* The Penske way: Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman look to add to owner Roger Penske's home state legacy DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 13, 2006) -- After five months of hard knocks and hard luck, Penske Racing South may find its cure-all this week at ...
* The Penske way: Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman look to add to owner Roger Penske's home state legacy
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 13, 2006) -- After five months of hard knocks and hard luck, Penske Racing South may find its cure-all this week at Michigan International Speedway.
Drivers Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) and Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) haven't posted typical results thus far as the series prepares for Sunday's 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it Picture Paper at Michigan. But they can claim local comforts. Both drivers are Michigan winners whose teams are owned by racing icon Roger Penske, a Michigan native and Detroit-area resident. Penske, who owned the Michigan track from 1973 until July 1999, has five series wins there. And both Busch and Newman excel on their boss' former turf.
"There's always a sense of pride when you get to go race at Michigan Speedway because of the auto manufacturers, and my team owner, of course," Busch said. "It's really a fun race track where you can run four wide, three wide, choose any lane that you want out on the race track, and it really leaves it up to the driver, and that's what the drivers always look forward to."
Busch -- in his first season at Penske Racing South after five seasons with Roush Racing -- has had to adjust to a new team, new crew chief Roy McCauley and a new teammate in Newman. He's also succeeding retired series champion Rusty Wallace in one of NASCAR's most recognizable cars, thus the full plate and uneven performances.
Yet Busch already owns one Michigan win -- June 2003 -- and jumped one spot in the series standings to 17th following Sunday's second-place finish at Pocono. He has four top-10 finishes in 10 career starts at Michigan.
"There's been a tremendous amount of help with getting the aero balance correct and with the general, I guess you could say, setup characteristics," Busch said of his conversations with Newman. "Both of us have won there. We each know how to get around the race track.
"But when we sit down and talk about it, he lets me know things he's done in the past, and I let him know of some small things that I've done and the two of us can make each other better. So I believe the team communication is going very well, as well as the driver communication to help us both do better."
Newman is similarly accomplished at Michigan, with two wins -- August 2003 and June 2004 -- and four top-five finishes in nine starts. He's also in the midst of what may be the most perplexing of his five seasons at Penske. His 11th-place finish at Pocono boosted him one spot in the series standings to 18th, behind his teammate, and like Busch, he's anticipating a return to one of his favorite tracks.
"This is the track my dad would take me to when I was young to watch the races," Newman said. "It's almost like a home track to me because it's so close to where I grew up in South Bend, Ind."