Timing was everything for Ryan Newman in the NRA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, as he was able to capitalize on a timely caution and turn a disappointing run into a 10th-place finish.
Newman started the race from the 31st position in the Quicken Loans Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), but was able to make passes throughout the 334-lap race, despite struggling with a loose-handling racecar.
Newman lost a lap to the race leaders at the halfway point of the event but was able to race his way to become the first car one lap down and in position for the “free pass” to return to the lead lap when the caution flag was displayed.
His efforts were rewarded when, on lap 224, an incident on the backstretch brought out the caution period that the No. 39 team needed to return to the lead lap.
In the closing laps of the event, a multi-car incident occurred as a cycle of green-flag pit stops were being completed. With Newman not yet having been to pit road for service, he was rewarded with a gain of 10 positions over those that had already pitted.
Under caution, the Quicken Loans team was able to complete routine service of four tires and fuel, sending Newman back on track in the seventh position for the restart. Newman was able to hold his own over the closing laps to bring the No. 39 machine home in the 10th position.
“We had a tough day in the pits for the most part and got a lap down,” Newman said. “Long green flag runs kept us a lap down for a while there. We got lucky and got the Lucky Dog (free pass).
We never got the Quicken Loans Chevrolet balanced quite right, but the guys did a good job of coming back. We were probably our best at the end of the race. We did not have a 10th-place car all weekend until there at the end of the race.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 21st.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 28th.
Kyle Busch won the NRA 500 to score his 26th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his first at Texas. Busch is now tied for 23rd on the all-time Sprint Cup win list with Fred Lorenzen.
Martin Truex Jr. finished .508 of a second behind Busch in the runner-up spot, while Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Brian Vickers, Brad Keselowski and Newman comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were seven caution periods for 36 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 334-lap race.
With round seven of 36 complete, Newman leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He moved up six spots to 17th and is 100 points behind series leader Johnson.
Stewart maintained his 22nd-place standing and is 111 points out of first. Patrick maintained her 26th-place standing and is 134 points behind Johnson.
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished 12 spots ahead of Stenhouse, who placed 40th.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the STP 400 Sunday, April 21 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 12:30 p.m.