* Good thing going: Ryan Newman on a Dover roll, looking for fourth victory * Dover sweeps a trend: Not unusual for drivers to win in consecutive fashion * History lesson: Dover International Speedway a charmed place for...
* Good thing going: Ryan Newman on a Dover roll, looking for fourth victory
* Dover sweeps a trend: Not unusual for drivers to win in consecutive fashion
* History lesson: Dover International Speedway a charmed place for David Pearson
NEWS AND NOTES
Picture This: Newman's Got the Dover Spotlight ... Sometimes the shoe fits, and you wear it for a while. That's the situation for Ryan Newman, who swept both 2003 Dover events and won last September's race. On a three-out-of-four run, he has boasted five top-10 finishes in six Dover races and five consecutive top-five starting spots.
And one Bud Pole; don't forget that. Newman earned it in the spring of 2003. So no wonder he leads all active drivers with an average starting position of 8.67 at Dover. His average finish is even better -- 6.50.
"Sometimes you just hit it right from the get-go," Newman said.
He and his No. 12 Alltel Dodge seemed to have hit it during the month of May. After a frustrating start, Newman has reeled off three consecutive top-five finishes, jumping from 10th to fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
"I think our rounding the corner happened more than three races ago," Newman said. "It's just now that we have a few races under our belt with three top fives, we've been able to show it."
On Friday, June 3, Newman will remember last September's victory at Dover. He'll autograph the No. 12 seat in the DuPont Monster Bridge at 9:30 a.m., part of a new tradition commemorating Dover winners. The glass-enclosed DuPont Monster Bridge spans Turn 3 -- 29 feet above the track -- and contains 56 theater-style seats. It opened last season, and spring's race winner, Mark Martin, began the tradition by autographing the No. 6 seat last fall.
They Come in Bunches: Dover Winners Often Repeat ... Streaks are part of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup history at Dover, something Ryan Newman understands, as does Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), who swept both Bud Poles last season. Nine drivers have won both events in a season since 1971, when the track began hosting two races each year. And last spring's winner, Mark Martin, doubtless would like to start a streak of his own.
"To run well there you have to attack it," Martin said. "It's just a race track where you don't have to finesse that much, you just drive it like an animal."
What's Cooking? Michael Waltrip a Guest on Local Show ... Michael Waltrip (No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet) will join some Dover-area chefs on Saturday to tape a half-hour segment of "Dover Downs is Cooking." The program spotlights the chefs at Michele's, a gourmet restaurant in Dover Downs Slots, the casino and resort that adjoins Dover International Speedway. Waltrip will appear with Chef Fred Bohn, helping with barbeque and grilling recipes. The theme is tailgating, and the segment will be produced with help from Kraft Foods.
The "Dover Downs is Cooking" pilot has appeared on UPN-21 in Salisbury, Md. It's taped before a live studio audience and tickets are available for $15.
Milestone Marker ... Ricky Rudd should make his 54th career start at Dover International Speedway this weekend. He'll tie Dave Marcis for the most starts at the track. Four of Rudd's 23 series wins have come at Dover.
Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) should make his 225th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start this weekend. It also will mark his 225th consecutive start, which dates back to his series debut in February, 1999.
Chevrolet Retakes Lead In Manufacturers Standings ... After 12 races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, Chevrolet got its sixth victory of 2005 last Sunday thanks to Jimmie Johnson's (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) win at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Ford remains second with five wins in the series' Manufacturers Championship standings, with Dodge running third with one win. Chevrolet retains its edge (88-81) in points over Ford. Dodge has 59 points. ... Chevrolet has won the Manufacturers Championship 28 times while Ford has won 15 times; the other 10 years the championship has been awarded, it has been won by Hudson (3), Dodge (2), Buick (2), Oldsmobile (1), Pontiac (1) and Plymouth (1). ... Points are earned thusly: Nine points to the highest-finishing car type; six points to the second-highest finishing type; four points for the third-highest finishing type. ... Chevrolet has won the championship the last two years. ... Jimmie Johnson is currently the leading Chevrolet driver, as the series point leader. Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard/Charter Ford), second in points, is the top Ford driver. Ryan Newman is the leading Dodge driver, ninth in the points.
Owner Points Update: Top 35 Heading to Dover ... Beginning in 2005, teams outside the top 35 in owner championship points must qualify on speed for each week's 43 starting spots. The top-35 designation guarantees a spot. Beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 and running through the Bristol race on April 3, the top 35 in 2004 owner points was the yardstick. Beginning with the Martinsville race on April 10, the current top 35 became the yardstick.
From the Archives: Pearson a Perennial Dover Winner ... In May of 1975, one of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' most consistent winners hadn't visited Victory Lane in seven months. David Pearson's last win had come in October, 1974, so the following spring, Pearson seemed due.
He'd won three straight races at Dover International Speedway, the fall event in 1972 and both races in 1973. He also had four poles at Dover, and captured his fifth in May 1975, setting a new track record of 136.612 mph.
A crowd of 32,000 turned out to watch that day. Pearson relinquished the top spot to Buddy Baker on Lap 11. Benny Parsons and Cale Yarborough also took turns at the front before a fog bank moved in. Then a light mist began to fall, and the race was stopped and postponed until the next morning.
By Monday morning, conditions had dried. A little over 15,000 fans showed up to watch Pearson drive his Wood Brothers Mercury to victory, ending his slump. He led 348 of the race's 500 laps to win by seven laps over runner-up Cecil Gordon, who picked up a career-best finish.
On Deck: Pocono Raceway ... Race No. 14 on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule will be Sunday, June 5 -- the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Pocono, a 2.5-mile triangular-shaped track, has been part of the schedule since 1974 when the race winner was Richard Petty. ... Jimmie Johnson is defending champion. Kasey Kahne was last year's polesitter.
The race: MBNA RacePoints 400.
The track: Dover International Speedway, Dover, Del. (1-mile oval.)
The date/time: Sunday, June 5, 1:35 p.m. (ET).
TV: FX, 12:30 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.
Posted awards: $5,541,387.
Race length: 400 laps, 400 miles.
Track layout: 1-mile oval.
2004 winner: Mark Martin.
2004 polesitter: Jeremy Mayfield.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Jimmie Johnson 1,747. 2. Greg Biffle 1,676. 3. Elliott Sadler 1,542. 4. Ryan Newman 1,530. 5. Jeff Gordon 1,516. 6. Tony Stewart 1,488. 7. Kevin Harvick 1,485. 8. Carl Edwards 1,459. 9. Jamie McMurray 1,451. 10. Kurt Busch 1,441.