Newman Finishes 18th at Pocono

June 9, 2008

LONG POND, Pa. (June 8, 2008) -Ryan Newman and the No. 12 Penske Racing Kodak Dodge team endured a variety of highs and lows in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Newman ran as high as seventh on several occasions, but as various pit strategies played out at the end of the race, Newman was relegated to an 18th-place finish.

Newman is currently 14th in the NASCAR Cup point standings, 10 points shy of the 12th-place cutoff for the NASCAR Chase for the Cup.

"We struggled with the Kodak Dodge all weekend at Pocono," Newman said. "We were able to get the balance right during the race on a couple of different runs, but I had my hands full most of the day. The car would go from being tight to being wicked loose, and there were so many cars around me that I really couldn't go anywhere.

"We've got our work cut out for us so that we can come back to Pocono in a few weeks and be a contender."

Newman started in 27th place at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway, one of the most unique tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit with three very different corners. Soon after the drop of the green flag, Newman radioed that the car's handling was "wicked loose" all the way through turn one and loose in turn three, but that turn two at the triangle-shaped race track was his strength.

A caution at lap 27 gave the Kodak crew their first opportunity to work on the car.  The team pitted for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Newman returned to the track in 24th place for the restart on lap 31.

The No. 12 was able to move up to 21st before the caution flag waved for a second time at lap 40. Newman reported to crew chief Roy McCauley that the car's balance was improved since the previous stop - he was able to pass other cars and pull away from them in the corners, but he'd lose the ground that he gained on the Long Pond straightaways.

The team pitted under the caution for right side tires and fuel and Newman returned to the track in 14th place. Back on track with two fresh tires, the Kodak Dodge began to experience a tight handling condition in turns one and two.

The team elected to pit for fresh left side tires under the caution period at lap 56 and returned Newman to the race track in seventh place. Just a handful of laps into the run, Newman said the car was now handling a tick free getting into turn three.

Rain at lap 71 put the race under a red flag condition for about 10 minutes. When the race restarted, Newman was in 11th place. Newman complained that the Kodak Dodge was tight in all three corners.

Under the next caution period at lap 80, the team again elected to pit for right side tires and fuel and make a track bar adjustment to aid Newman's handling problems. Because several cars elected not to pit under the caution, Newman restarted the race in 17th place.

Newman continued to struggle with the handling of the Kodak Dodge throughout the course of the 200-lap, 500-mile race. During the course of the run, the car would rotate between loose and tight handling conditions.

While Newman was fighting with the handling of his Kodak Dodge, a variety of pit strategies were playing out in the race. The team pitted on numerous occasions to make adjustments to address Newman's handling problems.

Newman's final pit stop came at lap 177 when the last caution flag of the day waved due to a one-car spin. The Kodak Dodge came down pit road in seventh place, but exited the pits in 21st because multiple cars behind Newman had pitted under green prior to the caution and were within their fuel race for the final run of the day.

The Kodak team kept fighting, however, and Newman was able to move up three spots in the closing laps to finish the race in 18th place.

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next Sunday, June 15 for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. The race can be seen live on TNT at 12:30 p.m. EDT, with  coverage on MRN Radio beginning at 1:15 p.m. EDT.

Ryan Newman, Driver of the No. 12 Kodak Dodge



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 Race Winner: Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge)