One half of the Stewart-Haas driver pairing has gotten off to a good start this season. Tony Stewart is fourth in points and has finished in the top 10 in both races. The other half, Ryan Newman, has been the unlucky dog.
One half of the Stewart-Haas driver pairing has gotten off to a good start this season.
Tony Stewart is fourth in points and has finished in the top 10 in both races. The other half, Ryan Newman, has been the unlucky dog.
A multitude of crashes during the week at Daytona ultimately left him in 36th place at the end of the day. In California, he finished 28th.
"It has definitely been an interesting couple of weeks for the team," Newman said. "You want to sit back and just say, 'What else?' But you have to keep working through it."
Newman gets by by chalking it up to bad luck.
"Luck is a big part of racing," he said. "You can have the best car at the track all day, have a huge lead and have some freak issue occur one corner from the end of the race - and that's it. Unfortunately, we've been on the bad luck side of things for the last two races. ... I'm just ready for my luck to change."
With fortunes as sour as they've been to start the season, Newman doesn't look for any of his crew to be spending much time on extra-curricular activity this weekend.
"I don't think you'll see too many guys testing their luck at the tables," he said. "With the luck we've had, (crew chief) Tony Gibson and I talked about it, and we are afraid that we would either lose all our money or we would use up what good luck is coming our way. So, either way, we're going to refrain from gambling."
'GH' air date
Jeff Burton's appearance on the ABC soap opera General Hospital will be televised March 18.
New motor woes
Five Toyota teams, including polesitter Kyle Busch, will be forced to start from the rear of the field today after engine changes.
Joining Busch in the back will be David Reutimann, Marcos Ambrose of Michael Waltrip Racing and Brian Vickers and Scott Speed of Team Red Bull.
Toyota Racing Development director Lee White told ESPN.com that the problem with all of the cars but Busch's is a wear issue with the cam shaft. Michael Waltrip had a similar issue last week. Busch's team, Joe Gibbs Racing, builds its own motors.
White had a meeting with NASCAR president Mike Helton, among others, on Saturday morning to address the issue.
Old motor woes
The valve spring issues affecting several of the Hendrick cars at California did not plague Jimmie Johnson's.
"It appears that a batch of valve springs that got our other two cars and they literally broke on the same lap," he said. "Fortunately my car and Jeff (Gordon's) car didn't have those in them or the No. 39 (Ryan Newman) or the No. 14 (Tony Stewart) and we made it through. So it's frustrating on that part because there is no way to X-ray valve spring and components beforehand to find impurities. Once something breaks, you can get in there and look at it and it's pretty easy at that point for our guys to know what went on. But it's frustrating on the front side.
"We develop components for months and months on end and endurance test them and then you get a batch that comes in that has some containment in it and you have a failure. It's just one of the risks that are out there."
Keeping the heat off
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief (and cousin) Tony Eury Jr. often takes most of the criticism when Junior runs poorly.
However, since the infamous wreck at Daytona which Earhardt Jr. helped cause, he's been taking the heat.
"I told him after Daytona I done him a big ol' favor, which is actually pretty good," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Because when he's not getting so much criticism, he's not under so much pressure and I get what I hope is a better race car. Maybe I should just keep doin' things to get all the criticism and give him a break, which is fine with me."
It's been a tough early season for Junior.
"It just seems like I ain't livin' right," he said. "Just hopefully I can get things turned around and get my karma going in the right direction."
Justin Allgaier of Springfield, Ill., had a good day Saturday in the Las Vegas Nationwide race, running as high as second before falling back to an eighth-place finish in the crash-filled affair.
There were 12 cautions and two red flags after numerous multi-car crashes that left half the cars in the race in the garage area at the finish.
Sometimes Nationwide races are a preview of the Cup race, sometimes not.
So we'll see what happens.
Jane Miller is the Journal Star motorsports columnist. She can be reached at email@example.com or 686-3207.