Newman anticipates teaming with Busch


EOG Master
Newman anticipates teaming with Busch

By Dave Rodman, NASCAR.COM
<SCRIPT language=JavaScript type=text/javascript>var clickExpire = "-1";</SCRIPT>DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Ryan Newman is a classic engineer and an even more classic racecar driver.
He's going to work hard for any advantage he can gain with his cars, using a diverse blend of science and seat-of-the-pants feel -- and he's not going to easily surrender that information, even to a teammate.
<!--startclickprintexclude-->between himself and his former veteran teammate, Rusty Wallace, who retired from full-time Nextel Cup Series driving following the 2005 season.
On Monday, Newman said he's anticipating a different attitude this season between himself and Penske Racing South teammate Kurt Busch, as Newman held court in the infield media center on the opening day of Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder stock car testing at Daytona International Speedway.
The bottom line is Newman's No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge team returns with crew chief Matt Borland and his squad virtually intact from a season in which they finished a dissatisfied sixth -- the fourth consecutive season in which he's finished sixth or seventh.
Busch, the 2004 Nextel Cup champion who ended up 10th last season after he was "benched" for the last two races by his owner, Jack Roush, steps into the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge formerly driven by Wallace.
Busch is scheduled to test Jan. 16-18 with new crew chief Roy McCauley, an engineer who not coincidentally led Newman to six wins in nine Busch Series starts last season.
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</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><!--endclickprintexclude-->The chance to start over is an intriguing proposition for Newman.
"I look forward to Kurt and the entire team," Newman said. "I'd say 60 to 70 percent of the [No. 2] team has changed, personnel wise [and] everybody at the 12 and 2 look forward to working together.
"We had a lot of conflicting things in the past, and that's all behind us. Basically we're all rookies again as far as us at the 12 and the people at the 2 as far as being a two-car team and being efficient.
"It's going to take us some time to refine our ways and define our ways at the same time. It's something I look forward to [because] it's something that could be good for my career and success at Penske Racing."
So far, Newman's car control and the experience gained in four full seasons of Cup racing -- including a league-leading 34 Bud Poles, plus 12 race victories, 50 top-five and 74 top-10 finishes in that period -- set a pretty fair legacy.
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</TD><TD class=boxTitle width=170 bgColor=#756558>ACCELERATION 2006

</TD></TR><TR><TD style="PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" colSpan=2>There's more to the new season than just driver changes. Read more about what to watch for as we rev toward Daytona.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD class=boxStory>? </TD><TD class=boxStory>Testing archive, click here</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD class=boxStory>? </TD><TD class=boxStory>Complete coverage, click here</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><!--endclickprintexclude-->But Newman said Monday that in the past, for better or worse, his team had almost considered itself on an island, no matter how many other cars Penske fielded.
In 2005, Penske's team count reached its peak, three, including the No. 77 Kodak Dodge driven by rookie Travis Kvapil, but for this season the organization will only have the two full-time programs for Newman and Busch.
"We never depended on the other teams -- we depended on ourselves," Newman said. "Talking about the 77 changing, that really doesn't affect the way our season may or will go.
"We look forward to the opportunity to work with Kurt and his team. It's going to be a learning experience. Actually there are a lot of things I don't have to learn with a defined teammate.
"Hopefully we'll have all the right morals and those things so when time passes we're still on the same page. It's a team sport, and I've always said it's a conflict of interest when you're helping somebody you're competing against.
"It's a difficult situation, but in the grand scheme of things if everything works right, if you have an equation that works out the way Jack Roush's did last year, nobody complains about that except NASCAR."
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</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><!--endclickprintexclude-->Newman referred to team owner Roush, who won the 2003 and 2004 Cup titles and then placed all five of his teams in the 10-man Chase for the Nextel Cup in 2005.
"It's something we'll have to work on, but in this sport, you don't want to be dependent on anybody else other than your own team," Newman said. "It's not just me. There are things I'm going to have to learn, but the engineers working together, the crew chiefs working together, the people on the teams working together -- when it comes to information sharing and things like that, that's what we're going to have to work on. I think it'll be easy, but I think it's something that will benefit us at the same time.
"It's going to be a different situation, a different scenario, and hopefully the cards will play out differently this time