Newman’s crew wins title
The No. 12 Alltel Dodge team led by crew chief Mike Nelson won the third annual NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge presented by Craftsman in a thrilling all-Dodge final. The team edged the No. 43 Cheerios Dodge team led by Paul Andrews by .33 seconds to grab the championship and the $70,300 prize.
It looked like the No. 12 team would falter in the finals when jack man Britt Goodrich had trouble lifting the second side of the car and was late getting to the car for the final push. The No. 43 crew had their Dodge rolling first, but was unable to hold off the hard-charging No. 12 team.
The Alltell Dodge team finished the competition in impressive fashion. The team was assessed a five second penalty in the first round for excessive fuel spillage but was flawless afterwards. In each of the final four rounds, the No. 12 team posted the top time.
The team had been successful in the previous two events as well, making the quarterfinal round in 2006 and the semifinal round in 2005.
The crew of the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, the defending champions, were knocked out of the competition in the first round. The team beat the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet team to the finish line, but was penalized three seconds for having a loose lug nut.
The No. 9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge team was also eliminated in the first round. The team won the inaugural competition in 2005 and finished second last year.
Jeff Patterson and Brian Larson – the gasman and catch can man for the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet – won the individual competition for the second consecutive season to win $10,000 each. They were the only individuals to repeat as champions.
No. 12 Alltell Dodge
Crew chief - Mike Nelson
Front Tire Changer - Ben Brown
Front Tire Carrier - Scott Reiniger
Rear Tire Changer - Joe Piette Jr.
Rear Tire Carrier - Trent Cherry
Gas man - George Whitley
Catch can - Brian White
Jack man - Britt Goodrich
Jack man – Mitch Lash (No. 44 UPS Toyota) – 5.94 seconds **
Gas man/Catch Can – Jeff Patterson/Brian Larson (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) – 10.92 seconds
Front Tire Changer/Carrier – Nick O’Dell/Jason Gay (No. 9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge) – 15.18 seconds
Rear Tire Changer/Carrier – Daniel Rankin/Bryan Rockwell (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge) – 13.85 **
** New individual record