Back To The Future

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For many NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, there is an exact moment when the season turns around. For the No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge team, that moment was the event at Texas Motor Speedway last April. It was on that Sunday that Newman won the first of eight victories during the 2003 season.

This Sunday, Newman returns to the 1.5-mile track in hopes of repeating that feat. Already 10 positions higher in the point standings than at this time last year, the team is looking to keep its current success rolling. With three poles, two top-five and four top-10 finishes, all it needs now is the elusive victory.

"That win was so important for us," Newman said. "We needed a morale boost to get this team rolling. I feel that this season we've been posting more consistent finishes week-in and week-out. We're happy with the 2004 season at this point. A win at Texas this weekend would be great. We'll be good there, hopefully good enough to get to victory lane again."

Matt Borland, crew chief, and the ALLTEL team will take chassis No. 72 to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. While this particular car has never been raced or even tested, Borland is confident in its potential for success.

"Downforce plays such an important role at Texas, as it does at Chicago and Kansas," Borland explained. "If you don't have a good downforce car and a strong motor to back it up, you'll struggle all day.

"This team's anxious to move on to Texas and we hope to repeat what we did last year. A win would be great at this point in the season and it will help to move up some more in the points."

Newman's success seems to be prominent at 1.5-mile tracks, and with good reason. The style of racing at such tracks is what Newman most enjoys.

"I like tracks that are banked and have a good speed to them," Newman said. "I like anywhere from a mile to two miles, banked race tracks. They seem like to be the best tracks you can race on and the most fun you can have because you can race on them. With that said, I think Texas has more potential than it did last year because of the aging of the asphalt. I think it's going to be a little bit better racing this year than in the past."

The Samsung/Radio Shack 500 will air live Sunday on FOX, with pre-race beginning at 1 p.m., EDT. PRN Radio also will cover the event beginning at 12:15 p.m., EDT.

Newman Aims for Another IROC Victory
Newman will make his sixth International Race of Champions start this Friday. This is his second IROC event of this season, and his first at Texas Motor Speedway.

"The IROC race at Texas will be a lot like a Cup race at Atlanta," said Newman." The tracks are similar, except that Texas is much smoother. It's going to be a great show for sure. I'm looking forward to it, and of course to the opportunity to possibly visit victory lane again. Racing under the lights will be great too. I think anytime a race is run at night, it brings a certain sense of excitement with it. Not only do we, as drivers enjoy it, but I think the fans really enjoy it as well.

"Starting from the tail is definitely not the best place to start. I wouldn't trade my win in at Daytona for anything though. As a driver, you just hope for multiple grooves so passing will be easier. I think I'll be OK. I just need to concentrate on getting to the front and being there at the end."

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