Owner: Roger Penske • Team: Penske Racing South • Crew Chief: Matt Borland
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Final Points Standing
After First 26 Races
Lead Lap Finishes
Below is the ranking of the team on each type of
track along with the driver's best finish.
1st, Michigan, Dover
2005 Spin The 2004 season turned out to be a disappointment for the ALLTEL crew when the points were counted after Homestead. We predicted big things from this team in last year’s preview, but they fell short of our expectations. Regardless, we predict Newman to finish fifth after looking at why he managed only a seventh-place finish in 2004.
Newman might be the best raw talent on the circuit. His well-documented engineering background gives him a leg up on the field in practice and when making mid-race adjustments. The more aero and chassis geometry that comes into play, the better for Newman.
However, the team must improve engine durability if it hopes to be in contention in ‘05.
For the third consecutive season, the team will have to figure out a new body style, as Dodge is switching to the new Charger make. We see the ALLTEL bunch putting the pieces together quicker than the other Dodge teams. Don’t be surprised if they catch fire and win the most races, like they did in ‘03.
There is one key factor that helped Newman earn a top spot on our list. The fact that he ignored teammate Rusty Wallace’s request to back off at Martinsville is proof that Newman is a hard-core racer. That’s what it takes to make our top 5.
Newman’s 2004 campaign fell way short of expectations. By the time spring rolled around, he had rebounded from a shaky start and found himself in the top 10. But the second half of the season was a disappointment as he failed to make a strong push for the Championship.
While Newman had some good runs and won two races, the edge he had in ‘03 was not to be found. He continued his assault on Fridays with 13 front row starts, but race day found too many mechanical problems that ultimately ruined the season.
Newman raced his way into the Chase and was set to make a run at the title. However, that run went up in smoke 38 laps short of the finish in Loudon when his engine blew. A dominating win at Dover didn’t help, as bad pit strategy and accidents elsewhere took the ALLTEL Dodge out of the hunt.
• The Good: Newman did not back off per the request of teammate Rusty Wallace at Martinsville. You race to win. It’s that simple. Newman was in the Championship hunt and was right by not stepping aside.
• The Bad: At Kansas, Newman made an uncharacteristic driver error that took him out of the race with a competitive car. We don’t know if this was pressure to catch up in the points or just a simple lapse in concentration.
• The Ugly: Blown motors at New Hampshire and Darlington ruined any championship hopes for the ALLTEL team. The preseason favorite never threatened in the Chase stretch.