By Dave Rodman, NASCAR.COM
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- On Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, Ryan Newman and crew chief Matt Borland played magicians again, parlaying several free passes into a point-saving 14th place finish in the GFS Marketplace 400.
The result, though dropping Newman to 13th in the Nextel Cup standings, enabled him to remain within 44 points of the critical 10th place cutoff for the Chase for the Nextel Cup. But his Penske Racing teammates weren't so fortunate.
Both Brendan Gaughan and Rusty Wallace suffered engine failures in their respective Dodge Intrepids, relegating them to finishes of 33rd and 36th.
"The Penske-Jasper horsepower doesn't make many mistakes, so when they make one it doesn't bother me," Gaughan said. "It just went. We came out of Turn 3 and put it to the floor and it started to miss and started getting worse and worse."
Gaughan's No. 77 Dodge was out after 157 of 200 laps, remained in 30th in the standings after the finish but was undaunted as the series heads to the Bristol short track this weekend.
"This team is so smart, and that's what I like about these guys," Gaughan said. "We have such a smart team (and) we'll be back."
Wallace hardly had a chance to show the mettle of his No. 2 Dodge, as he fell out after 109 laps. He is now 375 points out of 10th, in 19th position.
"At times we had the fastest car in the field, by far the best car I've had all year long," Wallace said. "This was a really great car, but the bad luck just keeps continuing.
"We just can't get the durability. We've run out of gas, transmissions here, a blown motor there, blown motor here. We're trying like heck.
"We've got the speed, we just can't get the thing to the end. I think it's (making top-10) pretty well done, but I don't give up."