By David FerroniJune 1, 2009
DOVER, Del. (Army News Service, June 1, 2009) -- Despite handling issues, Ryan Newman posted an eighth-place finish in Sunday's Autism Speaks 400 Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway.
"It was not what we wanted for the U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevrolet Impala SS, but it was a good points day for us," said Newman.
The 400-lap race was indeed a good points day for Newman and teammate, Tony Stewart, who finished runner-up to Jimmie Johnson.
After 13 races, the Stewart-Haas Racing drivers are positioned in the top five in points. Newman gained two spots and is currently fifth while Stewart jumped to first in the driver standings -- overtaking Jeff Gordon for the lead.
The result was Newman's fifth straight top 10. The last time he achieved five straight top 10s was late in the 2003 season. The finish was also Newman's seventh top 10 of the season and his ninth career top 10 in 15 starts at Dover's Monster Mile.
When the race was restarted for the final time with 27 laps remaining, Newman was running in third place after gambling with a two-tire stop on Lap 366. Prior to that stop, he was positioned in 10th place.
"I drove the car a little harder than I wanted to at the end on two tires," noted Newman, who virtually ran in the top 10 the entire race after qualifying 11th. "We just didn't have a good handle on the car today. Typically with these cars the more you finesse them the better they are. But there was no finessing today."
Crew chief Tony Gibson agreed about the car's handling, but was proud of the way Newman and the crew worked through the problems.
"We were a top-10 car and that was it," explained Gibson. "We could never really hit on anything that really worked for Ryan. We danced with air pressures, wedge and track bar adjustments but never hit on anything.
"But here again this U.S. Army race team never gives up. We keep on pounding away, pounding away and pounding away. We have to stay strong as a team and if we do that we can prevail on a day like today. It's pretty good when you can say you're ticked off because you finished eighth. Our driver never gives up and this crew never gives up. We support the Army colors and that's their slogan to never give up."
The next stop for Newman and the No. 39 team will be Sunday (June 7) at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Tony Stewart
3. Greg Biffle
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Kurt Busch
6. Kasey Kahne
7. Carl Edwards
8. Ryan Newman
9. Casey Mears
10. Mark Martin