The old 'hot shoe' of Ryan Newman seems to be back with a vengeance after a dominating performance at Dover International Raceway. After a season of up-and-downs and a 33rd place finish in the first race of the 'chase' last weekend at New...
The old 'hot shoe' of Ryan Newman seems to be back with a vengeance after a dominating performance at Dover International Raceway. After a season of up-and-downs and a 33rd place finish in the first race of the 'chase' last weekend at New Hampshire, the No. 12 Penske Dodge team rebounded with a victory.
"It's a big step in the right direction," said Newman. "We have to keep the top fives going, if we can finish in the top five in these last races then I can pretty much guarantee us the championship."
Newman at times pulled out to a 10 1/2 second lead over the field, slicing his way through lapped traffic easily to grab his second win of the season and 11th of his career.
"I knew after the first 100 miles that we had the car to win for sure. It was just a matter of getting the laps in. Fortunately we were able to make it to the end."
Team 12 was the superior car of the race, leading five times for a race high 325 laps as they rocketed to their third win at the Monster Mile. The win moves him to eighth in series standings, 107 markers shy of the top spot.
"The bottom line is everyone got in this position because they are capable of running in the top ten," commented Newman on the 'chase'. "I wouldn't expect any different because we try as hard as we can every lap every race.
"There is a good chance that one team won't have a run outside of the top ten in these last ten races, but looking historically at the stats most teams have at least one bad race out of ten races."
Mark Martin placed second, earning his eighth top-five of the season.
"What a great race team," said Martin. "Great pit stops, way to rally. I thought that last run, 'OK, I'll show you what we got', but there was no way to catch him. He was long gone."
Jeff Gordon acquired third, and also grabbed the lead in the 'chase for the championship'. Gordon now sits just one point ahead of second place in the battle for the first NEXTEL Cup.
"I thought I could give Mark (Martin) a run for his money," Gordon said. "But today was one of the worst days I have seen with the aero-push. We fought that all day and certainly there at the end.
"We kept fighting on it and fighting with the car and we finally got it pretty decent there and got some good track position. I'm really proud of Robbie (Loomis, crew chief) and all the guys on this DuPont Chevrolet. That's the type of effort it's going to take for us to win this championship."
Dale Jarrett and Kurt Busch complete the top five.
"The car was fine for the first ten laps," Busch explained. "Then it would get tight. Hat's off to Newman, they did a great job. We competed with them for awhile, but he was fast. It was a great job for our team as well."
Jeff Gordon leads the NEXTEL 'Chase for the Championship'. Kurt Busch (-1), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-18), Jimmie Johnson (-57), Elliott Sadler (-96), Matt Kenseth (-99), Ryan Newman (-107), Tony Stewart (-135) and Jeremy Mayfield (-157) complete the top ten in points.
There were 13 lead changes among seven drivers, and five cautions for 38 laps.