Darlington: Ryan Newman preview

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 8, 2007) -- The last time Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Avenger, had three consecutive top-10 finishes he had just made the Chase for the second straight year and had started the final 10 races of 2005 with...

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 8, 2007) -- The last time Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Avenger, had three consecutive top-10 finishes he had just made the Chase for the second straight year and had started the final 10 races of 2005 with a win at Loudon, a fifth at Dover and a fourth at Talladega.

In 2006, of Newman's seven top-10 finishes, only two of those came back-to-back -- an eighth at Richmond in May followed by a sixth at Darlington. This weekend, Newman rolls into Darlington looking for his third straight top-10.

Newman will make his ninth Cup Series start at Darlington Raceway Saturday and his 199th in the series. In eight previous races, Newman has an average start of 4.375 and an average finish of 11.5. He has seven top-10 starts at the track deemed 'Too Tough to Tame", including five from the top five. Newman has one pole -- August 2003.

"I'm really looking forward to Darlington. Obviously, the Hendrick cars are the ones to beat, and from what I've heard, they got a head start on everybody with testing, and that kind of shows up," Newman said. "But the bottom line is I like Darlington and I look forward to going there because it's a fun track for me. Our Car of Tomorrow program is strong. I'm not saying we can't make it stronger, but it's definitely strong right now."

Newman has earned five top-10 finishes at Darlington, including four top-fives. He has led a total of 210 laps in six events at the 1.366-mile track and he has completed 2,671 laps of a possible 2,717, giving him a 98.3 percent completion rate.

For the second straight week, the Cup Series will use the Dodge Avenger COT car. Crew chief Mike Nelson and the No. 12 Alltel Dodge team will take chassis PRS-513 to Darlington for Saturday night's Dodge Avenger 500. This chassis ran three weeks ago at Phoenix International Raceway. The car was strong and running in the top five before a miscommunication in the pits left the Alltel Dodge Avenger 11 laps down in the 38th position.

Chassis PRS-509 will be the back-up car once again. This car has only been tested at Richmond.

Another possible streak for this weekend that every team will be paying close attention to is the chance of rain postponing the race until Sunday. At the moment, the weather looks like thunderstorms could turn another Saturday night race into a Sunday afternoon event.

-credit: pr

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman