Despite Solid Chase Start, Newman Says it Needs to Get Better KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Sept. 30, 2009) -- Though he has produced solid top-10 results and a very respectable 8.5-finishing average in the first two Chase races, Ryan Newman feels his U.S.
Despite Solid Chase Start, Newman Says it Needs to Get Better
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Sept. 30, 2009) -- Though he has produced solid top-10 results and a very respectable 8.5-finishing average in the first two Chase races, Ryan Newman feels his U.S. Army/Haas Automation team needs to step it up even more in the final eight Sprint Cup events.
"Consistency is good, but it looks like it's going to take consistency with a stronger finishing average than we've had in the first two Chase races," said Newman, who is seventh in the standings, 110 points behind leader Mark Martin. "As I said after the Dover race, this is a brutally tough competition and you're going to need top fives and wins to claim the championship. We have to continue to be mentally and emotionally tough -- just like our Army Strong Soldiers."
With five straight top 10s and finishes the past two weeks of seventh in New Hampshire and 10th in Dover, Newman is looking to improve on those numbers in Sunday's third Chase race -- the Price Chopper 400 -- at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.
In eight career starts at Kansas Speedway, Newman has one win and three top fives. He finished second twice in Kansas, including a runner-up in 2001 -- in only his sixth career Cup start.
"It would be nice to start our top-five or better roll in Kansas," said Newman. "I believe Jimmie (Johnson) had a 5.7 finishing average in the 10 Chase races last year and if that's what it's going to take to win the championship this year, then we have some work ahead of us. The way the 5 (Martin) and the 48 (Johnson) are currently running we all have to step it up or it's going to be a two-driver battle for the championship."
Newman feels the next three races on intermediate tracks will be pivotal for the U.S. Army/Haas Automation team. After Kansas, the following two races are at the two-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif (Oct. 11) and at at the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte (Oct. 17).
"We have five Chase races, including the next three, on either a 1.5 or two-mile track," explained Newman. "So, it's very important to get a handle on our U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevy Impala SS for these types of tracks. We've had some decent runs on the mile-in-a-half and two-mile tracks, but haven't been as consistent as we're going to need to be if we want to remain in title contention."
In nine races this season at the intermediate tracks, Newman has had a 16.1 finishing average, compared to an overall average of 13.6.
"That average (16.1) won't cut it," Newman said candidly. "But I am confident that we're going to have a strong package for our Army/Haas Automation Chevy at the upcoming races. I am really proud of this team for what we've accomplished thus far. Making the Chase was huge and being in the championship hunt after the first two races gives us all a sense of accomplishment.".