Friday, June 4, 2004

Newman sees Dover as cure for ailing season


Auto racing

The Associated Press

DOVER, Del. - Ryan Newman insists a race on The Monster Mile could be exactly what's needed to jump-start his season.

Dover International Speedway is one of the most demanding tracks on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit. Still, Newman is confident he can end an 18-race drought with a victory Sunday in the MBNA America 400.

He beat the high-banked concrete oval twice last year. That's particularly impressive because he overcame adversity both times.

"The bottom line is we've proven we can get around the racetrack and we can win here," Newman said. "Now, the determining factor is we've got to go back and repeat."

Last June, Newman was forced for half the 400-mile race to muscle his 3,400-pound Dodge around the track without power steering.

In the fall race, Newman recovered after losing two laps because of a flat tire.

The speed that has led Newman to 21 poles and nine victories in less than three full seasons on the circuit is put to good use here.

"Cars are able to pass instead of beating on each other," Newman said.

Newman was expected to be one of a handful of drivers battling for the top spot in the standings, but stands in ninth place.

"We've got no excuse," he said.

Newman's toughest opponent might be Jimmie Johnson, coming off a pole-race sweep last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Johnson crashed last spring at Dover, and finished eighth to Newman in the fall after sweeping the races here in 2002.

But Newman and Johnson are by no means staging a match race. Sweeps at Dover also have been accomplished in the last decade by Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace, who set the track qualifying record of 159.954 mph in 1999.

CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS: Carl Edwards won the pole for Saturday's MBNA America 200 race at Dover, Del. Edwards drove his Ford to a lap of 152.893 mph, about two-hundredths of a second quicker than the Chevrolet of Jack Sprague.




REDS
Bring on No. 500
Where he wants to be

MORE BASEBALL
AL: Yankees continue Orioles dominance
NL: Mets show no love for Burnett
Arizona will lose Sexson to surgery
Nine RBI make for career night for Guerrero

PREP SPORTS
Brackman's tune stays same
Tigers bag Ninth Region title
Locals ready for state challenge
Area athletes begin treks for titles
Prep results, schedule

BENGALS
Club expects Gardener today
Warner now Giants' seat warmer at QB

HORSE RACING
Expect Smarty to get his Crown

DAUGHERTY COLUMN
Daugherty: Tiger not the buzz at Memorial

GOLF
Els solid, par 5's aside
Couples: Course could get tough

TENNIS
Russian will win women's French Open title

NBA
Brown has been through it all, except NBA title

AUTO RACING
Newman sees Dover as cure for ailing season

HOCKEY
Flames one step from claiming Cup

TV
Sports today on TV, radio

OTHER SPORTS
Sports briefs