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Dodge September 14th weekend preview

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Dodge September 14th weekend preview
Sep 12, 2003, 5:18 PM

NASCAR Winston Cup Series LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 10, 2003) - Ryan Newman won his first NASCAR Winston Cup race last year in the September event at New Hampshire International Speedway in only his 35th start in NASCAR's premiere series. Since then, ...

NASCAR Winston Cup Series

LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 10, 2003) - Ryan Newman won his first NASCAR Winston Cup race last year in the September event at New Hampshire International Speedway in only his 35th start in NASCAR's premiere series.

Since then, Newman and his No. 12 ALLTEL team have made 35 more starts and won six times in the Dodge Intrepid out of the Penske Racing South shop. Newman's seven career victories in 70 starts give him a 10 percent winning percentage, and only one driver in NASCAR's Modern Era has achieved seven victories faster than Newman.

Defending series champion Tony Stewart won seven races in his first 61 starts, an 11.47 percent winning percentage. Fourteen other drivers in NASCAR history reached their seventh win quicker than Newman. According to figures supplied by NASCAR Statistical Services, A.J. Foyt, Junior Johnson, Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner and Tim and Fonty Flock are some members of that elite group.

Newman has a very impressive winning percentage of 23 percent (six wins in 26 starts) this season, and he leads the circuit with victories and poles (six.). Newman moved to sixth in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings following his victory last Saturday night in the slugfest at Richmond, and he trails fifth-place Jeff Gordon by only 16 points with 10 races remaining.

With wins this season at Texas, Dover, Chicago, Pocono, Michigan and Richmond, Newman admits that last season's triumph at New Hampshire still stands out.

"The Loudon win last September is one I'll always remember just for the simple fact that it was my first Winston Cup career win, but we've gone on to win quite a few since that rainy day," Newman said. "Every win since has had a different feeling when I pulled into Victory Lane.

"I thought Dover was my best race because it was done with no power steering. Chicago and Pocono were won because of team strategy. Michigan was won on fuel also, but it was nice to come back after enduring a fire like I had there in June. Bottom line is, winning is just awesome no matter how you do it."

Newman won last year's New Hampshire race from pole position. He has 13 career poles and already ranks 25th among Modern Era drivers in that category.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

The series returns to New Hampshire International Speedway's 1.058-mile, low-banked oval for the eighth time on Saturday with No. 62 Orleans Racing Dodge Ram driver Brendan Gaughan leading the series standings by five points over Travis Kvapil.

Ted Musgrave, veteran driver of the No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram, lurks close behind the leader. Musgrave closed to within 39 points of Gaughan with a third-place finish last week at Richmond.

With victories, so far in 2003, at Texas, Milwaukee, Michigan and Madison, Gaughan has won more races than any other competitor in this year's series. In addition, Gaughan has 10 top fives and 14 top 10s.

"This is definitely a special race for our team," Gaughan said. "Our crew chief, Shane Wilson, our shock expert, Steve Hibbard, and our team trainer, Brett Bergeron, all come from this area. With all their friends and family here, this would be one of the places to take a win. Last year we qualified fourth and finished fifth. Now we're ready to try and better it."

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series

Whit Bazemore, who is seeking his first NHRA Nitro Funny Car championship and is just 57 points out of the lead in second, returns to Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., where, as the song goes, the "air is rarefied."

The driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny car says it just might be possible for him to match his career low elapsed time established here in 2001 of 4.732 seconds, or even better it at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals this weekend at the track famous for its record-breaking capability.

Because of the number of trees that surround this track and the oxygen they emit, the air quality under the cooler conditions, which are often present in September, make the Funny Car engines, which can produce 6500-plus horsepower, even more powerful.

"It's a really good track," says Bazemore, who has been runner-up twice here in 2001 and 2002, but never a winner. "It depends on the conditions. Right now if the overcast conditions that the local weather reports are calling for arrive, there's no telling what kind of performance we could see.

"Lee (Beard, crew chief) has our Matco Tools Dodge running very well, and we're capable of running low 4.70s right now, especially with the Goodyear tires we have, which are different from what we had in '01. It would be great to be able to get that kind of performance out of the car, but we'll just have to wait and see what the conditions allow us to do."

Last year at Maple Grove Bazemore qualified No. 1 with a 4.806-second elapsed time, and was runner-up to Tony Pedregon, whom he's pursuing for the Funny Car crown this season.

O'Reilly World of Outlaws

The fierce battle for the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series Silver Anniversary championship will resume at Hollywood Hills Speedway in San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., this weekend.

Standings leader Steve Kinser increased his advantage to 13 points over Danny Lasoski by successfully defending his Gold Cup Race of Champions title at Silver Dollar Speedway last weekend. Saturday's $20,000 victory was the 19th straight single-digit finish for "The King of the Outlaws," who has won all six feature races at Hollywood Hills.

Kinser, defending and 17-time series champion, took the points lead with a third-place finish at The Raceway at Powercom Park on Aug. 3. Lasoski, driver of the No. 20 Mopar-powered J.D. Byrider Eagle, regained the lead by winning all three feature races during Calistoga Speedway's Harvest Classic in late August, only to have Kinser move past him with a victory at Thunderbowl Raceway.

Lasoski, who led the point standings for 45 of the first 46 events, has recorded 11 straight single-digit finishes in main events. "The Dude," the series leader with 25 fast times, set Hollywood Hills' single-lap record with a 105.916 mph lap in March.

-dodge motorsports-

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