Runner-Up Ryan

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CONCORD, N.C. - Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge, made a valiant effort to win his second All-Star Challenge, holding off a hard-charging Matt Kenseth for all but two of the final 20 laps to cross the line in second.

"Matt (Kenseth) and I had some great racing going on there at the end," Newman said. "We're good friends on and off the track, and it was fun to race someone clean for the win. We just came up short."

Newman started alongside pole winner and teammate Rusty Wallace on the 90-lap event's initial start, taking the lead for the first time on lap 10. The team made its first, and only mandatory, green-flag stop on lap 25 of the 40-lap segment for four tires and fuel. Newman entered pit road as the leader, but finished out the first segment in sixth place.

The FX television crew drew an inversion number of eight, placing Newman third for the start of the 30-lap segment. Again, it did not take him long to take the lead, as he moved into the top spot on lap 48. The caution flag dropped on lap 55. Every competitor but Newman, and second place Tony Stewart entered pit road for four fresh tires. Even with worn tires, Newman maintained the lead to win the second segment and earn $75,000.

With a five-lap caution period between segments two and three, Newman and crew chief Matt Borland had a crucial decision to make: Enter pit road for four tires and lose track position, or stay on old tires and retain the lead. Again, Borland gambled. Newman stayed on the track as every other competitor again entered pit road for two or four-tire stops.

Labeled a "sitting duck," Newman miraculously held off Kenseth until lap 88 when Kenseth took the top spot for the final time.

"We learned a lot tonight for next weekend's race," Newman said. "We were here to win. We'll be back next Sunday for the same thing."

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