Newman Notches Seventh-Place Finish in Shootout
WIX Filters Driver Earns Fourth Top-10 Finish in Non-Points Race
With a history of bad luck and wrecked race cars at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Ryan Newman elected to play it safe with his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) racecar in Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout.
Newman rode near the back in his No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet for much of the race while hoping to avoid “The Big One” – the multi-car melees that the 2.5-mile speedway has become famous for over the years.
That plan paid off for South Bend, Ind., native Newman, as he finished seventh in the non-points NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. His No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet finished the race unscathed while nearly half (12) of the cars in the 25-car field retired to the garage early.
“I laid back in the back there just because I didn’t have the confidence to stay up front,” Newman said after earning his fourth top-10 finish in 10 Budweiser Shootout starts. “The cars were really on edge, so I’m just happy to get the WIX Filters Chevrolet back in one piece. After watching that, I think we are going to go through some cars on Thursday, so it will be nice to have a good backup.
“I think we learned that we have a little work to do before Thursday’s Duel race. We aren’t quite as fast as we need to be.”
The seventh-place effort continued Newman’s solid record when driving the No. 39 with the gold-and-black colors of WIX Filters on the hood. In four starts with WIX Filters, Newman has never finished outside of the top 10.
Newman started 13th in Saturday night’s race, and it wasn’t until late in the running that he moved from the safer option of hanging back in the field. Newman rarely ran higher than 10th until the final caution flag of the night waved on Lap 74.
After pitting for four fresh tires, Newman found a partner for the final dash to the checkered flag. With help on his back bumper, Newman maneuvered his No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet as high as third. But he held on to that spot for only a moment, as he was left without help and was shuffled back in the draft to seventh place by the time the checkered flag waved.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala for SHR, finished second after leading once for seven laps. Stewart was at the point exiting Turn 4 on the final lap when Kyle Busch moved past him on the high side of the racetrack just before the start-finish line to take the victory by .013 of a second in the closest finish in Budweiser Shootout history.
Newman earned an ironclad spot in the race by winning the 2008 Daytona 500. This year’s field included 25 drivers.
Busch edged Stewart for his first Budweiser Shootout victory. Marcos Ambrose finished third, Brad Keselowski fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth. Greg Biffle, Newman, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya comprised the remainder of the top 10.
There were five cautions for 22 laps in the 82-lap race, which was extended seven laps past its scheduled distance due to a multi-car accident on Lap 74 creating a green-white-checkered finish.