Newman Knocking On Door

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A wild card team has won baseball's World Series two of the last three seasons.

Ryan Newman hopes to bring some of that same magic to this year's NEXTEL Cup title chase.

Newman came into the second edition of the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" in the tenth and final position. But after only three races, he's moved his way up the standings and trails leader Tony Stewart by a mere four points heading into Sunday's Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway.

"We're definitely knocking on the door," Newman said. "The Alltel team has definitely been on it every race so far in the 'Chase.' After Richmond, Matt Borland and I came across the radio and said to the team, 'Let's have some fun now.' It's worked so far for us, so we're going to keep on doing what we've been doing."

After scoring a win in the "Chase" opener at New Hampshire, Newman followed with a fifth-place finish at Dover. He was able to steer clear of the many messes at Talladega last week and come home fourth in the UAW-Ford 500.

Now Newman comes to Kansas, a track where he's enjoyed much success in its short history. After finishing second to Jeff Gordon in the track's first two NEXTEL Cup events in 2001 and 2002, Newman notched his first win in the 2003 edition of the Banquet 400.

That success has given the Indiana native a sense of confidence heading into this weekend.

"The Alltel team has just clicked with Kansas Speedway," Newman said. "We've been great there since our first race in 2002. It took us a couple of years to beat Jeff [Gordon], but we finally got a win there in 2003. Last year at Kansas, the Alltel Dodge was incredible once again, but we ended up in the wall instead of victory lane. That was a hard one to swallow. We really missed our chance of getting another win there last year. We're not going to let that happen this year."

Despite the early "Chase" success, Newman knows there's still a long way to go.

"We're happy about where we're at right now, for sure," Newman said. "But, we can't relax. There are still seven races left and anything can happen."

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