Ryan Newman Leads Penske Contingent at Richmond

May 4, 2008

RICHMOND, Va. (May 2, 2008) - Penske Racing drivers Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr. stayed out of trouble and avoided several multi-car incidents to finish a respectable sixth and 23rd in Saturday night's attrition-filled Crown Royal presents The Dan Lowry 400 NASCAR Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway, while bad luck plagued teammate Kurt Busch for the second consecutive weekend as an innocent victim involved in another multi-car accident.    

Despite handling issues, a key pit call near the end of the race by Roy McCauley, crew chief of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge, led Newman to a hard-earned sixth place finish, his fifth top-ten finish of the 2008 season.  Newman started tenth Saturday night and was one of 16 competitors who finished on the lead lap.  The Daytona 500 champion is now 11th in the 2008 NASCAR Cup driver point standings, 283 points behind leader Kyle Busch.

"That's the perfect example of never giving up," Newman said after the race. "Each week in our team meeting, we talk about the big picture and not giving up. We struggled with the handling on the Alltel Dodge today, but we stuck with it. At the end Roy (McCauley) made a good call to take two tires with just ten laps to go. We were able to pick up some valuable spots in the pits and then on the track."

 At the site of two of his IndyCar Series victories, former open-wheel champion Hornish Jr, driver of the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge, started 35th at the .75-mile track.  Through a series of late-race caution periods, the Mobil 1 team was able to advance in the finishing order due to smart driving and strategic calls by crew chief Chris Carrier. The team remains in the top 35 in 2008 NASCAR Cup Series owner points in 35th place, 71 points ahead of 36th place and 10 points from 32nd place. 

 "We managed to stay out of trouble today and earn another solid finish," said Hornish Jr. "We were able to get the Mobil 1 Dodge dialed in towards the end of the race but at that point we were already a couple of laps down.  Running the Nationwide Series race Friday night was definitely a benefit to our performance tonight."

No. 2 Miller Lite driver Kurt Busch started 21st and was threatening to move into the top-10 until lap 230 when Carl Edwards got into the rear end of J.J. Yeley's Toyota and created a slowing "domino effect" back through the field.  Dave Blaney attempted to slow, but rammed Carpentier's Dodge from the rear.  Carpentier fishtailed, then smacked the inside wall before veering straight back into the paths of Busch and the rest of the oncoming traffic.

The multi-car incident was so severe that NASCAR officials were forced to display the red flag for an extensive cleanup that required 22 minutes.  The end result relegated the Miller Lite Dodge driver to a 42nd place finish and dropped him five spots to 25th in the driver point standings.

"We're trying so hard with our Miller Lite Dodge and just can't steer clear of all the problems," said Busch.  "It's hard to believe we can have a Talladega-style crash here at Richmond, but that's pretty much the best way to describe it.  The 10 car (Patrick Carpentier) spun into the inside wall and shot straight back across the track.  We had nowhere to go and plowed the front end right in there.  It stacked them up and there were probably a good quarter of the field that got caught up in it.

"Our luck has to change sooner or later," Busch continued.  "It's a really difficult time for our Miller Lite Dodge Team right now and we're doing everything we can to get things turned around.  We just have to keep plugging away and that's what we'll continue to do."

The Penske Racing trio heads to Darlington Raceway for more Saturday night racing excitement on May 10, 2008 in the Dodge Challenger 500. Racing action will air live on FOX at 7 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on MRN Radio at 7:20 p.m. EDT.