DOVER, Del. (June 4, 2007) -- For the fourth time in six weeks, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Avenger, earned a top-10 finish -- his fifth of the season -- with a second place in Monday's rain-delayed Autism Speaks 400 presented...
DOVER, Del. (June 4, 2007) -- For the fourth time in six weeks, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Avenger, earned a top-10 finish -- his fifth of the season -- with a second place in Monday's rain-delayed Autism Speaks 400 presented by VISA at Dover International Speedway.
Newman, who earned his third Bud Pole Award of 2007 -- his fourth at Dover -- during Friday's qualifying session, led the field to the green Monday afternoon.
Although the car was tight, Newman led for 27 laps before NASCAR called a competition caution. Newman lost two spots on pit road when Kasey Kahne and Scott Riggs took only two tires on their first stop. Crew chief Mike Nelson called for four tires and fuel for the Alltel Dodge.
Newman restarted third, but by lap 56 he had regained the lead. NASCAR called a second competition yellow on lap 67 and Newman again pitted for four tires and fuel. The car was still just a tick too tight from the center of the turn to its exit, but Newman remained in the lead through lap 108.
"I let the 99 [Carl Edwards] go so he could deal with (lap traffic)," Newman told his crew.
The Alltel crew was instrumental in Newman's Dover run with only one pit stop lasting longer than 13 seconds. That occurred on lap 138 when Newman pitted for four tires, fuel, a half round of wedge in the left rear and two rounds up on the right-side track bar in 13.06 seconds. Newman still gained one position on that stop.
When the race restarted following the third of seven caution flags, Newman was second. He needed only one lap, however, to retake the lead from eventual winner Martin Truex Jr., who was sluggish on restarts. Newman led another 16 laps before Truex, Jr. passed him.
On lap 205, Newman fell out of the top three for the first time when Clint Bowyer passed him as he continued to fight his car's tight condition.
During the event's only round of green-flag stops, Newman received four tires and fuel, and fell to his lowest position of the day -- eighth. However, he quickly made his way back up to fourth as the field cycled through the green-flag stops.
Penske Racing teammate Kurt Busch crashed on lap 271 after Tony Stewart tagged him in the right rear. Newman entered the pits in fourth and after a 12.65-second stop for four tires, fuel and one-and-a-half rounds up on the right-side track bar, the Alltel crew got Newman off of pit road in the lead. Newman would set the pace for 21 more laps before Truex Jr. would regain the top spot.
After that stop, Newman remained in the top three for the rest of the race.
One more pit stop on lap 330 gave Newman another chance to lead the Autism Speaks 400 for another 18 laps. In all, Newman led 135 laps in Monday's race.
The last caution flag waved on lap 356, giving the field a chance to catch up to the hard-charging Truex Jr. Nelson and Newman debated on whether to pit and Nelson told his driver to come in if the 48 car [Jimmie Johnson] pitted. Both driver and crew chief preferred to stay on the track and so did the rest of the top five.
Truex Jr. retained his lead on the restart, while Newman and Johnson battled for second. Johnson passed Newman on lap 369, but 10 laps later Newman went back by Johnson to regain the second position where he would remain for the rest of the event.
Newman's second-place finish is his best this season and it helped him gain two positions in the drivers' standings. He is now 16th, just 46 points out of 12th and 670 points behind leader Jeff Gordon.
Next weekend, Newman will drive the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. TNT and MRN Radio will broadcast the race live beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.