Engine Woes Plague Newman
May 26, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
After winning The Winston in triumphant fashion last weekend, Newman’s night in the Coca-Cola 600 ended a lot earlier than he wanted.
The engine in Newman’s ALLTEL Ford quit on Lap 103, leaving Newman in 41st position.
“I guess Charlotte hasn’t been my place for engine failures,” said Newman, who started fourth. “I guess we made our money last weekend.”
Newman spent 34 laps in the Top 10 early in the race, but he faded back and lost a lap before the engine blew.
“We would have had a pretty decent car once this race would have started to draw out,” Newman said. “We were trying to get our lap back, but our car was super, super loose all day. That’s part of it, I guess. They’re engine, and they do break.”
Newman didn’t blame NASCAR’s one-engine rule for the failure. Many teams and drivers were worried about engines lasting 600 miles Sunday after the long weekend, but Newman’s race was a lot shorter.
“There will be plenty of cars to finish and make a good race out of it,” Newman said. “It’ll be fine. When they break this early, it doesn’t matter if it’s one engine, two engines, three engines or five engines. It’s just a mechanical failure.”
The race started in bright sunshine on a hot May afternoon. But Newman wasn’t complaining about the heat.
“The motor is hotter than I am, let’s just say that,” Newman said.