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Newman earns 4th win in 6 ARCA tries

By KEVIN KELLY

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 12, 2001


DAYTONA BEACH -- Ryan Newman plans to enter 11 Busch Grand National and five Winston Cup races this season.

His competitors in the ARCA series must be counting the days.

Newman passed leader Ricky Hendrick on a restart 12 laps from the finish and held on to win the Discount Auto Parts 200 on Sunday for his fourth win in six career ARCA starts.

"Unfortunately for (Hendrick), but fortunately for me, he had a little problem on that restart and we got out front," said Newman, who drives the No. 27 Ford. "I've achieved my goal, and now I'm already thinking of the next one."

It was the first race at Daytona International Speedway for the 23-year-old Purdue engineering student, who is pegged as Roger Penske's driver of the future and has been mentored by Buddy Baker.

"You don't very often hear Buddy Baker scream, but I think it was him screaming in the earphones there," Newman said. "He was just so happy when I pulled up into Victory Lane."

AND THE ESPY GOES TO . . .: Bobby Labonte, who won his first Winston Cup title last season, will attend the ESPY Awards in Las Vegas tonight.

He was nominated for Driver of the Year along with CART champion Gil de Ferran, NHRA Funny Car great John Force and defending IRL champion Buddy Lazier.

"To be nominated for Driver of the Year -- when you think about all the race car drivers that are out there, then it really makes you go, 'Holy cow. This is huge,' " Labonte said. WIND TUNNEL/RESTRICTOR PLATE SIZE: NASCAR planned before Sunday's race to take the top four cars from the Budweiser Shootout for testing, NASCAR president Mike Helton said.

"This is not a wind tunnel test to make a change for Speedweeks," he said. "This is an information-collection wind tunnel test that we had the opportunity to do with race cars off the racetrack. It doesn't mean we're going to react with any type of rule change."

Winston Cup director Gary Nelson quelled rumors that a change would be made in the size of the holes in restrictor plates.

"We're going to take the plates off the cars and put them back on Thursday (for the Twin 125s)," he said. "The speeds, the performance, the comments from the drivers all seem to be more and more positive."

NADEAU UPDATE: A decision will be made today about a possible penalty for Jerry Nadeau and the No. 25 Chevrolet team.

Nadeau had the second-best speed (182.763 mph) during qualifying Saturday, but the time was disallowed after NASCAR inspectors found the roof to be more than ahalf-inch lower than allowed.

LOST LOGOS: Helton said he would look into some sponsor logos being airbrushed out during Fox's telecast Sunday. When the network showed still shots of the drivers and cars, all sponsors were left off except Home Depot, Budweiser, Texaco and Kellogg's. The race was NASCAR's first on Fox.

ODDS AND ENDS: Donnie Morelock of Clearwater finished 38th in the Discount Auto Parts 200. ... ARCA driver Ron Cox, part of a four-car accident on Lap 19, was treated and released from the infield care center with a broken left elbow, a concussion and a bruised left shoulder. ... Rusty Wallace will be at the Ice Palace for the Lightning's game against Phoenix on Tuesday. He will greet fans and sign autographs on the main concourse from 6:30-7:25 p.m.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The thing about when I ran 210 (mph) in 1987, when you left pit road, you didn't know if you were coming back. Now you've got an idea you're coming back." -- Daytona 500 pole winner Bill Elliott, who set the track qualifying record with a lap of 210.364 mph in 1987 and qualified at 183.565 mph Saturday.

* * *

COMING FRIDAY: The Times' annual auto racing special section, featuring a look at NASCAR's new TV deal.

Directions

Follow Interstate 4 east to I-95 North exit on the left toward Jacksonville. Merge onto I-95 North exit and follow to U.S. Highway 92 exit (No. 87) toward DeLand/Daytona Beach. Merge onto U.S. 92 East until you see the speedway.

Schedule

Events at Daytona International Speedway:

TODAY: Winston Cup, Craftsman Trucks, IROC practice; Winston Cup second-round qualifying.

TUESDAY: Winston Cup, Busch Grand National practice; Craftsman Trucks qualifying.

WEDNESDAY: Busch Grand National qualifying; Craftsman Trucks second-round qualifying; IROC practice.

THURSDAY: Winston Cup 125-mile qualifying races; BGN practice/second-round qualifying; IROC practice.

FRIDAY: Craftsman Trucks Daytona 250; IROC race; Winston Cup, BGN practice.

SATURDAY: Busch Grand National NAPA 300; Winston Cup practice.

SUNDAY: Winston Cup Daytona 500, 1 p.m..

TICKET INFORMATION: Call (904) 253-7223 or check http://www.daytonaintlspeedway.com

Today's weather

Mostly cloudy with a high of 74 degrees in Daytona Beach.

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