Newman's Shot at All-Star Victory Halted with Late-Race Accident CONCORD, N.C. (May 16, 2009) -- Ryan Newman was in contention to win Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race, but a late-race incident relegated him to a frustrating 18th-place...
Newman's Shot at All-Star Victory Halted with Late-Race Accident
CONCORD, N.C. (May 16, 2009) -- Ryan Newman was in contention to win Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race, but a late-race incident relegated him to a frustrating 18th-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte.
The U.S. Army/Haas Automation driver overcame major problems early in the race, and with fewer than 10 laps remaining, he was battling for the lead and the $1 million first-place prize. But his charge to the front got stymied on Lap 92 of 100 when he got tangled in an incident with Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon as the three drivers were running neck-and-neck for the lead.
The accident caused Newman's Army Chevrolet to slam into the wall resulting in serious right-rear damage and a cut tire. When the race was restarted on Lap 93, Newman was positioned in second place, but he could only run a lap before he was forced to retire to the garage due to the deflating tire.
"I guess you could say it was a roller coaster ride for the Army team," said crew chief Tony Gibson. "We had a really fast car at the end and had a great shot at taking the big prize. But when there's a million dollars and a lot of prestige on the line you're doing everything you can to get to the finish line first. That's exactly what Ryan, Kyle and Jeff were doing at the time of the incident."
With those three drivers knocked out of contention it allowed Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth to battle for the lead with Stewart overtaking Kenseth on the second to final lap to claim his first All-Star win.
"A great run for our teammate and team owner," said Gibson. "A big win for everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing."
Newman, who won the All-Star Race in 2002, qualified 12th for the four-segment non-points event. Newman's No. 39 machine was strong early, but late in the first segment (Lap 32 of 50) he made an unscheduled pit stop due to a shock issue. The Army crew attempted to fix the shock problem after the first segment, but the problem prevailed as Newman was running in the back of the 21-car field.
The Army team decided to replace the malfunctioning shock after the second segment. The decision paid off. When the fourth and final segment got underway, which consisted of 10-laps of only green-flag racing, Newman was running in ninth place and charging to the front.
"I am proud of how this Army team demonstrated strength by soldiering back from adversity," noted Gibson. "We're going to get that win, I just know we are."
The Army/Haas Automation team will return to Lowe's Motor Speedway Sunday (May 24) -- for the Coke 600 Memorial Day weekend race.