BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 17, 2007) -- "Sometimes, it's just not your day." Those were the sentiments Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, expressed halfway through Sunday's Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan International ...
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 17, 2007) -- "Sometimes, it's just not your day."
Those were the sentiments Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, expressed halfway through Sunday's Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
After qualifying fourth on Friday, Newman had problems from the race's beginning. Just 13 laps into the 400-mile race, a left-rear tire went down, a portion of it came off the wheel and wrapped itself around the car's rear-end housing. The Alltel crew tried frantically to cut the rubber from the car without causing more damage, but with the mangled tire's high temperature, it cost Newman three laps.
With only minimal damage to the car, Newman returned to the track in 43rd and was immediately fighting a very loose condition in the car's handling. The car tightened up just a bit as the run progressed, but Newman still had very little grip with his tires.
Green-flag pit stops began on lap 35 and crew chief Mike Nelson kept Newman on the track as long as he could in an effort to regain some positions. Newman had received fuel when he came in for the tire problem and could go an extra 14 laps. The team was desperately hoping the yellow flag would wave before Newman had to return to pit road, but there would be no caution and Newman, who had gotten one lap back during the stops, lost the regained lap when he had to pit under green for four tires and fuel on lap 49. The caution flag waved three laps later for debris in turn three.
Newman was driving his own race since he was the only car on his lap. That forced him to have to wait for cars to drop out of the race before he could gain spots in the field.
It didn't take long for Newman to pick up a couple of positions, though, when Juan Pablo Montoya's car hit the wall on lap 68 and went to the garage for repairs. David Stremme's car had problems as well and headed to the garage, leaving Newman to restart the race in 41st.
The problems weren't over, though. Newman lined up for the restart just behind Jeff Green's car, which was the first car a lap down. In order to get one lap back, Newman was going to try to pass Green and then-leader Jeff Gordon; then hope for another caution. Unfortunately, Newman was the caution.
Going three-wide in between Gordon and Green, Green got into the Alltel Dodge's left-rear quarter panel and spun Newman down into the grass off turn two. Fortunately, Newman didn't hit anything and only needed four fresh tires.
Newman was making his way through the field to put himself back into position to regain a lap, but had to make another green-flag stop for four tires, fuel and one round of wedge in the right rear on lap 114. The fourth and final caution flag waved on lap 115, leaving Newman four laps down since the green-flag stops had not cycled through the entire field.
The car was loose for much of the remainder of the race, but Newman was fine with the car and did not want any adjustments made during his third green-flag stop -- which would be his last in the event -- on lap 159. Nelson called for four tires and a full tank of fuel and told Newman to save fuel so he could make it to the end of the race.
Newman picked up a few more spots and ended the day in 37th. The results dropped Newman to 15th in the points, 75 points behind 12th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Next weekend, Newman will drive the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Avenger in the season's first road-course race at Infineon Raceway. TNT and PRN radio will broadcast the Toyota/Save Mart 350 live beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT.