User-agent: * Allow: / CH on Track: July 2011


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Keeping an eye on Justin Allgaier

I am really impressed with Justin Allgaier in NASCAR's Nationwide Series. I believe he will make that series well worth watching for the remainder of this season.  

Allgaier fought a loose race car, but wheeled his 16th place start into a 4th place finish. Allgaier is fourth in the points standings. 

This young man with an impressive resume; complete with results to back it up, is an Illinois native. He caught my eye while he began driving for Penske Racing in 2008. 

Allgaier seemed a natural fit for my liking, since he drove the #12 for Penske, the car formerly driven by my favorite Sprint Cup driver, Ryan Newman. 

Newman drove the #12 Alltel Dodge sponsored by Alltel, until Alltel was taken over by Verizon. Newman left Penske and joined Stewart-Haas Racing. The #12 Alltel Dodge was replaced by the #12 Verizon Dodge, driven by  Allgaier.

Allgaier drove full time in the Nationwide series, which was a first for Penske. 

In the cut-throat business/advertising world however, the writing was on the wall for Verizon, in the series named for Sprint. Alltel was permitted to remain a sponsor because it was established prior to Sprint taking over the series. But, once the name was changed, all bets were off. Apparently there is no room for competition in the world of cellular service, so Verizon pulled its sponsorship. Allgaier, the 2009 Rookie of the year who won his first race at Bristol in March, 2010, was the victim. 

This year, Allgaier is making the most of the situation as he drives for Turner Motor Sports in the #31 car. 

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ryan Newman not the cheatin' kind

Ryan Newman was stripped of his win in NASCAR's Whelen Modified Tour at New Hampshire Saturday proving that bad luck continues to follow him. Even when it looks like he has shrugged it off, misfortune always seems to follow.
LOUDON, NH - JULY 16:  Ryan Newman, driver of ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
By reading all accounts of the penalty that took away Newman's fourth consecutive win and grounded car owner Kevin "Bono" Manion from the NWMT series due to unapproved manifold changes resulting in more horsepower, I'm not convinced that Newman knew anything about it. 

A scathing story written by Shawn Courchesne of, state that Newman and Manion proved themselves disgraceful thieves to short track racers. I can't speak for Manion because I have not followed his career, but I have followed Newman's. 

I see no indication, let alone proof that Newman knew anything about an unapproved intake manifold on Manion's car. While Newman has earned an engineering degree at college, all that means is that he can understand what occurred. But, he is not the engineer or crew chief of that car. There is no indication that he knew anything about what was under the hood of that race car. He is the driver. All he cared about was that it responded when he gave it the gas.

What has been proven is Newman's sincerity. I will never believe that he would intentionally cheat to win a race. I must take issue with Courchesne for his criticism of Newman's intentions and respect for the NWMT series in particular and short-track racing in general. 

To me, this is just another stroke of Newman's bad luck. Someone tampered with the car to purposefully make it beat the competition. I do not believe it was Newman.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

One-Two Punch for Stewart-Haas Racing

Ryan Newman stands beside his Number 39 Army C...Image via WikipediaRyan Newman took ownership of New Hampshire Motor Speedway at Louden this weekend. First he gained the pole twice--then he chalked up a couple of wins. His qualifying lap even set a new track record. Excellent job, Newman!

The first feat in Newman's double play occurred early Saturday when he won his third Whelen Modified Tour, a NASCAR open-wheeled race. It was Newman's third win in New Hampshire and his fourth straight win overall. 

Newman second feat was on the Sprint Cup side Sunday, as he and the entire #39 team dominated the race, leading the most laps of the day--119 of 301. Earning the pole position, Newman started first and finished first.  

Not only was Newman's performance stellar for the entire 301 laps of the race, but the end was a nail-biter. Crew Chief Tony Gibson reminded him every lap to save fuel. Newman worked the throttle gingerly as he aimed for the finish line. He said on the radio as he crossed the finish line that he thought he may have about a gallon left. Whoops and hollers could be heard from his team over the radio. He picked up both the checkered flag to signify his win and an American flag to honor his U.S. Army sponsor. 

As he carried the American flag, that waved from his window, Newman's smokey burnout came to an abrupt end. He finally ran out of gas. 

This wasn't just a win for Newman and his team. It was a win for Stewart-Haas Racing, as teammate and owner Tony Stewart crossed the finish line directly after his teammate. Stewart was second on the pole and at the end. It was a one-two punch for the racers hungry for that win. 

Newman gained a point in the standings, along with gaining that insurance of one in the win column, which all but ensures his spot in the coveted race for the championship. Newman is now eighth in points in the top 12. 
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Ryan Newman rocks!

Two poles in one weekend--Ryan Newman rocks--or is that ROCKETS?!

And a new track record!

Newman catapulted to 4th on restart

Ryan Newman comes down on pit road for a red f...Image via WikipediaI don't suppose I will ever be happy with rained-out qualifying, although once again Ryan Newman made a little lemonade out of the lemons he was handed. 

Starting in mid-pack last week at the inaugural race at Kentucky, it was painful to watch Newman have to start 18th. It was harder to watch his team struggle yet again with an ill-handling race car. 

The pain turned right around though, due to some creative strategy and skilled wrenching on the #39 car. Though not ideal, racing today has as much to do with strategy as it does driving. Fortunately, Newman gets high marks in both. 

While Newman has so much going for him, the one place where he definitely needs improvement is his relationship with Lady Luck. 

This week, she picked Newman over Jamie McMurray whose engine blew up just before Newman was planning to pit under green. He was running in second place at the time. The caution under yellow enabled him to restart in the top 10, with new tires and fuel. 

One more pit stop was all Newman needed. The combination of driving ability and strategy catapulted him forward during the last two laps to a well-earned, much-needed fourth-place finish. 

So despite the iffy beginning, the end of the race, especially, Newman's final restart where he overcame three positions in the blink of an eye, was a beautiful thing to watch.

Newman's performance was reflected in the points' standings as well, as he now stands ninth in the upcoming 12-man Chase to the Championship.
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ryan Newman's mixed bag at Daytona

Congratulations to Ryan Newman. Not only did he run the fastest lap--199.252 mph--in last night's race, which earned him an award from Goodyear, but he also led the most laps--25, just like he did at the season opener at Daytona. For his efforts, the Rocketman won a $5,800 award from Goodyear.

But that's not all...

I'm sure this honor helped soothe Newman's ire, yet probably not enough to erase the feeling that victory was snatched away from him once again on a restrictor-plate track.

What a roller coaster ride--to be leading the last lap with victory in sight--only to get wrecked--finishing 22nd. 

The tandem team of Newman and Denny Hamlin were in the right position to win--with Newman second and Hamlin fourth. They got a good restart as they were able to work together at the line. But so did David Ragan and Matt Kenseth who took the lead by inches. Newman and Hamlin then got shuffled into the middle of a three-wide pack when Logano and Kasey Kahne took the outside. 

Newman and Hamlin fell back as they were sandwiched alone between the two long-lined, fast-moving drafts. Then, Though it wasn't clear what happened next because cameras were focused on the race lead, according to the replay above it looked like Dale Earnhartdt, Jr., got into Jaimie McMurray who got into Newman, pinning him against the wall, turning him around. Hamlin was able to scramble through the grass, allowing him to finish 13th while Newman had to right his car before charging for the start/finish line.

It was a sad night at Daytona for Newman and those of us who root for him. Thank goodness, Newman was able to maintain his 10-point standing, though with only 9 races left before the Chase for the Championship, it is time for Lady Luck to go on to something or someone else.

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