Ryan Newman Scores Top 10 at Chicagoland Speedway

July 13, 2008

JOLIET, Ill. (July 12, 2008) - Ryan Newman and the No. 12 Penske Racing Kodak-Mummy Dodge team finished 10th on Saturday night in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.  Thanks to a key pit call for two tires under a caution period at lap 225 that helped Newman gain valuable track position, Newman had the ability to battle cars with fresher tires than his. Newman drove hard to remain in the top-10 for the final 40 laps of the race and finish 10th, his seventh top-10 finish of the 2008 season.

"We tried some strategy with our Kodak Dodge late in the race to gain some track position, but we got a little too tight there at the end and fell back a few spots," said Newman. "We made some things happen tonight with our strategy on pit road, and we got a good finish. To get back in the Chase, we have to get top 10 finishes each week."

Newman is currently 16th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 189 points away from the 12th-place cutoff for the Chase for the NASCAR Cup.

Inclement weather cancelled qualifying on Thursday night at Chicagoland Speedway, so the field was set by the 2008 owner points. Newman lined up 17th for the start of the 267-lap race on Saturday night.

By lap 15, Newman had moved into the 15th spot. He told crew chief Roy McCauley that his car was too tight in the center of the turns and loose getting into the turns.

NASCAR called a competition caution at lap 35, due to changed track conditions by the weekend's severe rains, giving Newman's pit crew their first opportunity to work on the handling of the race car.  The No. 12 team changed four tires, added fuel, made an air pressure, wedge adjustment and track bar adjustments under the caution, returning Newman to the track in 16th place.

Back on track, Newman reported that the Kodak-Mummy Dodge was still a little tight in the center of the corners and loose entering. In order to gain track position, the team elected to stay on track when the caution waved at lap 47, moving Newman up to the fourth spot.

Without fresh tires, Newman slipped in the running order once the green flag waved, and by the time he pitted under the green flag at lap 89, the No. 12 had dropped to 14th

Newman continued to have some trouble with the handling of the No. 12 machine. As opportunities came available, the team made air pressure, track bar and wedge changes in hopes of improving the race car's handling and helping Newman gain track position.

At lap 225, Newman was in 17th place when the caution flag waved for the sixth time. With just 40 laps remaining in the race, the team decided to take a big gamble and take two tires in hopes of gaining valuable track position. The crew also added fuel and made a track bar adjustment. 

Thanks to that strategy, Newman picked up 15 spots and restarted the race in second place. Newman was able to turn some of his quickest laps of the night thanks to the improved track position and battled to keep the No. 12 Kodak-Mummy Dodge in the top 10. 

In the final laps of the race, Newman reported to the crew that his car was developing a tight-handling condition. Despite having older tires and having to battle to maintain his spot on three separate restarts in the final 22 laps of the race, Newman was able to finish the race in 10th place. 

After a week off, the NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next Sunday, July 27 for the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race can be seen live on the ESPN network at 1 p.m. EDT and heard on the IMS Radio Network at 2 p.m. EDT.

 Ryan Newman, Driver of the No. 12 Kodak-The Mummy Dodge



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 Race Winner: Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Toyota)