Top 15 Finish For ALLTEL Team

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The rollercoaster continued for Ryan Newman and ALLTEL Team Penske as they experienced a season high pole position followed by an inconsistent race at the California Speedway.

Friday rain fell over the Southern California 2-mile oval but the sky cleared just enough for Newman to capture his first pole of the 2002 season, the second of his career. He hoped his clear view of the race track would last for all of the 250-lap event.

At the start of the race Newman was competitive but the cars behind him were strong. Soon, though, Newman radioed the car was loose and would have to wait until lap 20 to pit.

The team only wanted to take two tires but the adjustments they made were timely and gasman George Whitley was unable to make his change and get gas in the car. Newman would have to come back down pit road on the next lap for fuel and the team opted to take on the other two tires.

Newman battled with the handling for the rest of the race, losing a lap and falling out of the top-20. He wasn't done yet though and worked his way through the field at every opportunity.

Newman climbed back into the top-20 and finished 14th. He moved three spots in the Winston Cup point standings to 18th and is still second in the Rookie of the Year standings.

"We had a really good car but we were just inconsistent," Newman said. "It was really good and then we had a tire equalize. We wound up playing catch-up all afternoon."

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2002

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