Newman jumps to 8th in points after 4th-place finish in Darlington
May 11, 2009
DARLINGTON, S.C. (Army News Service, May 9, 2009) -- Ryan Newman, driving the No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevrolet, continued his fast pace with a fourth-place finish in Saturday night's Southern 500 Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.
Newman's result at the 1.366-mile track followed top-five finishes the past two weeks at Richmond (fourth) and Talladega (third). It's the first time in almost four years that he has posted three consecutive top fives.
The last time Newman strung three top-fives together was in 2005 -- in races 27-29 (at New Hampshire, Dover and Talladega).
Newman gained two spots in the driver point standings and currently sits in eighth place following the 11th race of the season. His Stewart-Haas Racing teammate and team owner, Tony Stewart, is second in points after posting a third-place result in Darlington.
Newman, who was feeling ill with stomach issues, jumped out front early in the race by leading 47 laps. He ran in the top-10 for the majority of the 367-lap event and was a steady top-five performer in the final 120 laps.
"My stomach was messed up all day and by Lap 150 I was having cold chills -- I just didn't feel good and I am junk right now," said Newman in post-race interviews. "But we completed the mission as our Army Strong Soldiers do every day. It was a good run for the U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevrolet. And it was a great run for Tony (Stewart) and the entire Stewart-Haas organization. Here we are again both of us in the top five."
"We are knocking on the door, and we're going to get there," added Newman. "I've been close before in the Southern 500 and this would have been a really special win. But I am so happy to have another top five and so proud of this team. We're improving every week."
The race winner was Mark Martin. Rounding out the top five in order were: Jimmie Johnson, Stewart, Newman and Jeff Gordon. All five are Chevrolet Impala SS drivers.
The 500-mile race produced a record 17 cautions for 73 laps and 23 lead changes among 13 drivers.
The next event is the annual Sprint All Star Race -- Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte. Newman, a former All Star winner, is qualified for the main event.