Friday, November 23, 2007 is reporting that Penske may be shifting things around a bit.  They are reporting that Ryan Newman and the #12 Alltel Dodge team may have a new crew chief for the 2008 season.
Under current Crew Chief Mike Nelson, Ryan Newman and the #12 team had 5 DNF's due to engine related problems this year.  I also just kept getting the sense that Newman was never really happy with the way his car was set up - if any driver is ever really happy with it.
But I am not sure a crew chief change should be the answer.  In the last 16 races of the year the lowest RUNNING finish (no accidents or engine problems) was 16th.  He also only had 4 finishes outside the top 10 and 4 top 5 finishes.  In that same time frame he had 3 races end with engine problems and 3 ending with accidents.
All in all not bad.  I think swapping out crew chiefs could lead to another struggling year for Newman in 2008.  Even if it he is the best crew chief in the world, Newman and his crew chief are going to have to learn how to get along, how to talk and how to understand what the other one is saying.  It can take a little time to get adjusted to each other.
But this currently a rumor - I believe.  Here is the posting that has -
Crew Chief change at the #12? #77 needs one? hearing Roy McCauley take over as the crew chief for the #12 alltel Penske Racing team for driver Ryan Newman. McCauley started the 2007 season as Kurt Busch's crew chief in the #2 Dodge. Supposedly current #12 crew chief, Mike Nelson, will move over to a management position at Penske Racing. The crew chief job for the #77 team and driver Sam Hornish Jr. is supposedly open.(11-17-2007)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Back to normal

Thank you to everyone for the comments and congradulations -- we are VERY happy.

Ok, life is settling down now. I do have some stories about the last weekends race posted. They are posted late, but are mainly for my records.

Life is going good with the new addition to the family. Faith is VERY healthy and mom has recovered amazingly well.

And big brother is awesome. He is really great with his sissy. He has helped a lot to make the addition to the family a very smooth transition. Being almost 20 months old, and previously the only child, we expected some jelously and stuff. But there is none and he cares and worries about sissy alot.

So, now we can get back to normal. I will be working on the page and some stories over the next week.

Newman Takes 13th In Standings

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2007) ¿ Kurt Busch's second-place finish in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway allowed the Las Vegas native to gain three positions in the standings to place seventh, his best performance in the points since he won the series title in 2004.

Ryan Newman finished 18th in the season finale on the 1.5-mile track to come home 13th in the standings, the highest finishing non-Chase competitor, while Sam Hornish Jr. took 37th in his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event.

Busch's Miller Lite Dodge was the only Dodge in this year's title Chase and the 29-year-old driver said he was pleased with his car's performance Sunday evening.

"We feel like we went out with a bang with this good car," said Busch, who led twice for 17 laps in the 267-lap event. "We came up just a bit shy, but, overall, just a great season for us to win a couple races and be in contention at a lot of race tracks. We finished seventh overall. That¿s a nice feather in the cap. This team deserves it. We worked really hard and hopefully, we will carry this right on into Daytona.
¿We felt like this was a successful season for us at Penske Racing in the Miller Lite Dodge. We definitely had what we need at some of the races, then, at some of the race tracks where we led laps we just didn¿t seal the deal to finish off the race. Tonight, it was a great feather in the cap for our team. The great teamwork that it took to put together a very successful summer stretch to get into the Chase was fantastic. Everybody at Miller is ecstatic.

"We put together a good effort during the Chase. We could be stronger. We need to work on our COT program if we want to compete for next year¿s championship. That¿s the bottom line. We got a little taste of it this year, and the teams that ran well with the COT finished up front in the points. Next season that is what Penske Racing is all about.¿

Busch's Miller Lite Dodge was strong from the race's beginning, but he lost a lap at the 100-lap mark when he had to pit with a loose left-rear wheel. The unscheduled green-flag stop dropped Busch outside the top 30.

Busch regained his lost lap when the next round of green-flag stops began. However, only a handful of laps separated Busch from running third and on the lead lap to having to pit and going down a lap to the front-runners. It was then that Newman spun, bringing out the fourth caution flag and insuring Busch his position on the lead lap.

During Busch's final stop, his Miller Lite Dodge received four fresh tires. His final opportunity to catch and pass leader Matt Kenseth occurred when the last yellow flag appeared on lap 254. When the race restarted on lap 257, Busch was third. He immediately passed Martin Truex Jr. for second and set sail for Kenseth. Busch, however, could never catch Kenseth and he had to settle for second.

"I felt like we had a legitimate shot at chasing Matt down," Busch said when asked if he thought he had a chance to catch Kenseth on the final restart. "I had to pass the one car [Martin Truex Jr.] first of all. Once we cleared him it just seemed like Matt and I had a beam mounted with his rear bumper and my front bumper. I couldn¿t break that 10-car length advantage that he had. Not due to aero, just due to the fact that he was fast. The way that the race went all day he was the car to beat. We were a challenger and we came up a bit short. I thought we were going to give it our all and we came up in second place. The bump up in points was the bigger objective today and we were able to do that.¿

Newman led three times for seven laps before a loose race car resulted in his second-turn spin on lap 149. Newman's Alltel Dodge was too tight in the race's first 100 laps, so when he pitted on lap 132, crew chief Mike Nelson ordered a track bar adjustment, along with four fresh tires and fuel.

The Alltel Dodge was now too loose and Newman brought out the fourth caution flag when he lost control of his car and spun into the second turn's grass. The car's valance and right-rear quarter panel were damaged in the incident. Even though Newman didn't lose a lap while repairs were made to his car, he dropped to 19th and was never able to recover.

The highest Newman would climb after the accident was 15th, but his car was still too loose and he fell to 18th in a few short laps.

Hornish, who qualified 29th, had to start in the rear of the field due to an engine change in his Mobil 1 Dodge after Saturday's final practice. He had issues with his car throughout the race, but he was still grateful for the experience he received in preparation for the 2008 season.

¿Well, I have twice as much Cup experience as I had last week. Every time I go out that is that much more," said Hornish, who brought out the sixth of seven caution flags when he scraped the third-turn wall on lap 193. "I¿m really happy that the team gave me the opportunity to do this, this year and get started. It¿s going to be a long, uphill process, but we¿ve got a goal in mind and hopefully, we get there.

¿I¿m real excited. I¿m excited to see what happens; how we can learn throughout the year and how we progress.¿


Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, qualified second Friday for the season finale Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.

Newman, who was 12th among the 49 drivers attempting to make this year's final race, recorded a lap of 30.583 seconds – 176.569 mph – just 0.038 of a second behind pole sitter Jimmie Johnson's time of 30.545 seconds.

"Honestly, I didn't think it [my lap] was near as good as it was speed-wise," Newman said during his post-qualifying press conference. "When they said it was a 58 (seconds) I was like, 'Man that is really good.' Knowing that the track was a little bit hotter, we tuned on the car and made it over a 10th quicker, so I really didn't expect Jimmie (Johnson) to come and bust out that lap.

"I really thought that after practice Kasey (Kahne) was going to be the guy to beat and he was…he just wasn't the only guy to beat. It was a good, smooth lap. I just didn't feel like I slipped the car enough to make it go any faster. In saying that, if I did, it might have gone slower."

Newman's front-row start gives him four top-five starts at the 1.5-mile track and ties his career-best start. He started second in 2005 and finished seventh. Newman now has a 7.0 starting average at the South Florida track.

Coverage of Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be televised live by ABC and broadcast by MRN Radio beginning at 3 p.m. EST.

Line-up for the Ford 400:
1. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet
2. Ryan Newman, No. 12 Alltel Dodge
3. Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Dodge Dealers Lifetime Powertrain Warranty/UAW Dodge
4. Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DeWalt NANO Technology Ford
5. Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge
29. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 06 Mobil 1 Dodge

Newman Earns Front Row Starting Position

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2007) ¿ Ryan Newman snatched a front row starting position in qualifying Friday for this weekend's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while Kurt Busch collected a top five and Sam Hornish Jr. nailed down a starting spot in a NASCAR Cup race for the second straight week.

Newman's 30.583-second lap ¿ 176.569 mph ¿ in his Alltel Dodge Charger initially provided the Indiana native with the provisional pole. However, he eventually had to settle for second due to points leader Jimmie Johnson's lap that was only 0.038 second quicker than Newman.

"I really didn't expect Jimmie (Johnson) to come and bust out that lap. I really thought that after practice Kasey (Kahne) was going to be the guy to beat ¿ he just wasn¿t the only guy to beat," said Newman, who was the top qualifying Dodge on the 1.5-mile track.

Newman, who now possesses four top-five starts at Homestead, said he didn't think his qualifying lap was as good as it was speed-wise.

"When they said it was a 58 (seconds) I was like, 'Man, that is really good,'" continued Newman, who tied his best qualifying effort. "Knowing that the track was a little bit hotter, we tuned on the car and made it over a 10th quicker."
Busch and his Miller Lite team experienced quite an interesting day when compared to that of his teammates. First, there was an encounter with the wall. Next, the Miller Lite Dodge had a leaking radiator.

Friday's morning practice was only five laps old when the No. 2 Dodge Charger broke loose and smacked the wall between turns 3 and 4. The damage sustained to the car's right side forced Busch into the garage for extensive repairs.

The Pat Tryson-led team repaired the damage in time to have Busch back on the track with 25 minutes remaining in the 90-minute session. Beating the odds, Busch clocked in with the seventh-fastest practice lap.

But the team's troubles weren't over. After a fine stream of fluid was detected under the front of the Miller Lite Dodge, it was determined that the car had a leaking radiator. Quick work by the team between practice and qualifying had the blue deuce late through the tech line, yet on schedule to take to the track 19th in the qualifying order, as mandated by the morning's draw.

"It's been quite an interesting day here, to say the least,¿ said Busch, who recorded a 30.692-second, 175.942-mph lap for the fifth starting position. "Today certainly illustrates what a great team that our Pat Tryson-led Miller Lite Dodge crew is. We were definitely behind the eight ball, but nobody panicked. We picked up almost a 10th and a half (of a second) between practice and qualifying and we can¿t ask for much more than that. To have a shot at Ryan (Newman) on a Friday qualifying day -- that means you did something good.

"I am confident that we¿ll have a car capable of winning the race here on Sunday. It¿ll certainly be a special win if we can pull it off. Tomorrow¿s two practice sessions may just be the two most important practices of the entire year.¿

Hornish's 31.021-second, 174.076-mph lap provided the Mobil 1 Dodge Charger with the 29th starting position.

"For the most part, it was pretty good," Hornish said about his qualifying lap that made him the sixth fastest among the 14 drivers that had to make the grid on speed. "We were a little bit too tight with the car. That hurt us a little bit, but I think our times are pretty respectable."

Hornish made his Cup debut last weekend in the Car of Tomorrow ¿ Dodge Avenger ¿ but qualified Friday in the Dodge Charger. The Ohio native admits that unlike most NASCAR drivers, he's glad the COT will be used in every race next year.

"I¿m so used to a car that doesn¿t move around this much [as the Dodge Charger]," Hornish said. "The Car of Tomorrow is a jump in that direction. It¿s not anywhere near it, but it¿s more in that range. I actually like the Car of Tomorrow a lot better because it doesn¿t move around as much (as the Charger)."

Coverage of Sunday's Ford 400 begins at 3 p.m. on ABC and MRN Radio.