Ryan Newman is a racer's racer. He has set the bar so high in qualifying that other teams in the garage scramble just to attempt to meet the mark the 12 team sets every week. Last season, Newman recorded a series-high 11 poles, and this year he is...
Ryan Newman is a racer's racer. He has set the bar so high in qualifying that other teams in the garage scramble just to attempt to meet the mark the 12 team sets every week. Last season, Newman recorded a series-high 11 poles, and this year he is spot on to repeat; already having scored three poles in six events.
"He's over the edge I think a lot of the time," said crew chief Matt Borland of Newman's time-trial efforts. "He's just very good at being able to control that thing on the ragged edge and be able to get the best time out of it. I think you get a lot of guys that drive the car over the edge in qualifying and actually lose time from that.
"Other guys probably don't put it enough to the edge. He's able to find that little sweet spot that seems to work out good."
Newman has already scored four top-tens this year, compared to just two at this point in the schedule last season. Newman's breakout victory of his rookie season came at Texas in 2003. Newman is hoping that the Lonestar state will once again smile upon the No. 12 team and lead them to victory lane this Sunday.
"Going into Texas, I look forward going back as the defending winner, but that doesn't mean a whole lot when it comes to different teams and another opportunity to win the race," commented Newman. "I just look forward to that as well as the IROC race."
Tires and track position propelled Newman to the win last year, as Newman's big break came on lap 224 when he inherited the lead during a set of green flag pit stops that were interrupted by a caution flag. Newman stayed out front, until he pitted on lap 286 taking just two tires.
The two-tire call looked like it might have been a mistake, as the No. 8 Chevy of Earnhardt, Jr. rocketed past Newman and pulled away by almost twenty car lengths. Newman, however, slowly roped in Earnhardt, and eventually scooted past him on lap 323 to earn what was then his second career victory.
Tires, track position, smart racing and fuel mileage are what Newman and Borland are studying to help Team Penske gain the top spot at Texas.
"Fuel mileage is always going to be a part of racing as long as cars are powered by fuel, commented Newman. "When they're powered by batteries, we'll talk about charge life. Whether it's IRL, CART, NASCAR, there's always going to be a consideration for fuel mileage in a race unless the cars hold more than the race distance. If you can do something no one else can then you have an advantage."
Seems like Newman and the No. 12 team consistently do what no one else can do, it's that kind of dogged determination that make Newman such a likely favorite to sweep the pole and the race at Texas Motor Speedway.