Saturday, July 28, 2007


SAT, 07/28/2007 - 8:11PM

When qualifying for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, was happy to have a 16th-place qualifying draw. But after rain delayed qualifying until 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Newman and the Alltel Dodge team weren’t as excited about their early run.

However, the team's hard work paid off as Newman qualified third for Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Newman, who made only one qualifying run during the nearly 3 1/2-hour practice session earlier in the day, was only 32nd fastest out of the 49 cars entered. In the one and only practice session of the weekend due to rain, Newman posted a lap of 49.770 seconds, 180.872 mph. Newman then picked up more than seven-tenths in his qualifying run.

“We have a good car, we just didn’t get a chance to practice in qualifying trim this morning,” Newman said. “We’re using an old short-track car that has a completely new body, but it’s a great downforce car, which is exactly what we need at a track like Indy. Track position is important here and we’ve got a good starting position. We’ll just have to run a good race and stay out of trouble. We’re so close to being in the top 12 and we don’t want to do something that could jeopardize our moving up in the standings and making it into the Chase.”

Newman and teammate Kurt Busch make up two of the five Dodge Chargers that will start in the top six for Sunday’s 400-mile race. Busch will start in the sixth position.

Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard marks ESPN’s first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup broadcast of the 2007 season. Live coverage begins at 1 p.m. EDT with IMS Radio also covering the race.

Line-up for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard:

1. Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Target/Maxwell House Dodge
2. Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge
3. Ryan Newman, No. 12 Alltel Dodge
4. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet
5. Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge
6. Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge

Ryan Newman Qualified 3rd for the Allstate 400.

Ryan Newman has qualified 3 for the Allstate 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Newman had a speed of 183.475 / 49.053 / -0.195.

Today's 3 place qualifying will give Newman and his #12 NASCAR Nextel Cup Team and average start this season of 16.67.

Reed Sorenson got the pole position for the Allstate 400 with a time of 177.819 / 30.368.

Good luck to Ryan Newman and the #12 Alltel Dodge Penske Racing Team in the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Qualifying Order

Practice 1 Results

Ryan Newman Practice Results For Allstate 400

Ryan Newman and the #12 Alltel Dodge team had their first practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Allstate 400

Newman had the 32 fastest practice speed of 180.832 mph / 49.77 sec.

Newman was -0.883 seconds behind the leader Reed Sorenson who had a practice time of 184.098 / 48.887.

Practice 1 Results

Good luck to Ryan Newman and the #12 Alltel Dodge Penske Racing Team in the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Friday, July 27, 2007

Rain washes out all track activity Friday at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS -- A steady series of showers Friday afternoon wiped out all on-track activity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, forcing NASCAR officials to drastically revamp the rest of the weekend schedule for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

Instead of morning qualifying and two afternoon practices, Saturday's schedule now includes one long morning practice, qualifying late in the afternoon and an impound.

Skies were threatening all morning but the rain did not being to fall until just before the first of two one-hour practices was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET. The lack of any sunshine, appreciable wind and a steady mist that at times became a heavy shower hampered several efforts to dry the track with safety vehicles and jet dryers.

NASCAR officials had to abandon their final effort at 6 p.m. ET, deciding instead to shuffle the Saturday schedule.

The one Nextel Cup practice will begin at 8:30 a.m. ET and end at 11, with qualifying for Sunday's race set to begin at 4:05 p.m. ET.

It's unclear what the new schedule will do to drivers hoping to run in both the Allstate 400 and Saturday night's Busch Series race at O'Reilly Raceway Park, a few miles west of the Speedway. In addition, Friday night's Craftsman Truck Series race was also in jeopardy, depending on the weather conditions.

First Nextel Cup practice rained out

INDIANAPOLIS - Rain cancelled the opening practice session for the NASCAR Nextel Cup teams at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The rain, which is predicted to continue intermittently through the weekend, started shortly before the 1:30 p.m. EDT session was scheduled to begin.

A second practice session is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., but rain was still falling on the track just an hour before that session was set to begin.

The teams are scheduled to practice today and then qualify tomorrow for Sunday's Allstate 400.

Newman marks career a degree at a time

Purdue engineer knows intricacies of sport

INDIANAPOLIS - To the average fan and the untrained eye, that stock car ramming its way around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is part 3,400-pound Brahman bull, and part scary-fast cheetah. It is an ultra blend of speed and power.

To Ryan Newman, that same car is the precise merger of internal combustion, controlled friction, aerodynamics, downforce, and suspension manipulation. With a degree in vehicle structural engineering from Purdue University hanging on the wall, and more than 200 Nextel Cup races on his resume, Newman knows how these muscular hulks work.

And that depth of understanding, that bank of knowledge about the myriad nuances of the race car, has served him well for most of his career. He will enter Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard with a dozen victories in five full seasons of Cup racing, and more than $33 million in winnings.

He knows the value of a strong education in racing, business, or any other enterprise - not just in grasping the science and physics involved in taking a car from zero to 60 mph in four seconds, and running at speeds of more than 200 mph.

"It helps in anything you do," Newman said about a solid education. "And to have an
engineering degree has helped me to take things to the next level to understand the cars better. But just having that further education to help yourself with the real battles of real life is definitely just as important. And to be well-rounded, as far as having that education and also driving the cars and continuing your experience as a driver is needed for sure."

Newman, who made his stock car racing debut at Michigan International Speedway in an ARCA race in 2000, was the picture of consistency for his first four seasons in the Nextel Cup. He was sixth in the points three times, and seventh the other year.

His most peculiar year was 2003, when Newman led the series with eight wins and 11 poles, but had his championship hopes crippled by the five races he did not finish - all in the first half of the season. Newman ended up sixth in the points race after finishing 38th or worse in six of the first 15 races.

Then last season, Newman dropped off to 18th in the points, missed the Chase for the Nextel Cup, and went winless for the first time since he started racing a full slate of Cup events. His prolific pole performances tailed off too as he took just two poles in 2006 after winning 34 the four previous seasons.

This season got off to a dreadful start when engine problems dropped Newman to 38th at the Daytona 500, but he has steadily climbed back up the points standings and enters the Brickyard - the race widely regarded as the second-most important of the season behind Daytona - in 13th place, just one position out of the field for this year's Chase. Only seven races remain before the elite field for the Chase is set.

"I think we have a really good opportunity to get in the Chase," Newman said recently. . "Last year we were looking at a mathematical chance to make it, but we just didn't have the performances to get us there. Now, I'm looking forward to this stretch of races right before the Chase. I think we've got a good shot at it."

Newman, whose last win came at New Hampshire in 2005, has two second-place finishes in the last seven races. His recent qualifying has been sensational - three poles in the last eight races. For an Indiana native - Newman hails from South Bend - there is hardly anything more important than Sunday's main event, especially considering the points ramifications involved.

"Indianapolis is one of the biggest races of the year for Cup drivers. It ranks right up there with Daytona and Charlotte," Newman said. "Being from Indiana, it would be nice to get a win at the Brickyard. It's also getting down to the wire for the Chase, and this Alltel Dodge team is so close."

Newman, the 2002 Raybestos rookie of the year who set a Cupt rookie record with six poles that season, is confident he can find that magical relationship with the car again.

"We've had some good runs and we've been making up a lot of ground in the last couple of weeks," Newman said. "We just need to put together seven more solid races to make it in this year. I fully believe that this team can do it. We've had some time to relax, and now we're ready to get back to racing."

Rapid City man scores big race tickets, visit by NASCAR star-Ryan Newman

RAPID CITY -- Jimmie Funell couldn’t figure out why all these people suddenly showed up to watch him check out a new cellular phone at the Alltel Store in Rapid City Thursday.

That was when Funell got the surprise of his life, when NASCAR race driver Ryan Newman walked up and told him that he had scored two of the toughest race tickets in all of motorsports.

Funell, a longtime racer from Rapid City, will attend the Aug. 25 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, as a guest of Alltel Wireless.

Newman’s Roger Penske-owned and Alltel-sponsored No 12 Dodge Charger wall also carry Funell’s name during the race, to be televised live on ESPN.

“It was a total, blowed-me-away surprise,”said Funell, who had just come to check out a full-size replica of Newman’s car on display at the store.

“It was just neat to meet Ryan Newman, and then they started talking about this Bristol deal,” Funell, said. “It’s just starting to sink in.

“You know there’s a lot of people who’ll try to flim-flam you, but this is real,” he said.

Funell actually had a relative to thank for getting him to the race car display in the first place.

“My Aunt Hazel had read the paper and said ‘get up there, because there’s going to be a race car there and you’re probably interested,” said Funell, “Anything to do racing and race cars, I’m going to be there.”

“I’ll take her to the race with me, if I can talk her into it,” he said.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Newman, after meeting with Funell. “It’s a lot of fun to make somebody’s day and see people in a place where I’ve never been before.”

That’s the idea of the promotion, said Nicole Anastasi, Newman’s race team publicist from Charlotte, N.C.

Newman’s appearance is kept secret except for local store officials and select members of the news media.

“We want to do this in areas that aren’t that really that close to a NASCAR race, where fans will really appreciate it,” Anastasi said. “We like to pick someone who is obviously a race fan and, most importantly, knows who Ryan Newman is.”

Newman made the quick flight to Rapid City from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the NASCAR races this weekend in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard 400.

“We’re a long ways from where NASCAR touches, so it’s good to see the NASCAR fans come out,” he said.

Funell and Newman had a few minutes to trade some car-guy talk, as well as other interests.

“He’s a hot rodder and race car guy, and I guess he’s fished a time or two, so we’ve got a lot of things in common,” Newman said of Funell.

“You know, he’s just a real personable guy,” Funell said “It was awesome meeting him, because he’s tremendously fast.”

And like any true racer, Funell was quick to thank his sponsor.

“I’m just grateful to Alltel for bringing this deal to town,” he said.

Penske team seeks 1st Brickyard win

The move of Penske Racing's Indy Racing League team to Mooresville, N.C., was done in part to help get its stock car operation on par with its open-wheel operation by putting everything under one roof.

And that's exactly what has happened, although not quite in the way team officials hoped when they abandoned their longtime home in Reading, Pa., after last season.
Instead of the NASCAR team being elevated, the IRL team has lost ground. Midway through the 2007 season, both are on the fringes of their respective championship points races needing a jolt of good fortune if they are to stay in contention.
The good news for Nextel Cup teammates Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch is their next stop comes Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Roger Penske has gone to victory lane 14 times.
The bad news is that all 14 came in the Indianapolis 500. Penske Racing is 0-for-13 years in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, with Newman having three finishes of 31st or worse in his six Indy starts and Busch placing above 10th only once since finishing fifth in his Indy debut with Roush Racing in 2001.
With seven races left before the 12-man Chase for the Nextel Cup begins, Newman and Busch sit 13th and 14th, respectively, in the standings. But the margin has been steadily decreasing and they arrive at Indy with Newman just 30 points behind 12th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Busch another 47 back.
"I think we have a real good opportunity to get in," said Newman, whose climb began with back-to-back runner-up finishes last month at Dover, Del., and Pocono, Pa., after starting both races from the pole. "If we keep our performance up, the points will take care of themselves."
To Busch, the 2004 Nextel Cup champion, the formula is pretty simple.
"We just need to continue to chip away," he said. "Put it on a nice pace and fast cars will ultimately take you to the front."
Finding cars that can go to the front has been much of the problem. Dodge has been behind all year as its teams scrambled to adapt to a new nose on the Charger model currently in use while building Avengers for the Car of Tomorrow races.
No Dodge driver is in the top 12 of the standings and the manufacturer's lone win, last month by Juan Pablo Montoya, was the result of fuel strategy on the road course at Sonoma, Calif.
"At some of the races, we've had six guys qualify in the top 10, so we've figured that part out," Dodge director Mike Accavitti said. "What we're still working on is those other 499 or 500 laps to get these guys in the top 10 where they belong."
Dodge's struggles have led to rumors Penske is considering a jump to Toyota, which the team owner and both manufacturers deny.
But other questions abound, including possible expansion to a three-car team by either signing free agent Kyle Busch, Kurt's younger brother, or moving Sam Hornish Jr. from the IRL. Hornish continues to say it's "50-50" and he won't make up his mind until after the season.
Newman's contract also is up in the air and he hasn't closed the door on testing his market value.
"I'm happy where I'm at," he said. "With the quality rides that are open, they're looking for some drivers to put in there, and I think there is somewhat of a driver shortage. I'll approach any situation the way I feel I need to."

Penske opens up about his future, Indy

Roger Penske's first trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway came alongside his father in 1951. He returns for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard with the most wins by any owner at the track, although all 14 of those victories came at the track's marquee event, the Indianapolis 500. Penske, 70, has yet to enjoy the same success in NASCAR as he has in other series. Last year, Penske Racing earned championships in the IndyCar and American Le Mans series. However, his two cars in NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series, driven by Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch, missed the 10-race title run. Penske recently spoke with USA TODAY's A.J. Perez:

Penske Racing went with Dodge in 2003, two seasons after the manufacturer re-entered Nextel Cup competition. If the season ended before the Brickyard, Dodge wouldn't have a car in the Chase. Are you concerned?

I don't think we have a car that's inferior. We have good engines and good cars. There are races that we could have won. We've qualified well and raced well. At restrictor-plate races, we've led a lot of laps. I certainly don't have any excuses or complaints. Right now, it's hard to blame it on the manufacturer. I don't think I could ever say to you or the public that our performance has been because we don't have the tools. We've been competitive (but) just haven't been able to put it all together.

The Brickyard kicks off NASCAR's Cup coverage on ESPN, and Rusty Wallace, a longtime driver of yours, will be in the booth as an analyst. How do your rate his work on TV?

I think Rusty made the right move. He has an excellent knowledge of the sport. He's certainly come a long way from his work at Indy last year. He's only going to get better. I think it's great to see a driver (in the booth). You've seen so many of the football players move in front of the camera. It adds credibility to the sport."

You ran Toyotas in the IndyCar Series, competed against them while in Champ Car and own the USA's largest Toyota dealership, in El Monte, Calif. Did you expect Toyota to struggle like it has in its first season of Cup?

I didn't think it was going to be easy for them. They've been in Formula One for some time, as Honda has, and it's been tough for them there. You have teams that have years and years of experience and have the best drivers. I don't think you can come in overnight and expect to have instant success. They are a company that has a long track record of patience, and, certainly from my perspective, they will be very successful.

Sam Hornish Jr. won his third IndyCar championship and his first Indy 500 title last year. Along with his IndyCar Series duties for Penske Racing, he's run seven Busch Series races for you along with some ARCA events, leading some to believe you're about to expand to three cars. Are there any firm plans for expansion?

I don't think it's something we have to do. I think we are going to do it at our cadence and not anybody else's. It's based on having sponsors to support the costs (of a third car). There's lots of talk about whether Sam will go or won't go. We haven't made that decision. Within the next 60 days, we will be clear on what we want to do. We have the capability. It's a matter of wanting to take the Busch program and make it a Cup program next year.

The Nextel Cup is becoming the Sprint Cup. AT&T won an injunction to replace the Cingular branding on the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, which brought about a $100 million countersuit by NASCAR. How happy is Alltel, the third mobile company involved in Cup, with its Penske Racing sponsorship?

I'm sure cooler heads will prevail and (the AT&T situation) will take care of itself. We are grandfathered in and have the opportunity to continue with the sponsor. We've given them some good years and had some lean years, too. The blue Alltel car has been dominant at times, (and) I think you will see it in the Chase.

In 1979, you co-founded CART, which now is known as the Champ Car World Series, and have run for its rival, the Indy Racing League, since 2002. Since the split more than a decade ago, NASCAR has completely overtaken the U.S. racing scene. Do you think open-wheel will ever be on par with NASCAR like it once was?

NASCAR has been consistent for 20 years with the same management, running 25-36 weekends a year, twice in some markets, with cars that have been pretty exciting to watch. That's what's led to a lot of the growth. Right now, Champ Car is a road-racing series running many of its races outside the United States. We certainly could use the teams that are there and vice versa.

You've gotten back into the track business by creating a street race on Detroit's Belle Isle, an IndyCar Series event that debuts Sept. 2. How fun and challenging has it been?

If you went down there today, you wouldn't believe it's the same place. Most the work has been done to the track. It's going to be a great event. For me, it's giving something back. It's all for the city of Detroit, the people who live there and the families who support racing. We are putting our arms around this track like we own it.

Earlier this month, Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George said Formula One wouldn't be back at his track. As somebody who used to field a team in F1, how did you take the news?

I was really disappointed when I read there would be no race there. Obviously, they've had big crowds. It's been exciting for the people who love F1. Those I talk to in F1 all wanted to run there. (F1 chief) Bernie (Ecclestone) is a shrewd businessman, and he knows where he wants to go. Tony had to do what was right for his family and his track.

NASCAR first raced at the Brickyard in 1994, and Penske Racing has finished as high as second twice, both with Wallace at the wheel. How much emphasis do you put on the race?

It would be a real feather in our cap to win. We've been close. We've been second and led (but) haven't been able to finish at the end.

Penske Racing didn't compete in a NASCAR race from 1981-1990. Why did you return in 1991 to field a car for Wallace?

One of the things that intrigued me (enough) to get back in was the size of the sport. We've always used racing (to promote) our businesses. We had open-wheel fans, and we had NASCAR fans. Our relationship with the Miller Brewing Co. allowed us to get back together with Rusty. All those things made a big difference, and it's brought us to where we are today.

You ran Donnie Allison, Mark Donohue and Dave Marcis a total of 12 races in 1972, the first year you competed in NASCAR. How does your relationship with your early drivers compare to the ones you share now with Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman?

When you think about drivers, we've always thought about them as part of the family. I don't think it's any different today. We do anything we can for our drivers. Many of them have managers and agents, but 99% of the time I deal with the drivers (directly).

Penske Racing's first NASCAR victory came at the since-demolished road course at Riverside, Calif., in 1973. What do you remember most about that win by Donohue?

It was very important. We won with the (AMC) Javelin. To go down to Riverside with that car and to beat the big guys with some big factory support … gave us a little momentum in the sport and also (helped) from a sponsor perspective.

Your first entry into NASCAR back in 1972 coincided with Winston as the first sponsor of NASCAR's top series. How much did that cigarette maker change the landscape of the series?

That's what really ignited the flame of NASCAR. They contributed money to the purse and were able to promote itself every week. The next step was the big TV deal, which really drove the sport to where it is today.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Ryan Nemwan Podcast - OFF WEEK

Driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Ryan Newman and XM Satellite Radio Host Claire B. Lang catch up to preview next week's race at the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Newman takes fans for a lap around the Brickyard and discusses how the track differs from any other track on the Cup circuit.

Newman also chats about how Penske Racing names its race cars.

Finally, Newman dishes on his top ten favorite things of the summer, which includes the inside scoop on the wildest thing one of NASCAR's fastest has ever done during the summer months.

link to podcast here on this site

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

'Rocketman' closer to returning to Victory Lane

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Winning poles is the easy part for Ryan Newman. Getting to Victory Lane is another matter.

Newman's winless streak reached 59 races on June 10 when rain denied him a chance at victory at Pocono Raceway. NASCAR stopped the race seconds before Newman pulled alongside Jeff Gordon in a challenge for the lead, and he was frozen in second place.

Newman had about 30 minutes to wonder what might have been as he and Gordon waited on pit road for the rain to subside. It never happened, NASCAR canceled the rest of the race, and Gordon was credited with his fourth victory of the season.

Instead of lamenting his bad luck, Newman considered it karma.

"Unfortunately, the rain came on the wrong lap," Newman said. "I'm not mad by any means. I won my first race because it rained out and got too dark. I guess it's only right I lose one that way at some point."

Newman's 2002 victory at New Hampshire came in a race that was delayed by rain and then shortened when NASCAR ran out of daylight. So he's even now -- if the Pocono race had gone one minute longer, Newman would have celebrated in Victory Lane.

Newman used to be a regular there, with 12 wins in four seasons. But the two-time championship contender hit hard times and hasn't won a race since 2005. His winless streak now stands at 64 heading into the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis with 17 races remaining in the season.

Even more alarming was a lack of speed, which "The Rocketman" was famous for while racking up pole after pole. He did so at an average of one every five races.

He had 11 of them in 2003, the year he won eight races. There were nine poles the next season, and eight in 2005 when he only won one race.

But his winless 2006 season saw his qualifying prowess rapidly decline and Newman only won two poles all year. Crew chief Matt Borland, who had been with Newman for all 12 of his career victories, was ousted at season's end.

The change gave Newman new leadership for the first time in his career, and it's taken almost six months for the No. 12 team to get back on track.

And make no mistake about it, Newman is officially back.

Sure he lost the race on June 10 at Pocono, but it was his second consecutive runner-up finish. And he had won the previous three poles -- four in all this season -- to prove he's still the best at pushing the pedal to the floor for one white-knuckle lap.

Newman knows that's the first step toward winning races.

"I never thought it would have slipped away in the first place," he said. "I think as long as we keep putting ourselves in position and qualifying, as well as having fast race cars in the race ... we'll be in position at some point.

"It would be nice to click off three wins in a row and not just three poles in a row."

The finishes are improving, and Newman's been in the top 10 for eight of the past 12 races through Chicagoland on July 15. It's put him back into title contention, raising him from 26th to 13th in the standings, and he's only 30 points away from moving becoming eligible for the Chase for the championship.

Newman, who qualified for the Chase in 2004 and 2005, missed badly last year when he finished a career-worst 18th in the season standings.

Now that he's turned the corner, he won't let one rainy day ruin his mood.

"I watched Gordon go through his so-called slump where he hadn't won any poles or races in so long -- when it's not happening to you, you don't think it's going to happen," Newman said. "I guess at some point whether it's the team or driver of the combination, it may get away. It's definitely difficult to go through that time and it makes you appreciate when you get back running better."

Newman, Alltel Team Looking For Special Row Of Bricks

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 25, 2007) ¿ A row of bricks never had as much meaning as they do at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, better known as the Brickyard. Tradition holds that the winning team at the Brickyard kisses the row of bricks in celebration.

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, and the Alltel Dodge team look forward to kissing those bricks after 43 cars have driven over that legendary row at the start/finish line for 160 laps.

The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday afternoon will be Newman¿s seventh Cup start at the 2.5-mile track and the 208th of his career in the Cup Series.

Newman possesses an average start of 5.5 and an average finish of 20.7 at the massive facility. All six of Newman¿s previous starts have come from the eighth position or higher, including three from the top five and a career-best second in 2003.

¿Indianapolis is one of the biggest races of the year for Cup drivers. It ranks right up there with Daytona and Charlotte,¿ Newman said. ¿Being from Indiana, it would be nice to get a win at the Brickyard. It¿s also getting down to the wire for the Chase and this Alltel Dodge team is so close. We¿ve had some good runs and we¿ve been making up a lot of ground in the last couple of weeks. We just need to put together seven more solid races to make it in this year. I fully believe that this team can do it. We¿ve had some time to relax and now we¿re ready to get back to racing.¿

Newman has only one top-10 finish ¿ a fourth in 2002 ¿ and two inside the top 15 at IMS. His other three finishes have been 31st or worse.

The Indiana native has led 14 laps in two races at Indy and has completed all but 10 laps at the track -- 951 of 961 possible laps -- since he made his debut at the speedway in 2001. That gives Newman a 99 percent completion rate.

Crew chief Mike Nelson and the Alltel Dodge team will take chassis PRS-069 to Indianapolis, which has not been on the track since April 2006 when it was used at Martinsville Speedway. The back-up car for Indy ¿ PRS-104 - was last used at Pocono in June. Newman started on the pole ¿ his third straight and his fourth of the season ¿ and finished second after rain ended that race early.

ESPN begins its 2007 season coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series at Indianapolis. Live coverage begins at 1 p.m. EDT. IMS Radio will also cover the race live at 1 p.m.

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.

DEI to absorb Ginn Racing

Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Ginn Racing will announce this week that DEI will absorb Ginn Racing, multiple sources have told NASCAR Scene.

The merger will make DEI a four-car team as it adds the No. 01 car primarily driven by Mark Martin.

It is expected that the No. 14 team of Ginn will have its owner points transferred to DEI's Paul Menard, who currently is outside the top 35 driving the DEI No. 15. The points transfer would put him in the top 35 in owner points and guarantee a starting position in the field.

That could leave Regan Smith, who had shared the No. 01 ride with Mark Martin until being named driver of the No. 14 team last week, out of a job. It was unclear whether Smith or Aric Almirola, recently named as the co-driver of the No. 01 car, will share the driving duties with Martin the rest of the season.

The No. 13 team of Ginn, which was driven by Joe Nemechek until his release last week, will be eliminated along with the No. 14 team because DEI cannot have more than four full-time teams, according to NASCAR rules.

Bobby Ginn bought MB2 Motorsports last year and expanded the two-car Nextel Cup team to a three-car operation along with a Busch Series team.

But only the No. 01 team sponsored by the U.S. Army had full sponsorship. The No. 14 team had a partial sponsorship, and the No. 13 team had virtually no sponsorship.

DEI will eventually move its Nextel Cup operations to the Ginn Racing headquarters, according to a source close to the situation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

ESPN will show the unseen of NASCAR

By Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY
TV sports often brings up things you can't see. Like when overheated announcers talk about "thrilling game action" that's undetectable to your own eyes.
But as ESPN returns to covering NASCAR's Cup circuit for the first time since 2000, says ESPN senior vice president Jed Drake, it will follow its "fascination with things you can't see" to show viewers something they've really never seen on TV — swirling air.

Not just any air. The idea of ESPN's new Draft Track is to show air flowing behind cars and drivers drafting in it.

"I know what it feels like," says ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace, the ex-driver who says the new animation will show viewers things such as "the coefficient of drag" and "the dreaded aero push."

So what will "aero push" look like when the animation debuts on Sunday's coverage of the Allstate 400? In collaboration with Sportvision Inc., the Chicago company born from creating a "glowing puck" in 1996 for Fox's NHL coverage, ESPN has made the air churning in the wake of cars look sort of like green flames.

The graphic, says Drake, is "based on computative fluid dynamics" — which have been ignored in TV sports for far too long — and computer modeling that shows how air moves behind race cars.

Then, the idea is to take real-time information — Drake says GPS data can locate race cars "within two inches" of their actual location and track speeds "down to thousandths of a mile per hour" even as it changes "microsecond by microsecond" — and put it in the computer models to create the green waves that represent air.

(Makes you wonder: If all of that is possible, can't we get some sort of technology that tracks where you left your TV remote?)

Wallace acknowledges that Draft Track's swirling air, which will be show only on replays, won't exactly be self-explanatory: "We're going to have to verbally clarify this thing. It's complicated, but revolutionary!"

It took nearly a decade for the revolution to be televised. Drake says he got the idea of showing air in 1998, just after ESPN worked with Sportvision to make football's computer-generated first-and-10 line.

But ESPN, which began covering NASCAR races in 1979, its first year of existence, lost rights to the sport in 2000. After ESPN had aired 262 NASCAR Cup series races, those races went to Fox, NBC and TNT.

But starting with Sunday's race, ESPN/ABC inherits rights to the second half of NASCAR's season — which used to air on NBC and TNT — and will hunt you down to let you know. ESPN TV outlets this week are airing a mere 66 hours of NASCAR-related programs. Check out UltimateNASCAR: The Dirt at 4 a.m. ET Friday.

And ESPN this weekend, says senior coordinating producer Rich Feinberg, also will unveil TV's first "mobilized traveling TV studio" devoted to cars' innards. During races, he says, former NASCAR crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the so-called Tech Center — filled with all kinds of props such as "shock absorbers, transmissions, fuel cells, helmets" — to delve deeply into issues like "tire stagger."

While discussing technology has become standard on NASCAR TV coverage, the idea of a stand-alone technology studio means analysts won't have scream over race noise. And while various networks have long used "cutaway cars" — cars stripped of outside parts to create a sort of automotive frog dissection — Feinberg says "this is the next step of the evolution" in providing viewers with "educational tools."

(Feinberg also explains the creation of the Tech Center in what could be a handy clip 'n save for his next ESPN employee self-evaluation: "Without being too corny about Disney, some dreams do come true around here.")

And NASCAR's TV tonnage always expands. Feinberg last produced NASCAR races for ESPN in 2000 with two or three track-level robotic cameras; now he can deploy as many as eight. Then, he didn't have high-def cameras; now even in-car cameras are high-def. And he has four production trucks, up from two.

So what else, aside from maybe race coverage from spy satellites, could there possibly be left to add? Feinberg suggests there'll always be a frontier: "I personally believe that in the world of sports television, there'll always be the next thing."

Obituary: Bill Flemming, a versatile sportscaster who called ABC's football, golf and Olympic action and reported on more than 600 events for Wide World of Sports, died Friday of prostate cancer in Petoskey, Mich. He was 80.

Ryan Newman and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Welcome to Indianapolis Motor Speedway located in Indianapolis, IN.

Ryan Newman and his Penske Racing #12 Alltel Dodge will be racing here this weekend in the Allstate 400 .

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

***Location : Indianapolis, IN
***Completed : 1909
***Distance : 2.5 miles
***Shape : Oval
***Seating : 250,000+

***Nextel Cup Top Race Speed : 155.912 by Bobby Labonte on 8/5/2000
***Nextel Cup Top Qualifying Speed : 186.293 by Casey Mears on 8/7/2004

MANUFATURER WINS AT Indianapolis Motor Speedway SINCE 2002
FORD = 0

RYAN NEWMAN'S STATS AT Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Ryan Newman's Stats
At Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayAt Intermediate Tracks
TOP 5141
TOP 10159
% COMP-0.9896NA
TOTAL $$$1046956NA

-- Crew chief Mike Nelson and the Alltel team are taking chassis PRS-069 to Indianapolis as its primary car. The car hasn't been on the track since April 2006 when it was used at Martinsville Speedway. Newman qualified fourth and finished 18th in that event. The backup car is PRS-104. It was last used at Pocono in June. For that race, Newman started on the pole ¿ his third straight and his fourth of the season ¿ and finished second in the rain-shortened event.

Ryan Newman on Indianapolis: "Indianapolis is one of the biggest races of the year for Cup drivers. It ranks right up there with Daytona and Charlotte. Being from Indiana, it would be nice to get a win at the Brickyard. It¿s also getting down to the wire for the Chase and this Alltel Dodge team is so close. We¿ve had some good runs and we¿ve been making up a lot of ground in the last couple of weeks. We just need to put together seven more solid races to make it in this year. I fully believe that this team can do it. We¿ve had some time to relax and now we¿re ready to get back to racing.

Good luck to Ryan Newman and the Penske Racing's #12 Alltel Dodge NASCAR Nextel Cup Team at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Allstate 400 this coming week and weekend!!!

Mike Pratt