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MOTOR RACING

Newman Uses Caution in Victory at Dover

September 22, 2003|From Associated Press

Ryan Newman held his position when asked if victory softened his dislike for NASCAR's ban on racing back to the flag stand under caution.

After he lost two laps Sunday, Newman benefited by a new rule that gives a lap to the highest-scored car not on the lead lap. The rule helped him win the MBNA America 400 on Sunday at Dover, Del.

"I still believe what I said," Newman said. "We dealt with what rules we had to play with today, and that won us the game."

After overcoming the deficit created by a flat tire, he fought his way back, got his one-lap gift and then gambled on fuel. The result was a sweep of this year's races at The Monster Mile.

Newman drove the last 106 laps in a Dodge without stopping and earned his seventh victory this season. He benefited from two late caution flags that slowed the field for 12 laps, allowing him to save gas.

Crew chief Matt Borland knew the yellow flags would be necessary for Newman to go the distance, and he got them.

"We really didn't have anything to lose at that point," Borland said of the fuel strategy.

This was the first Winston Cup event in which racing back to the flag stand under caution was prohibited.

NASCAR outlawed the practice after Dale Jarrett's wrecked car sat precariously in the middle of the track as others attempted to unlap themselves or improve their positions a week earlier at New Hampshire.

Newman regained the second lap by staying on the track on Lap 328.

He held off hard-charging Jeremy Mayfield, who harassed him until Newman opened a five-car-length lead with 15 laps to go. Mayfield finished second in a Dodge.

*

Rain forced NHRA officials to postpone completion of the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park until today.

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