Rain Falls Too Late for Newman at New Hampshire Haas Automation/U.S. Army Driver Runs Out of Fuel, Finishes 29th Ryan Newman and the No. 39 Haas Automation/U.S. Army team had the right strategy to win Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR...
Rain Falls Too Late for Newman at New Hampshire
Haas Automation/U.S. Army Driver Runs Out of Fuel, Finishes 29th
Ryan Newman and the No. 39 Haas Automation/U.S. Army team had the right strategy to win Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, but in the end it was not meant to be as Newman ran out of fuel while leading the race nine laps shy of the rain-shortened finish.
"I told the guys on the radio when it's not your day, it's not your day," Newman said. "We had a good strategy thanks to a couple of incidents we had on the racetrack, but for some reason, we didn't have the mileage that last run. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. We could have been leading at the end. The bottom line is we didn't have the fuel mileage on that last run, ran out of fuel and lost a couple of laps on pit road. It was unfortunate."
Newman endured a myriad of problems throughout the day at Loudon. With qualifying having been rained out on Friday, the driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation/U.S. Army Chevrolet Impala SS started sixth based on owner points, per the NASCAR rulebook. Although Newman was able to maintain his spot in the top-10, he reported to crew chief Tony Gibson that his car was way too loose. The team elected not to pit during a rash of early cautions and waited until NASCAR's competition caution at lap 45. At that time, Newman pitted for four tires, fuel and track bar and wedge adjustments. He restarted in 25th-place.
Just a handful of laps into the run, Newman complained that the car was still too loose, which was causing him to lose ground coming off of turn four and on the straightaways. He pitted under the green flag at lap 121 for another round of chassis adjustments, four tires and fuel and returned to the track in 26th-place.
Handling issues continued to plague Newman's efforts on the track, and at each opportunity, the pit crew made a variety of adjustments in hopes of aiding the car. Then on lap 174, Newman was caught up in a multi-car accident, which resulted in minor damage to the No. 39 Chevy's left front fender directly behind the tire and the left rear quarter-panel. Newman also told the crew that he thought the hit had affected the car's front-end geometry. Under the caution flag, Newman came down pit road to repair the left-side damage and for a shock adjustment, as well as four fresh tires. He returned to the track in 26th place.
Just laps later as the race restarted, Newman was the victim of another incident which shoved him into the turn two wall, damaging the right side of the racecar. Newman pitted under the caution at lap 183 for four fresh tires, fuel and additional repairs to the damaged right and left sides of the racecar.
The team's pit stop to fix the damage put Newman on a different fuel strategy than his counterparts. While the leaders had to pit under the green flag, Newman moved up the leaderboard and eventually took over the top spot at lap 247 as rain began closing in on the racetrack. Newman led 17 laps, but the strategy failed as he ran out of fuel on lap 263, right as the first raindrops began to fall over the 1.058-mile oval. Newman was forced to give up the lead to eventual race-winner Joey Logano.
Newman's car slowly entered pit road at lap 264. The team added fuel and elected to change only right side tires in hopes of not losing too many spots or going a lap down. However, the No. 39 Chevy stalled and Newman's crew had to push it down the length of pit road before it finally re-fired.
Newman lost three laps in the pits, and only laps later at lap 273, the race was called due to heavy rain. Newman finished 29th.
Newman's Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate and owner, Tony Stewart, finished fifth and continues to lead the two-car SHR contingent in the championship point race as he remains atop standings with a 69-point over his nearest pursuer, Jeff Gordon. Newman dropped one spot to seventh in the standings, 397 points out of first.
Logano's win in the rain-shortened event was his first career Sprint Cup victory, and at 19 years, one month and four days, he became the youngest winner in Sprint Cup history.
Gordon finished second to cut 15 points from Stewart's lead in the championship standings. Kurt Busch followed in third, while David Reutimann and Stewart rounded out the top-five. Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Sam Hornish Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 11 caution periods for 47 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the race.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the July 4 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.