Sears Point: Ryan Newman preview

* Ryan Newman, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, has two top-fives and four top-10s in six NASCAR Cup Series starts at Infineon Raceway. * Newman's best effort at Infineon Raceway came in 2006. Newman ...

* Ryan Newman, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, has two top-fives and four top-10s in six NASCAR Cup Series starts at Infineon Raceway.

* Newman's best effort at Infineon Raceway came in 2006. Newman qualified in fourth-place and led 11 laps during the 110-lap event before finishing in the runner-up position.

* Newman has completed 100 percent of the laps (660 of 660) in his six starts at the Sonoma, Calif., 1.99-mile road course.

* Newman traveled to NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday to celebrate NASA's 50th anniversary and his victory in the 50th Running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. At the event, Newman was presented a green racing flag that was flown aboard space shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station this past February. At the event, Newman also toured the crawler-transporter, the huge tracked vehicle that carries space shuttles to the launch pad. He also drove the van that takes the astronauts to the launch pad just prior to lifting off into outer space.

"I had been to Kennedy Space Center before, but it was an honor to go back for this event," Newman said. "Winning the 50th Running of the Daytona 500 was a dream come true for me, my family and my entire team at Penske Racing. Being presented with a flag that was flying in space during the race is really cool."

RYAN NEWMAN:

ROAD COURSE RACING: "I like hustling the car around the track in road course races. It's a challenge for the driver and the team and a lot of times, the race comes down to the strategy that you play during the course of the race. We had a top seven car last year at Sonoma, and our pit strategy was different so we finished 20th. All in all, we've had some good runs at Infineon in the past, and I hope to duplicate those runs this weekend. To me, there are a few keys to Infineon. Basically there are three really heavy braking zones -- turn five, turn six and turn 11. The biggest part of the race track is just pure braking, having good braking. The second most important part is being good through the esses on the backstretch and carrying so much speed down through there. There's a lot of lefts and rights. One of the hardest parts of the track is cresting what I call turn three up over the hill to the right and not getting off the race track on the left hand side."

COUNT DOWN TO THE CHASE: "We have had some tough days the past few races, but our goal is still making the Chase. We are in a good position to do that. We would like to be in a better position than we are, but I am confident. We have some good tracks coming up for us, and I think we can make up some points we have lost and get back in the thick of things."

ROY MCCAULEY:

ROAD COURSE RACING: "Ryan's pretty good at hustling the car around Sonoma. The key for Ryan and any driver at a road course is to keep all four tires on the asphalt. Four tires on the pavement is better than no tires on the pavement. For the crew, the most important thing is to have good braking characteristics with exceptional forward traction. Being able to turn the car through the center of the corner is an absolute necessity. But for us, the real focus is going to be making sure that Ryan has good braking on entry to the corners and good forward bite on exit. We need to make up some ground, so we're hoping to have a solid run this weekend."

CHASSIS NOTES

PRS-527: The No. 12 Alltel Dodge is the same car that Newman piloted at Bristol Motor Speedway earlier this season. Bristol was the first race for the car.

PRS-509: The backup No. 12 Alltel Dodge has been both a primary and backup car this season. The car was the primary at Phoenix International Raceway where Newman sat on the pole and led 37 laps. It was also the backup car at Martinsville Speedway.

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman
Teams Team Penske