Newman finishes 7th in opening round of Chase
September 21, 2009
LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 20, 2009) -- Ryan Newman posted a seventh-place finish in Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the first round of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Among the 12 Chase drivers, Newman had the sixth-best finish and jumped from 10th to seventh in the championship point standings.
"A strong team effort, great pit stops, good points day and a solid start in the Chase," said Newman as he exited his No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevy Impala SS. "We're in the hunt and in a position to make our Army Strong Soldiers proud. We will Soldier on and battle just as hard in the next nine Chase races."
The result at the 1.058-mile oval was Newman's fourth straight top-10 finish and the 13th of the season. It was also his 10th top-10 in 16 starts at the New England motorsports facility.
Newman, who qualified 18th, fought track position and felt his starting position cost him at least a top-five or better finish.
"If we had a better qualifying effort with our U.S. Army Chevrolet, I'm sure we could have had a better finish," said the 31-year-old Newman. "We fought track position all day, working our way up. I felt we had a really good car at the end, but that one restart (Lap 284 of 300) where the No. 00 (David Reutimann) got into the No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) cost me about four spots. That was a difference between a top-five and a top-10."
A key moment for Newman and the No. 39 Stewart-Haas team came during a pit stop on Lap 266. There was a discussion about taking four tires, but Newman felt that he would be okay with two tires. The strategy paid off in the end as Newman gained a number of positions.
"Once again Ryan drove a very strong race," said crew chief Tony Gibson. "The two-tire decision turned out to be a good call even though I was getting a little nervous with all those restarts at the end. We came through today, but still feel that we need to step up our performance in the upcoming races."
Newman's teammate, Tony Stewart, finished 14th overall and is sixth in the Chase standings.
The race winner was Mark Martin. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Denny Hamlin, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch.
The next race is Sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, where Newman finished eighth in the June Cup event.