Martinsville: Ryan Newman preview

* Ryan Newman, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, has two poles at Martinsville Speedway. Newman also has five top-five and six top-10 finishes at the .526-mile oval in 12 NASCAR Cup starts. Newman's best finish at Martinsville ...

Martinsville: Ryan Newman preview

* Ryan Newman, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, has two poles at Martinsville Speedway. Newman also has five top-five and six top-10 finishes at the .526-mile oval in 12 NASCAR Cup starts. Newman's best finish at Martinsville was a second-place effort last fall.

* Newman calls his October 2007 second-place finish at Martinsville, "one that got away." With less than 10 laps left in the race, Newman had patiently made his way into the second spot and was quickly chasing down leader Jimmie Johnson. However, just as Newman caught up with Johnson, the caution flag waved, handing Johnson the win.

"Certainly there was some disappointment," Newman said of the second-place finish. "If I could have run that last lap, I might have won, but we'll never know."

* Crew chief Roy McCauley has a win to his credit at Martinsville. McCauley was the race engineer for Ricky Craven, when he won at Martinsville in 2001.

* Martinsville Speedway played a key role in the formation of the Ryan Newman Foundation (www.ryannewmanfoundation.org). In 2004, a fan at the track gave a letter to Krissie Newman which reduced her to tears. The woman and her family had taken in a stray dog which had become pregnant and gave birth to 15 puppies. The woman's family did not have the means to provide veterinary care and food for all their dogs. Feeling like she had nowhere to turn and not wanting to shirk the responsibilities of caring for the dogs, the woman enlisted the advice of her favorite NASCAR driver and his wife Krissie. The woman had seen television interviews with the couple about their love for animals, and she thought that if anyone could help her, the Newmans could. The Newmans paid a local veterinarian to spay/neuter and vaccinate all the dogs and took a majority of them to a no-kill animal shelter in North Carolina. Realizing that this problem was nationwide, the Newmans established the Ryan Newman Foundation in January 2005. One of the Foundation's primary focuses is to ensure that the much-needed services of no-kill animal shelters and public low-cost spay/neuter clinics are available in communities across the U.S.

RYAN NEWMAN:

THE KEYS TO MARTINSVILLE: "Martinsville is a good bit different that Bristol, but you kind of have to race it the same. It's 500 laps. It's a place where you have to be patient. The brake pedal is as important as the gas pedal there, and you don't want to get a lap down.

"The banking and all the loads on the driver is a lot less at Martinsville than at Bristol, so it is a lot easier to drive as long as you have a fast car. The Alltel Dodge was extremely fast at Bristol, even after we wrecked. If our Alltel Dodge at Martinsville is anything like what we had at Bristol, I think we'll have a good weekend. We've had some really good Martinsville finishes, and we would like to continue that trend this weekend."

LAST FALL'S RUNNER-UP FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE: "It's the one that got away. I still wish we had that last lap back. I got inside of (Jimmie Johnson) and then the white and yellow came out. I know I would have a shot. I had my nose at his left rear tire at the start-finish line getting the white flag. But it just never happened."

ROY MCCAULEY:

THE KEYS TO MARTINSVILLE: "Being able to turn in the center of the corner is the secret to Martinsville. If your car can't turn in the center, you burn your brakes up and you're done. If you can't roll through the center with speed, the driver by nature will overcompensate, which means that they are going to overdrive the car and that's going to hurt us over the course of 500 laps. The braking at Martinsville is just as important as going fast, so having a car that handles well in the corners is key."

RACING AT MARTINSVILLE: "Martinsville is one of my favorite tracks. It's a real race track, and the history there is something that you really have to respect. Ryan had a really great run there last fall and was very close to getting the win. We want to go back there and pick up where he left off last fall, and try and get some of those points back that we lost last weekend at Bristol after getting caught up in another person's wreck. We would like to go to another short track and show just how fast we can be."

CHASSIS NOTES

PRS-513: This No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger has been the backup car for most of the 2008 season's races. The Martinsville race will mark its first time on track this season.

PRS-509: The No. 12 Alltel team tested this week's backup Charger at Phoenix International Raceway last month.

-credit: pr

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