By David FerroniNovember 15, 2010
PHOENIX (Army News Service, Nov. 15, 2010) -- A strong race car and a successful fuel strategy resulted in Army driver Ryan Newman finishing runner-up in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. He trailed race winner Carl Edwards to the checkered flag by 4.7 seconds.
It was the second outstanding performance of the season at the one-mile oval for Newman, who won the April Cup race in Phoenix.
Driving the No. 39 Army Chevrolet that was adorned with more than 500 faces of military veterans, Newman opted not to pit for fuel late in the race while some of the leaders did. The strategy paid off for the Army team as Newman managed to conserve enough fuel to get to the finish line and pick up three spots in track position. He was solidly running in fifth place following the last pit stop on Lap 222 of 312.
"Our U.S. Army Chevrolet was good all day," said Newman, who virtually ran in the top 10 and top five for the majority of the race. "It was such an honor to drive the Veterans Day car and I want to say thank you to all the Veterans for helping me along today.
"After the final stop we knew we were going to be a few laps short on fuel and our crew chief Tony Gibson kept on saying slow it down and save fuel. I am not sure of how much fuel we had in the car at the end, but I am pretty sure it was very little, if any," Newman added.
Gibson said he wasn't 100 percent convinced the Army car was going to have enough fuel to make it to the end, but he went with his gut feeling and the confidence of his driver.
"You could sense it in Ryan's voice that we were going to be okay. He was confident and that's what you have to go with," said Gibson. "We actually started to conserve fuel with about 40 laps to go. Ryan did a great job and the pit stops were excellent all day. A great team effort. Our Veterans Day car was the talk of the garage and we really wanted to give all the veterans a win. We came up one short."
Though Newman posted a strong result by claiming his fourth top-five and 13th top-10 finish of the season, he did not gain in the point standings. He remains 15th heading into the season finale Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Newman's teammate, Tony Stewart, finished 17th and is 9th in the Chase standings.
With Edwards winning and Newman coming in second, the remainder of the top-five finishers in order were: Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson.
Denny Hamlin, who was one of the leaders to pit for fuel at the end, left Phoenix with a 15-point lead over Johnson in the Chase. Kevin Harvick is third, 46 points behind.
At the season-ending National Hot Rod Association national event in Pomona, Calif., Army Top Fuel pilots Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown faced each other in the quarter-final round with the win going to Brown, who went on to win his first national event of the season. Larry Dixon clinched the Top Fuel season title after winning the first round of eliminations. Schumacher finished second in season points while Brown was fourth.