With 5 to Go, Newman Looking to Seal the (Chase) Deal WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 5, 2009) -- Ask Ryan Newman or any member of the No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation team and they will tell you that August in NASCAR is not any different than...
With 5 to Go, Newman Looking to Seal the (Chase) Deal
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 5, 2009) -- Ask Ryan Newman or any member of the No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation team and they will tell you that August in NASCAR is not any different than September in Major League Baseball or December in the National Football League.
Those are the months that contending teams crunch the numbers and study different scenarios on how to make the post-season playoffs, which in the case of NASCAR is qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
Newman is currently sitting in ninth place and 165 points inside the Chase cutline with five races remaining before the top-12 drivers compete in the 10-race championship run.
Newman qualified for the Chase in the first two seasons of the championship format (2004-2005), but has been on the outside looking in the past three years.
"I wish we were in better shape in points, but I am happy to be where I am in reference to where I was last year," said Newman, driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation Impala SS. "In general I am excited about the next five races and feel we have a good mixture of tracks that we can do well at."
The start of the five remaining pre-Chase begins this weekend at the 2.45-mile road course at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York. The other four races include two short tracks (Bristol and Richmond), Michigan (2.0-mile) and Atlanta (1.54-mile).
"I really like Watkins Glen and have had a lot of fun there over the years," said Newman, whose best finish at the road circuit was second in his 2002 rookie season. "When you look at the two road courses we compete at -- Infineon Raceway (in Sonoma, Calif.) and Watkins Glen -- it's the Glen that is a better track as far as passing goes. And all drivers like a facility where you can pass.
"Regarding the Chase nothing is certain no matter what kind of point lead you have at this time. There are plenty of talented teams vying to get into the top 12. If we can finish in the top-10 in the next five races that will seal the deal. But we -- the Army/Haas Automation team -- want to do better than that. We want to get that first win for our Soldiers and carry the momentum into the Chase."
To better prepare for Sunday's Heluva Good! at the Glen Cup race, Newman will also compete in Saturday's Nationwide Series event, driving the No. 1 car for Phoenix Racing.
"I not only want to win Saturday's Nationwide race, but I also want to get a little more dialed in for the Cup race," added Newman.
At the only other road race of the season -- June 21 at Infineon Raceway -- Newman had a strong run until he got spun out late in the event. He finished 17th.
Newman's 2009 campaign with the new Stewart-Haas Racing team has produced a number of highs including five top fives and nine top 10s. His best finish to date has been second at the Memorial Day race in Charlotte.