader, he went a lap down on lap 226. However, when the lead-lap cars were forced to pit for fuel under green-flag conditions, Busch returned to the lead lap, running as high as seventh with 40 laps remaining. Had the yellow flag flown, Busch could have stolen a top-15 finish or better.
Instead, Busch was forced to make his final stop under the green on lap 261. He fell to 26th, but climbed a spot during the final laps to finish 25th.
In the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, Busch dropped to 12th in the standings, 102 points behind co-leaders Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.
"Jimmie Johnson didn't start off so great last year, so maybe we can make up points like he did in the next nine and win this thing," Tryson said.
"We'll make it up," Busch added. "We'll do the best we can. There is nothing you can do about problems. We got into this Chase by working hard and we'll still do it."
Newman's Mobil 1 Dodge Avenger was ill-handling for most of the race, but he still managed to lead two laps and run in the top 10 for the majority of the event.
It was pretty uneventful. Track position was the name of the game," said Newman, who remained 14th in the standings, but just 41 points behind 13th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. "We had a fast car. We just got behind and we're a little too tight there the last two runs and that really hurt us. It was a good run for the Mobil 1 Dodge for us to get a top-10 out of it. We just look forward to carrying out the rest of the season.
We were tight and then our last pit stop was a little less than par; that hurt us for sure on the green-flag pit stop.
The series now moves to Dover International Speedway.