NEWMAN EYES PHOENIX "COPPER WORLD" DOUBLE; ENTERED FOR SILVER CROWN & MIDGET RACES NOVEMBER 6 Daytona 500 Winner Ryan Newman has entered both ends of USAC's "Copper World Classic" presented by Fast Signs November 6 at Phoenix...
NEWMAN EYES PHOENIX "COPPER WORLD" DOUBLE; ENTERED FOR SILVER CROWN & MIDGET RACES NOVEMBER 6
Daytona 500 Winner Ryan Newman has entered both ends of USAC's "Copper World Classic" presented by Fast Signs November 6 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway. The Thursday event features the K & N Silver Crown Championship Cars and the Mopar National & Western Midgets. Only three "sweeps" have occurred, Tony Stewart taking both wins in 1998 and Dave Steele accomplishing the feat in 2002 and 2006.
Newman will pilot the #192 DDK of Illinois Beast/Chevy Silver crown car from Joliet and the #39 Hot Pepper Promotions Drinan/Esslinger Ford Midget entered by the 2008 NEMA Midget Championship team of Bertrand Motorsports from Massachusetts. Ryan finished second to Bobby East in the July 31 "J.D. Byrider 100" Silver Crown race at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, his only previous 2008 USAC appearance.
Last year Ryan finished 34th at PIR in the Midget race but he finished second to Tony Stewart in the 2000 "Copper World" Midget feature. His last PIR Silver Crown start resulted in an eighth-place finish, also in 2000.
"I think we have a good chance to pull off the sweep," says Newman. "My cars are top of the line and I'm comfortable racing on the Phoenix Mile. We had a shot at the sweep in 2000 but didn't pull it off. PIR is an odd-shaped oval and presents a challenge from one end to the other. It's fun to draft the Midgets there and the Silver Crown cars always put on a good show." Newman is a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup pole winner at the 1-mile oval (2002-03-04).
The only driver is USAC history to win all three National "Rookie of the Year" honors, Ryan was USAC's 1999 Silver Crown Champion and he has 17 career USAC victories to his credit (13 in Midgets, two in Silver Crown and two in Sprints). His last Silver Crown win came at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill. in 1999 and his last Midget win came at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Co. in 2000.
His NASCAR resume now includes victories in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series following his recent Truck victory at Atlanta International Raceway in Georgia.
The South Bend, Ind. native will have his work cut out for him, facing a formidable field which includes fellow NASCAR vets Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Bobby East, Tracy Hines, Shane Hmiel, Josh Wise and Michael Annett plus IRL and Indy 500 vet Davey Hamilton.
The Silver Crown race is 100 miles, while the Midget race is 25. Ironically, Newman's best finishes in both races at PIR has been second. He was second in both 1999 "Copper World Classic" features, finishing second to Leffler in the Midgets and second to Brian Tyler in the Silver Crown cars.