Newman Comes Home Again

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INDIANAPOLIS - When Ryan Newman enters the garage of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday morning, he is seeing the dream of a young Indiana boy realized. In his first Brickyard 400 and fourth career Winston Cup start, Newman and ALLTEL Team Penske welcome the challenge this weekend presents.

“As someone who is following in the footsteps of other great Indiana drivers, it’s exciting for me to finally be racing here,” said the South Bend, Ind.-native who is speaking of Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and the late Kenny Irwin.

“There have been so many legendary drivers who have raced at Indianapolis, not just in stock cars, but in Indy cars as well. Plus, this is such a prestigious race that I am definitely thrilled to be racing there. This is the second most important race to me after the Daytona 500 and, since it’s in my backyard, it means even more to me.”

Newman and ALLTEL Team Penske tested last week in preparation for their first Brickyard 400 with PRS-023, a car named “Patience.” The car earned its name after Newman’s win in the ARCA race in Charlotte last October because, “He used a lot of patience to win” according to team co-owner and mentor Don Miller.

This year, the car has competed in each of the three Winston Cup events Newman has entered -- Las Vegas, Charlotte, and Michigan. Newman and “Patience” have a pole in Charlotte and a fifth-place finish at Michigan.

“Our test went really well,” Newman said. “It was a great learning experience especially with the temperature changes throughout the day. We got a real good read of what the car was doing and what it might want throughout the race. We ended up third fastest on the second day and we ran our lap after everybody else did. Hopefully, our notes will serve us well and we’ll race as good as we tested.”

This isn’t Newman’s first visit to the 2.5-mile facility. He tested an IROC car at IMS last year.

In addition to his Winston Cup success this season, Newman has an ARCA pole and a win. In the Busch Series he has three poles, three qualifying records, and seven top-five starts in eight starts.

Single-round of qualifying to set the 43-car field is scheduled for Saturday morning at 10:15 a.m. (CST). Sunday’s 160-lap, 400-mile race is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. (CST) and features live coverage by NBC-TV and the IMS Radio Network.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

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