As Chase Heats Up, Newman Pays Relaxing Visit to Fort Benning Army Post FORT BENNING, Ga. (Sept. 3, 2009) -- As the tension mounts with two races remaining before the top-12 drivers contend for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, U.S. Army/Haas...
As Chase Heats Up, Newman Pays Relaxing Visit to Fort Benning Army Post
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Sept. 3, 2009) -- As the tension mounts with two races remaining before the top-12 drivers contend for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, U.S. Army/Haas Automation driver Ryan Newman unloaded some anxiety Wednesday with a visit to Fort Benning, Ga., a 182,000 acre U.S. Army post, located approximately 120 miles south of Atlanta.
Heading into Sunday night's Pep Boys Auto 500 at the ultra-fast, 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway, Newman is currently ranked seventh in the standings, 84 points inside the Chase cut line. The final pre-Chase race will be next week -- Saturday night (Sept. 12) at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
"Except for a few drivers safely in the top-12, teams are counting points and estimating what needs to be accomplished to secure a Chase spot," said Newman, who has been in the top 12 in points since the May 2 race at Richmond. "It's crunch time. But at the same time you have to be careful because you don't want to over think the situation. The key is to continue to do what you've been doing. I think we all have our brief moments of anxiety since it's a major accomplishment to qualify for the Chase."
If Newman had any anxiety build-up, he had the opportunity to unleash some apprehension at Fort Benning, home to the United States Army Infantry School as well as the Army's Airborne School. The visit by the Army NASCAR driver was also an appearance on behalf of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
Newman's day at Fort Benning included firing weapons at the Army Marksmanship Unit, a simulated combat ride on live range roads at full speed, a ride with the Stryker Brigade in the Stryker Armored Fast Attack Front Line Assault Vehicle and receiving first-hand information from the Airborne Unit prior to a jump class. He also spent time signing autographs at the Base Exchange for base personnel and their families.
"This was my third visit to an Army post this year and each one has been pretty remarkable," said Newman, who also visited Fort Bragg (N.C.) and Fort Jackson (S.C). "At each of the visits I not only marveled at the technology, detail and training, but also enjoyed sharing stories with our Soldiers. We did a lot of neat things at Fort Benning, including firing some cool weapons. The entire day was relaxing and fun. Getting a first-hand view of the behind-the-scenes training always gives me a greater appreciation of our Army Strong Soldiers."
Following the Fort Benning visit, Newman talked about Sunday's Atlanta race with the same confidence he had on the weapons range. He and the No. 39 Stewart Haas Racing Team, led by crew chief Tony Gibson, are definitely looking to better the 22nd-place finish it posted at the spring event in Atlanta.
"I always feel confident going into a race, knowing that we have the capabilities of contending for the win," offered Newman. "We've been working hard for the 1.5-mile tracks and feel that our Chevy Impala SS can be a contender at Atlanta."
In 15 career Cup races at Atlanta, Newman has one top-five and four top-10s. He also captured an incredible seven career poles, including six straight from 2003-2005. He is tied with Buddy Baker for most Cup poles at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"I love qualifying at Atlanta -- it's such a fast track that puts you at the edge," stated Newman. "It would be nice to set the pole record, beating out my good friend Buddy Baker. Regarding the race at Atlanta, you need the entire package -- speed, aero and handling. It's easier said than done, but that's what it takes to compete there. We'll be ready."