Ryan Newman - NASCAR Cup Series Preview

April 8, 2008

• Ryan Newman, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, has three poles at Phoenix International Raceway. Newman also has three top-five finishes in 11 starts at the one-mile oval. His best finish was a second-place effort in November 2004.

• Last fall, Newman scored a fifth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway. It was one of four top-fives in the last seven races of the 2007 season. Newman credits the season-ending run in helping the No. 12 Alltel team prepare for the 2008 season.

• Newman made his NASCAR Cup debut in the No. 02 Alltel Penske Racing car at Phoenix International Raceway in November 2000. Newman’s qualifying prowess was quickly noticed as he secured a 10th place starting position. Newman finished that race in 41st place.

• Newman, who scored three consecutive poles (2002, 2003, 2004) at Phoenix, holds the Cup qualifying record at the Arizona race track, turning a fast lap of 135.584 mph (26.499 seconds) in 2004. He is tied for the most poles at Phoenix with Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace.

• Penske Racing is just two wins shy of reaching the milestone of 300 victories across a variety of racing series, including NASCAR Cup, the IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series among others. Newman has claimed 24 of Penske Racing’s victories (13 NASCAR Cup points races, seven in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and four in the ARCA Series).

• On Tuesday, Newman and the No. 12 team were penalized for a mistake made during Sunday's race and discovered in post-race inspection at Texas Motor Speedway, resulting in an infraction of NASCAR rules. The penalty for the infraction cost the team 25 owner points and 25 driver points and crew chief Roy McCauley was also fined $25,000 and placed on probation until the end of the calendar year.

“What happened last week was a mistake and we’re moving on from it and looking forward to this week. We hate to lose points, but we have a good team and we will be able to make them up.”

RACING AT PHOENIX:  “I like Phoenix, and I’ve come close to winning there a couple of times, but I haven’t been able to get that first victory.  We had a really good run at Phoenix last fall and we finished fifth. The good runs we had at the end of the season last year really helped build momentum for this year’s team going into 2008.  We had a good test at Phoenix, and I think we learned a lot which is going to help us this weekend. The great thing about the No. 12 Alltel team is that Roy (McCauley) and the guys have done a great job of adjusting on the car through practices and the race to give me a car each week that I can contend with.”

“We hope to continue the tradition that Ryan has at Phoenix of solid qualifying runs and solid races. Ryan has a long history at Phoenix – he’s raced there in Silver Crown cars, midgets, and he made his first NASCAR Cup start at the track, too. Last year, the No. 12 Alltel Dodge finished fifth and with our test this year, we have a really good basis to start with. We learned a lot at the test, and we think we are going there with a solid top-10 car.”

DETERMINATION BREEDS RESULTS: “My motto is ‘Never give up,’ - no matter what the circumstances. I saw a lot of that at Texas in Ryan and in this team. Ryan did a great job communicating the car’s problems to me, which makes my job easier. And the crew guys just stuck with it. This team has the attitude and passion that it takes to win – and I see that each week.”

The team tested the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger serving as the primary race car at Phoenix in March. This car also was the backup car at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year.
PRS-519: The backup car has already seen action on the track this season, finishing 14th at Atlanta Motor Speedway last month.

2008 STATS:
WINS:   1
TOP 10s:  3

STARTS:  231
WINS:   13
POLES:  42
TOP 10s:  101

Alltel is once again sponsoring the “My Circle 500” sweepstakes, a national text-to-win promotion that puts race fans in the driver’s seat for a chance to win a grand prize of up to $500,000. From now until May 3, fans can enter the Alltel “My Circle 500” by texting RACE to 38229 or by logging onto www.alltelracing.com.

The 10 sweepstakes finalists and their ‘Circle of Friends’ will win an all-expense-paid trip to Charlotte, N.C., May 23-26 to compete in the second annual Alltel “My Circle 500.” The finalists will get in the driver’s seat and take one lap around the go-kart track. Then, it’s up to their ‘Circle of Friends’ to change four tires on the No. 12 Alltel Dodge. The fastest team will be declared the winner and take home at least $200,000. The champions will receive an additional $300,000 if they beat the time of 2008 Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman and the Alltel pit crew – increasing the grand prize purse to $500,000.