Newman fights back to finish 9th in Atlanta
September 8, 2009
HAMPTON, Ga. (Sept. 6, 2009) -- Ryan Newman made another late-race charge to post a ninth-place finish in Sunday night's Pep Boys Auto 500 Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The U.S. Army/Haas Automation pilot drove a patient and savvy race as he claimed his 11th top-10 result of the season in his No. 39 Chevy Impala SS.
Despite the strong performance by the Stewart-Haas Racing team, Newman dropped two spots in the driver standings -- from seventh to ninth -- but is still 81 points inside the Chase cut line. The final race before the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship field is set will be Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
Regardless of any other driver's finish at Richmond, Newman's clinch scenarios for a Chase berth are: finish 16th or better, or finish 17th and lead at least one lap, or finish 19th and lead the most laps.
"We're not taking anything for granted, but we do control our own destiny," said Newman, who has been inside the Chase standings since the May 2 race at Richmond. "We need to make sure to take care of our own business and not be concerned with what other teams might or might not do."
Newman's march to a top-10 finish during the under-the-lights race at Atlanta started to come to life as the 325-lap event was winding down on the 1.54-mile oval. On Lap 243 he wasn't even in the top 20 and with 50 laps remaining his track position was in the high teens.
"It was another Soldier-like effort by this Army/Haas Automation team," said Newman, who qualified 23rd. "We were inconsistent with handling issues for a good portion of the race, but never gave up the fight and battled for every spot until the checkered flag flew. It was a strong come-from-behind effort and a good points race."
Newman added, "We stayed patient through our problems. It was frustrating not running up front, but we didn't want to do anything stupid that could have taken us out of the race. The good news is that we got the kinks worked out when it counted and were able to make a nice gain in track position."
Newman's teammate and points leader, Tony Stewart, finished 11th.
The race winner was Kasey Kahne. Rounding out the top five in order were: Kevin Harvick, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Reutimann and Mark Martin.