Las Vegas Motor Speedway Notes Quotes
February 27, 2008 | 6:00 P.M. EST
Newman comes to Las Vegas ranked second in the Cup Series point standings after winning the 50th running of the Daytona 500 prior to Monday’s finish at California. It is the best start for Newman since 2002 when he finished seventh at Daytona followed by a 14th-place result at Rockingham in the first two races of the season.
Newman has a good qualifying history at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He’s earned one pole (2005) and three other top-five starts at the venue.
Newman — along with crew chief Roy McCauley, car chief Bryan Dilly, team engineer Travis Geisler and Penske Racing’s Vice President of Operations Michael Nelson — will travel to Alltel headquarters in Little Rock, Ark., on Thursday before coming to Las Vegas. The team will be part of a pep rally for Alltel employees, as well as a celebration of the No. 12 Alltel team’s victory at the 50th running of the Daytona 500.
Following the race at Las Vegas, the No. 12 Alltel team will travel to Phoenix International Raceway for a two-day NASCAR test.
THE START OF THE SEASON: “ I couldn’t wait to get home after the race at California. It has been a busy start to the season for us, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down — but I’m not complaining. After winning Daytona, we did a weeklong media tour and came straight to California, so it had been two weeks since I had been home. It was nice to get home, see my dogs, hang around my house and just catch my breath. It’s the little things that you miss. It’s been an amazing year for me so far, and I am so honored to represent NASCAR as the Daytona 500 champion, but it was nice to just be at home for a few days and get rested.
“This has been the best start to a year in my Cup career and I hope the Alltel team can continue that this weekend at Las Vegas. We have a lot of momentum and we don’t want to lose that. We had a good test at Las Vegas. That track is about being fast, getting the car to ride good and figuring out ways to create advantages that are becoming fewer and fewer over other teams. We learned a lot in the test and we need to keep working on it in practice so we will be at our best for the race.”
LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: “The test was good for us. I think the big question mark as we go into Las Vegas is the tire. It’s a very hard tire, so I think that this race will require a lot of pit strategy.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF TOP-10 FINISHES EARLY ON: “The first five races of the year, you want to win as many as you can. You don’t want to finish poorly because you want to be able to build a points cushion. I’m not saying that you can’t have problems and recover from them, I just think you want as many top 10s as you can get to set yourself up for that summer stretch before the Chase. History has shown that that’s important.”
THE HECTIC SCHEDULE: “We were well-prepared logistically, but I worry about the wear and tear on the team. We have to remember it’s the people that make the cars go around, so we have to take care of them. Our goal is to make sure that our guys stay well-rested and we’ll make sure that we are logistically prepared.”
PRS-552: This is a brand new car for Newman and the No. 12 Alltel Dodge team. It will turn its first laps at Las Vegas on Friday.
PRS-513: The backup car is the same No. 12 Alltel Dodge that served as the backup at California Speedway last week. The team tested with it at Las Vegas in January.
ALLTEL “MY CIRCLE 500”
Alltel will once again sponsor the “My Circle 500” sweepstakes, a national text-to-win promotion that puts race fans in the driver’s seat for a chance to win a grand prize of up to $500,000. From now until May 3, fans can enter the Alltel “My Circle 500” by texting RACE to 38229 or by logging onto www.alltelracing.com.
The 10 sweepstakes finalists and their Circle of Friends will win an all-expense-paid trip to Charlotte, N.C., May 23-26 to compete in the second annual Alltel “My Circle 500.” The finalists will get in the driver’s seat and take two laps around the go-kart track. Then, it’s up to their ‘Circle of Friends’ to change four tires on the No. 12 Alltel Dodge. The fastest team will be declared the winner and take home at least $200,000. The champions will receive an additional $300,000 if they beat the time of 2008 Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman and the Alltel pit crew – increasing the grand prize purse to $500,000.
2/29: Ryan Newman will be in the media center at 10:45 p.m. PST for a Q&A with the media.
3/1: Beginning at 2 p.m. PST, Ryan Newman will sign autographs at his souvenir rig on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
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