NEWMAN NETS TOP-10 FINISH IN TENNESSEE WIX Filters Driver Finishes Sixth in Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Ryan Newman and his No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet team enjoyed a solid outing at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway by earning a sixth-place...
NEWMAN NETS TOP-10 FINISH IN TENNESSEE
WIX Filters Driver Finishes Sixth in Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol
Ryan Newman and his No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet team enjoyed a solid outing at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway by earning a sixth-place finish in Saturday's Irwin Tools Night Race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. It was Newman's seventh top-10 finish of the 2010 season and his 10th top-10 in 18 career Sprint Cup starts at the .533-mile bullring.
Despite Bristol's reputation of being a crapshoot and a treacherous racetrack where anything can happen, Newman and his team looked forward to racing on the concrete oval nestled in the East Tennessee mountains. After all, Bristol played to the team's strong suit -- its short track program. And once again, Newman and his No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team left Bristol with a top-10 effort.
In 10 races at tracks under 1-mile on the Sprint Cup circuit, Newman and the No. 39 team have finished outside of the top-10 just once.
Unfortunately for Newman, the top-10 effort didn't aid his efforts to make his second consecutive Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship as two of his competitors for the 12th and final spot -- Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer -- finished just ahead of the No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet in third and fourth spots, respectively. Newman fell one position to 15th in the standings. He has 2,802 points and is 118 markers back of 12th-place Bowyer, who currently holds the final spot in the Chase, which will be decided in the next two races.
"Unfortunately, sixth didn't end up being as good of a points night for us as we hoped because Bowyer and McMurray finished in front of us. If we could've kept Bowyer out of that situation, we would've gained on him and Mark (Martin)," Newman said after the race. "But that's neither here nor there. It was a good team effort for everyone on this WIX Filters Chevrolet. We can't expect to make everything up in one race. Another top-10 effort on a short track is good for our team. We'll just go on into Atlanta and keep fighting, which is what this team does. We'll just have to wait and see what happens."
Newman started sixth in Saturday night's 500-lap race, which is the position he held for most of the night. He climbed to as high as fourth during the early stages and never fell out of the top-10.
Throughout the race, Newman fought the same handling issue, as his car would start out too tight, making it difficult to get through the center of the turns, but it would get looser and looser as the run progressed. Crew chief Tony Gibson and the No. 39 crew tried a variety of track bar, air pressure and wedge adjustments during their pit stops, but they couldn't hit on the right combination to aid the handling of Newman's car on the long runs. In the end, Newman couldn't battle with the leaders and finished the race where he started -- in sixth-place.
Newman's SHR teammate, Tony Stewart, endured a tough outing at Bristol. Two tangles -- one involving a competitor running into the back of his No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet Impala and the other being a scrape with the turn two wall -- conspired to leave him 27th when the checkered flag dropped.
Stewart dropped two spots to sixth in the Sprint Cup championship standings. He now has 3,107 points and is 414 markers behind series leader Kevin Harvick and 287 points ahead of 13th-place McMurray, the first driver on the outside looking in at the 12-driver Chase after round 24 of 36.
Kyle Busch won the Irwin Tools Night Race to score his 19th career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his fourth at Bristol. Busch pulled the Bristol hat trick, winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Wednesday night, the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Friday night and the Sprint Cup race Saturday night. It was the first time any driver has swept NASCAR's top-three touring divisions in a single race weekend.
David Reutimann finished .677 of a second behind Busch in the runner-up spot, while McMurray, Bowyer and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top-five. Newman, Juan Pablo Montoya, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were seven caution periods for 39 laps, with eight drivers failing to finish.
The Sprint Cup Series takes a rare weekend off before returning to action at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Sept. 5 Emory Healthcare 500.