Kyle Busch's epic triple ends with disappointing thud at Pocono
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Newman working on deal with Penske, but listening to othersTeam owner Roger Penske said he does not believe uncertainty surrounding primary sponsor Alltel will affect negotiations with driver Ryan Newman. Communications company Alltel last week indicated it has agreed to sell its business to Verizon in a deal that should conclude by the end of this year. Verizon will not be able to replace Alltel as a sponsor on Newman's car, NASCAR officials said, citing the ATT/Cingular issue involving Richard Childress Racing and Jeff Burton's car in 2007. "We have not had any discussion strategically how that [sale] will affect the brand at this point," Penske said on Sunday at Pocono Raceway. "They have a number of options. It's way too early for me to speculate what's going to happen with the sponsorship. We're waiting to see when the transaction, if it happens, when it gets executed and what's going to be the brand strategy." Penske said his team could absorb any financial issues if Alltel has to withdraw. "We have a long-term commitment with Alltel, and I'm certainly sure they wouldn't leave us high and dry," Penske said. "We're a team that can operate with or without a sponsor. We have done it in the past." Newman, who joined Penske Racing with Alltel in 2002, continues to negotiate with Penske Racing. Newman, whose contract expires at the end of this year, said he is not concerned about his future. "I know that once you're in this place [Sprint Cup racing], you're pretty much locked in unless you screw up," Newman said. "There's no point in being emotional about something that doesn't require emotion." Newman also said he is talking to other teams. "I have to do that to be fair to myself," Newman said. "I'm not leading the points, and if I was, it would be a no-brainer. It's not like marriage. It's not like we're locked in for life. You can stop with whoever you're dating and date someone else. You can have more than one phone number in your phone." Penske said the negotiations with Newman have been "very open." "I've talked to drivers, and drivers have talked to us," Penske said. "[Newman] and I have had very open conversations for several months. It's good that everybody gets a chance to see what's out there and what are the opportunities and at the time we've got to make a decision, we'll make it." Penske said there is nothing to a rumor that he is interested in buying Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. "Chip's been a friend of mine for a long time, and I think that all came out of a comment, 'How can we work together to get better?' " Penske said. -- Angelique Chengelis
What's up, Jacques?