Ryan Newman Takes Eighth Place at Talladega

April 28, 2008

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 27, 2008) – Ryan Newman and the No. 12 Penske Racing Alltel Dodge tackled the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon and scored an eighth place finish, the team’s second top-ten finish at a restrictor plate track this season and fourth top-ten of 2008.

“I think we had a top-five car, but we were just at the wrong place at the wrong time there at the end,” said Newman, who was up to third place with two laps to go in the race and poised for a win. “I knew the move I wanted to make, but when I made it no one went with me. We just didn’t get the chance to try it again because of the caution on the final lap.

"It’s not the finish we wanted, but overall it was a good points day for the Alltel Dodge.”

With nine races completed in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series season, the 2008 Daytona 500 champion is 11th in the 2008 NASCAR Cup driver point standings, 285 points behind leader Jeff Burton.

Newman qualified in the 21st position at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. When the green flag dropped for the 188-lap event, a high speed chess match began as Newman immediately jockeyed for position on the track.

The first caution flag of the day waved at lap 19 and Newman reported to his pit crew that his car was a little too tight. The No. 12 team pitted under the caution for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to alleviate Newman’s tight handling condition. He restarted in 21st place.

Newman broke into the top 10 by lap 38, and throughout the course of the next 20 laps, the No. 12 Alltel Dodge maintained a top-15 position. On lap 56, Newman led his first lap of the day, but quickly fell back when he had no drafting help from behind.

The team made a green flag pit stop at lap 63 for two right side tires and fuel, returning Newman to the track in 20th place. Over the course of the post-stop run, Newman was again able to make his way to the front of the field. By lap 100, Newman was sitting sixth.

This long spell of clean racing led to another green flag pit stop at lap 106. The team once again elected to take two right side tires and fuel. Newman returned to the track in fifth place and held various top-seven positions for the following 10 laps.

At lap 116, the second caution flag of the day waved. Crew chief Roy McCauley elected to bring Newman down pit road for two left side tires and fuel. Newman returned to the track in eighth place.

After the green flag flew again, dramatic three- and four-wide racing changed the Alltel Dodge’s position on the track on every lap, running as high as second and as low as 17th during a 20-lap run.

A caution flag at lap 143 gave the team one final opportunity to pit. Newman’s team once again changed right side tires and added fuel. A quick pit stop returned Newman to the track in second place.

Once back on track, Newman didn’t fall out of the top 10 for the remaining 45 laps of the race. Newman even returned to the top spot to lead four laps before losing his drafting partner at lap 173.

“You’re doing a great job here,” McCauley told Newman. “Just stay calm and lets get a top-10 out of this.”

As the race wound down, Newman had moved into third and was poised to make a run for the lead in hopes of repeating his Daytona 500 victory. He moved to the track’s high side, but without a drafting partner, Newman was shuffled back to the eighth spot.

On the final lap, the caution flag waved, preventing Newman from having one more run at the race leaders. He took the checkered flag in eighth place.

“Wrong place, wrong time,” Newman said after the race, referring to the unfortunate timing of the yellow. “The guys did a great job in the pits. It was just a solid day for us overall.”

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action on Saturday night, May 3, at Richmond International Raceway. The Crown Royal presents the Dan Lowry 400 will air live on FOX at 7 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on MRN Radio at 7:30 p.m. EDT.