Late Charge Gives Newman Solid Fifth-Place Finish at Michigan
WIX Filters Driver Rises to Seventh in Championship Point Standings
Ryan Newman finished a solid fifth in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
The driver of the No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet Impala for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) was in the top-10 for nearly all of Sunday’s event and looked as though he would finish in eighth place as the laps wound down in what was scheduled to be a 200-lap race.
But on lap 198, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray were involved in an accident in turn two of the 2-mile oval which brought out a caution and set up a green-white-checkered finish.
While the seven cars ahead of Newman stayed on the track, the WIX Filters driver brought his Chevrolet to pit road and nearly all the rest of the cars followed him. Newman took two tires and a splash of fuel for the final two-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Newman restarted in 10th, but didn’t stay there for long as he rocketed past four cars on lap 202 and then got by Jeff Gordon on the backstretch on the final lap to secure his fifth top-five finish at Michigan and his eighth top-five finish this season.
“It was a really good team effort,” Newman said. “We were in the right position to make the two-tire call and get the track position. On the restart, we started 10th and just had a good enough restart to make it to the top-five. Good run for the WIX Filters Chevrolet. I’d like to thank WIX Filters and all the people there for helping us out and sponsoring us for this race. Same goes for the U.S. Army and Tornados. We’ll go get them in Bristol.”
The fifth-place result also moved Newman ever closer to securing a coveted spot in the Chase for the Championship. Newman moved up one spot to seventh in the standings and now has 725 points, 74 markers back of series leader Kyle Busch and 55 points ahead of 11th-place Clint Bowyer.
“We gained on the guys behind us,” Newman said. “We’re as far into the Chase right now as we were out last year, and we only have a few races left. We’re in a good position. We’ll try to get a good next few races and then we’ll have a better shot at the championship.”
Newman’s SHR teammate, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala, finished ninth. It was Stewart’s 18th top-10 finish at Michigan and his ninth top-10 finish of 2011. He remained 10th in the standings with 694 points, which puts him 105 points behind Busch while giving him a 24-point cushion over Bowyer.
The last time both SHR drivers finished in the top-10 was in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Newman won the race and Stewart finished second.
Kyle Busch won the Pure Michigan 400 to score his 23rd career Sprint Cup victory, his series-best fourth of the season and his first at Michigan. With the win, Kyle Busch clinched a spot in the 12-driver Chase, which will be decided in the next three races.
Five-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson finished .568 of a second behind Kyle Busch in the runner-up spot, while Brad Keselowski, Mark Martin and Newman rounded out the top-five. Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Bowyer, Stewart and Matt Kenseth comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were five caution periods for 21 laps, with eight drivers failing to finish the 203-lap race.