Newman Fights Through Adversity, But Problems Prevail DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2009) -- A troubling week for Ryan Newman culminated with an unsettling 36th-place finish in Sunday's rain-shortened Daytona 500. The U.S. Army driver was...
Newman Fights Through Adversity, But Problems Prevail
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2009) -- A troubling week for Ryan Newman culminated with an unsettling 36th-place finish in Sunday's rain-shortened Daytona 500.
The U.S. Army driver was hoping that his unforced amount of pre-500 problems at Daytona International Speedway would be exorcised for the Great American Race, but in the end the demons prevailed...again.
"It's just been a tough week for the U.S. Army team," said Newman after the race was called on Lap 152 of 200. "But this is the Soldiers' team and we'll come back fighting even harder next week."
Newman's troubling week started with an engine failure in Wednesday's practice. The following day in the 150 qualifying race he got wrecked while running in third place. He went to a backup car, which also got wrecked after blowing a right-rear tire in Saturday's final practice session. He was forced to start the 500 in yet another backup U.S. Army Chevrolet Impala SS.
"We knew we had our backs to the wall, but still felt we could have a good run today," added Newman, last year's Daytona 500 winner. "The guys worked hard to get this car ready in a short time. I am so proud of them."
Newman started the 500 in a patient mode, getting a feel for the car he never previously drove. But on Lap 73 he made an unscheduled pit stop due to a vibration in the car. Adding to the problem there was a miscue during the pit stop when the car lunged forward and slipped off the jack. When Newman returned to action on the 2.5-mile oval he found himself two laps down.
"When we fell two laps down it was a struggle from that point on," noted Newman. "The rain obviously hurt us because we needed more time if we were going to get those laps back."
Though he suffered an unusual amount of problems during Speedweeks, Newman still offered some humor. When a multi-car mishap occurred on Lap 125, he radioed the crew to say, "That's the first wreck I missed this week."
Tony Stewart, Newman's teammate and car owner, finished eighth.
The race winner was Matt Kenseth, his first Daytona 500 victory. Rounding out the top five in order were: Kevin Harvick, AJ Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer and Elliott Sadler.
The next NASCAR Sprint Cup race will be Sunday (Feb. 22) at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.