Ryan Newman and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team kicked off the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season with an eighth-place finish in the Sprint Unlimited. A fan vote determined the starting lineup and race format for the 75-lap exhibition race. Fans chose to set the field based on final practice times from Friday night and, since the No. 31 did not participate in that session, Newman lined up 17th. In the first 30-lap segment, Newman cruised up into the top 10 before the reigning champ Jimmie Johnson spun out to bring out the first caution on lap 29.
Ryan Newman quote:
"I've never said that the off-season was too long until tonight. I think there are some guys that should have done some SIM racing or something. I think there was a lack of mental preparation. I am glad the Caterpillar Chevrolet made it through all of that and we can at least have another car here for a spare for the rest of the week."