Newman, Army Team Readjust Strategy; Finish 16th in Watkins Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 15, 2011) -- After the initial game plan didn't pan out, U.S. Army driver Ryan Newman fought through track position issues to post a 16th-place finish in Monday's rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup road race at Watkins Glen International.
"We had a good strategy when we pitted on Lap 7 of 90, but when the first caution came out (Lap 28) that kind of threw us into the Plan B mode," said U.S. Army crew chief Tony Gibson. "We didn't want to do anything stupid and give up a lot of points. We made another precautionary pit stop towards the end of the race to top off for fuel. Again it was a conservative move because we didn't want to run out of fuel, stall on the track and drop in the standings. This was not a time and place to gamble."
Speaking of the Sprint Cup driver standings, Newman remains eighth in points with four races remaining before 12 drivers compete in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
"It was one of those days where you leave the track not too upset and not too happy," said Newman. "If our strategy worked out it could have been really good, but when it didn't we played it safe with fuel mileage and just didn't want to take many chances out there today. There was no need for that at this stage of the game. I was proud how we battled all day in the Soldiers' car. They (Soldiers) are our heroes, who give us the inspiration to battle through adversity."
Newman qualified his No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet sixth for the the 90-lap, 220.5-mile race. He maintained a solid top-10 position before his first pit stop and later fought back from track position in the low 30s.
"We've been fighting back all year," stated Newman. "We're like our Army Strong Soldiers -- we never quit and keep on fighting until the checkered flag waves."
Newman's teammate Tony Stewart finished 27th and dropped from ninth to 10th in the point standings.