Darlington: Ryan Newman preview

Newman Looking to Improve on Recent Surge DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 5, 2009) -- Ryan Newman is not surprised by or satisfied with his recent success, which has spurred a leap to 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver point standings. Newman's rise...

Newman Looking to Improve on Recent Surge

DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 5, 2009) -- Ryan Newman is not surprised by or satisfied with his recent success, which has spurred a leap to 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver point standings.

Newman's rise to a Chase position has come quickly after suffering a slow start that saw him in 32nd place after the fourth race of the season. In the last six races Newman's team has rebounded with two top fives and four top 10s. The two top fives came in the last two races -- third at Talladega and fourth at Richmond.

"It's been a long time since I've had two top fives in a row," noted Newman, driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevrolet Impala SS.

For the record, the last time Newman claimed back-to-back top fives was November 2007 with fifth-place finishes at Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.

Before the green flag dropped to start the 2009 season, Newman was adamant that the new No. 39 Stewart-Haas team had the potential of having a strong start. But the first four races did not produce a top-20 finish.

"I felt all along that we were capable of starting the season the way we've been racing now," said Newman. "I am happy that we're getting better. However, the bottom line is that I am not really satisfied because we haven't won, but we're knocking at the door. The Stewart-Haas organization is full of racers and everybody is doing a great job."

"We're here to win the championship and part of that is being in the Chase," added Newman. "Being 10th now is good. But I don't want to maintain -- I want to keep moving forward and get the Soldiers' car in Victory Lane."

Newman and the Army team are looking to grab their first Cup win of the season in Saturday night's Southern 500 race at the daunting 1.366-mile Darlington Raceway.

Newman, who has high admiration for the historic South Carolina track, has contended for a Darlington victory in the past. In 10 Darlington starts, he has garnered five top fives, six top 10s, one pole and has led 246 laps.

"No doubt, Darlington is one of my favorite racetracks and I look forward to going there each year," said Newman. "It might not be as much fun as it was before it was repaved, but it's still a blast to race at Darlington. I really enjoy it there because it's a challenging track."

Newman will drive the same Stewart-Haas Chevy at Darlington that he drove to a seventh-place finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on March 22.

After 10 races, the short tracks and superspeedways have been strong for the No. 39 team, but it's the intermediate tracks that need improvement according to Newman.

"The short track program has been really good for us and the superspeedway program has been strong," explained Newman. "The intermediate tracks have been just a bit above average and that's what we need to focus on because it makes up the core of the schedule."

-credit: shr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman