Greg Newman proud to see son Ryan finally arrive
Maybe Ryan Newman had doubts before winning the Daytona 500. It's safe to say proud papa Greg Newman didn't, writes Marty Smith.
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One Dodge crew chief told me that's inaccurate, Mike. I'm told NASCAR changed the gear rule after the Daytona preseason test, not just before the Duel.
The rule, according to the crew chief, who chose not to be named, was a 3.70 or a 3.75 gear, which was changed to a 3.64 or 3.70. The rule was changed, the crew chief said, because the 3.75 gear created too much RPM for the engines to tolerate. Had NASCAR not changed it, the crew chief said, "half the field would have blown up."Marty, I'm an IndyCar fan and never really cared much for NASCAR, but I've always followed Sam Hornish's career. On Fox they seemed to make a big deal of Sam's effort in the Daytona 500. He never contended. Why is this such a great effort?-- Barry Simmons, Terre Haute, Ind.
Jeez, Barry Are your expectations high enough, man? Hornish was great. He ran in the top 10 all day -- and the Jimmie Johnson wreck wasn't his fault. The fact that he didn't end up in the fence is impressive enough. His only mistake all day was a slide through his pit box that resulted, he said, in about 15 lost positions and likely cost him a top-10 finish in the big show.All that, and he's a brand-new father. Not a bad start to 2008 for young Sam. "While I was baby-sitting my daughter, I actually watched the whole race all over again," Hornish said Monday. "I was really happy how everything went. My hands were sweating with 20 laps remaining, and I had already been in it -- lived through it. That's how exciting it was for me."Hey Marty,Who ultimately decides to get rid of a crew chief? Does it boil down to the driver, or the owner, with driver opinion included? And vice versa when hiring someone that's been fired? Thanks man.-- John, Madison, Ala.It's the owner's decision, John, but typically the driver has input. I remember last year, though, how ticked Greg Biffle was when Pat Tryson was let go from Roush Fenway Racing. Sometimes the owner overrules. It is ultimately his or her choice.That's my time, y'all. Hug your young'ns.
Marty Smith is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage. He can be reached at ESPNsider@aol.com.