Newman Gets Wrecked; Forced to Backup Car for 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2009) -- Yesterday was an engine failure. Today was a wrecked car. Excuse Ryan Newman if he feels it's time for his luck cycle to change at Daytona International ...
Newman Gets Wrecked; Forced to Backup Car for 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2009) -- Yesterday was an engine failure. Today was a wrecked car. Excuse Ryan Newman if he feels it's time for his luck cycle to change at Daytona International Speedway.
While running in third place with 13 laps remaining in Thursday's Gatorade Duel qualifying race, Newman's day came to an abrupt halt when his No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet Impala SS got punted from behind by the No. 00 car of David Reutimann.
The heavy hit on the backstretch of the 2.5-mile oval turned Newman around as he slapped the concrete wall, then skidded down track before coming to a stop on the infield grass.
Newman did not suffer any injuries in the incident, but his car took a front-end beating, forcing the Stewart-Haas team to take out the backup car for Sunday's running of the Daytona 500.
Newman's was credited with a 24th-place finish in the second qualifying race and will start 36th in the 500.
"I guess I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Newman, the defending Daytona 500 champion. "We had a fast car and just got hit and knocked up into the wall. I know he (Reutimann) didn't do it on purpose, but this is the 150s and why do it. I didn't hit anybody with my front bumper the entire race. He just drilled me."
Shortly after the incident, a perplexed Newman made a what-are-you-thinking-of gesture to Reutimann.
"If I have to guilt him into it the first 30 seconds after he does it, so be it," added Newman.
Because the No. 39 team replaced engines before the race, Newman started the 60-lap, 150-mile qualifying competition from the rear of the 28-car field. He was patiently picking off positions early in the race and running in the top 20 when he got tangled with Boris Said's car on Lap 13. That incident caused Newman to make an unscheduled pit stop to replace right-side tires.
But like a good Soldier, Newman once again fought back from adversity as he marched to the front, putting the Army Chevy in contention for the win.
"We had a fast car and now it's junk," said Newman. "It's unfortunate, but racing goes on. We'll have another fast car for the 500."
Newman's teammate Tony Stewart finished second in the first qualifying race and will start fifth in the 500.