Wednesday, Aug 17

Starting Anew at an Old Favorite

A new month. A fresh start.

That’s just what Ryan Newman is hoping for as he turns the calendar page to June this Friday, the same day the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes the track at Dover (Del.) International Speedway for the 13th race weekend of the 2012 season.

Count Newman as one driver who can’t wait to put the past month, or maybe even the past two months, in his rearview mirror and focus on a fresh and improved start to the second third of the 2012 season.

Since winning at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on April 1, Newman has had a rocky ride. In fact, in the past six weeks, Newman has one DNF (did not finish) at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway due to engine problems, and he hasn’t recorded a finish higher than 14th – with the exception of his 10th-place finish in the non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway two weekends ago.

For Newman, the month of June couldn’t get started at a better place for him than at Dover.

The high-banked, 1-mile concrete oval is a favorite of the South Bend, Ind., native. And with the exception of Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has raced just once, Dover is the track where Newman boasts his best average finish of 11.5

In 20 starts at Dover, Newman has four poles (spring 2003, fall 2005, spring 2006 and 2007), three wins (spring and fall 2003, fall 2004), six top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. Newman also has a NASCAR Nationwide Series win at the track (2005).

Newman’s September 2004 win at Dover was one of his most dominant performances in his 11-year Sprint Cup career.

He qualified on the outside pole for the 400-lap race but, by the end of lap one, he was shown as the leader. He showed no mercy to his other Sprint Cup competitors, leading an amazing 325 of 400 laps. In fact, Newman built a commanding eight-second lead en route to the win and claim the first-ever “Monster Trophy” given out by the track known as the Monster Mile.

While Newman had a rough go with his No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team at the concrete oval last season, he does have three top-10 finishes in six starts with his SHR crew.

And thanks to a Goodyear tire test session at Dover earlier this spring, Newman & Company may have just the notes and added bit of confidence needed to get the month of June started off right. The always-tricky 1-mile track is truly a “Monster” when it comes to tire wear. Having an insight on that major component to the race is a huge step in having the winning race strategy.

After 12 races, Newman sits 13th in the Sprint Cup standings, 116 points behind leader Greg Biffle. While he has the lone Martinsville win to his credit, Newman would like to turn his season back around and start making a move upward in the points.

This weekend, Newman hopes that a new month, coupled with determination and teamwork, will help the No. 39 Quicken Loans team engineer an amazing run at Dover that will put them back on-track for a coveted spot in the Chase and earn another “Miles the Monster” trophy for his shelf.



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