Spin, Battery Problems Relegate Newman to 26th Place Finish WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Ryan Newman and the No. 12 Penske Racing Kodak Dodge team ran in the top 10 for most of the day at Watkins Glen International on Sunday afternoon at the...
Spin, Battery Problems Relegate Newman to 26th Place Finish
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Ryan Newman and the No. 12 Penske Racing Kodak Dodge team ran in the top 10 for most of the day at Watkins Glen International on Sunday afternoon at the Centurion Boats at The Glen. However, Newman spun going into turn one with just 13 laps remaining, which began a chain of events that relegated the team to a 26th place finish.
Newman remains in 15th place in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings, 204 points out of the 12th place "Chase cutoff" with five races to go until the NASCAR "Chase for the Cup" begins in September.
"You have good days and bad days," said Newman after the race concluded. "And today just wasn't our day when all was said and done."
After heavy rain cancelled qualifying at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International road course on Friday, Newman started 16th based on the 2008 NASCAR owner points standings. Once the green flag dropped on the 90-lap event, Newman made quick work to pick up positions and valuable track position.
By lap six, Newman had already moved solidly into the top 10. At lap 10, Newman radioed his crew that the No. 12 Kodak Dodge was loose in turn three, tight in turn nine, and very loose coming off of turn 11. Newman also said that he wanted lower tire air pressures for his next run.
At lap 21, the No. 12 team opted to pit early under the green flag due to the importance of pit strategy and track position on a road course. Newman pitted for four tires, fuel, and air pressure and track bar adjustments. Newman returned to the track in 34th place, but as the green flag pit stops cycled through, he ended up in 11th place on the race track.
Newman returned to the top 10 by lap 43. He radioed the team that the car was better, but he was still too loose in turn 11, which Newman said was hurting his progress the most. The first caution flag of the race waved at lap 47, at which time the Kodak team elected to pit the No. 12 for four fresh tires, fuel, and another air pressure and track bar adjustment.
About 15 cars elected not to pit under the caution, so Newman returned to the track in 18th place. As the cars in front of Newman came down pit road under green-flag conditions, he was able to move into the top five.
At lap 58, the Kodak team brought Newman down pit road for what was scheduled to be his last pit stop for three seconds of fuel. The "splash-and-go" would give Newman enough to make it to the end of the race. As other teams elected to use the same strategy, Newman gained spots on the track and by lap 65, he moved into third place.
With Newman having the speed to reel in the front two cars and the ability to hold off cars behind him, the team was headed to a solid top-three finish. However, at lap 77, Newman spun as he drove into turn one. The car stalled and Newman attempted to re-fire the No. 12, but a problem with the battery connection prevented him from doing so.
Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr. and his No. 77 car stopped on track and was able to push the No. 12 machine to pit road, and the Kodak team went to work to diagnose the problem. They were able to reconnect the battery connection, change tires and get the Kodak Dodge back on track without losing a lap. Newman restarted the race in 37th place.
On lap 82, Newman was able to narrowly avoid a multi-car wreck. As Newman stopped on track to stay out of trouble, the No. 12 again lost power. NASCAR threw a red flag to clean up the debris from the nine-car accident, and at that time, a wrecker pushed Newman to pit road. Once the red flag was lifted after 43 minutes, the Kodak team went to work to fix the battery issue and give the car four fresh tires.
When the race restarted at lap 85, Newman was posted in 32nd place. In the final five laps, Newman drove hard and was able to pick up six positions to finish 26th.