Newman Makes Top Dodge Performance

by : Evander Klum

The top Dodge performance in Saturday's NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge was produced by Ryan Newman who placed eighth. His team mate Kurt Busch ranked 19th. The latter had a crash with his younger brother at Lowe's Motor Speedway. This accident ended his victory.

Newman started eight on the 1.5-mile track in the four 20-lap segment race. He said his Alltel Dodge was way too tight in the first segment of the race and in the second one, it was too loose. But despite this, he finished as the 6th placer in the first 20-lap segment and as the 10th in the second one. He also managed to be the 7th-placer in the third 20-lap segment though he found his car too tight again.

The teams were obliged to make only one stop-and-go pit stop in their respective stalls during the end of the third segment. Crew Chief Mike Nelson, however, decided to give Newman's car a fuel and a wedge adjustment by freeing up the car. Unfortunately, a miscommunication occurred. That caused Trent Cherry, the rear-tire carrier, to complete only part of the wedge adjustment. And then Newman took off.

On the track were only two cars behind Newman. Seeing this, Nelson called him back onto pit road in order to complete the adjustment and get four tires. Newman was in the 16th place when the green flag was waved to start the fourth and final segment. Good thing, it only took him two laps to get back to the top 10.

In a slow manner, Newman started to climb toward the front. However, there were no enough laps to catch some of those which are ahead of him. He was struggling with his race cars' tight condition when the checkered flag waved on lap 80. This made him the eighth.

Newman commented that they had a good car which was fast. However, the strategy did not work for them. He added that they were pretty much too tight during the duration of the whole race. Despite this, he still thought they were very competitive.

Meanwhile, the Busch accident happened because Kurt's Miller Lite Dodge was charging towards the front at the beginning of the final 20-lap segment. Unexpectedly, his brother Kyle dove to the inside as they headed into turn one. The two race cars clashed together twice before the car of the younger Busch turned sideways and slid up the track. Kurt's Dodge almost cleared the incident, but his brother's race car clipped the left rear of his gold-colored Dodge Charger. This sent the vehicle into the second-turn wall.

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