Lack of Grip Drops Newman to 23rd-Place Finish in Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 14, 2009) -- Ryan Newman finished a disappointing 23rd in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. "This was by no means the result we...
Lack of Grip Drops Newman to 23rd-Place Finish in Michigan
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 14, 2009) -- Ryan Newman finished a disappointing 23rd in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.
"This was by no means the result we anticipated coming into this race," said Newman, who saw his streak of six straight top 10s snapped."We basically struggled with handling issues all weekend and no matter what changes we made, the car never stuck. It was wicked loose for the majority of the race."
The result was the team's worst result since finishing 22nd in Atlanta in early March. In the 10 races between Atlanta and Michigan, Newman's U.S. Army/Haas Automation team posted eight top 10s and five top fives.
"It was just one of those days when nothing seemed to work," added Newman. "This team is capable of running up front every week. Like our soldiers, we'll never quit, we'll just fight harder."
The good news for the No. 39 Stewart Haas team is that Sunday's sub par performance only dropped Newman one spot in the Sprint Cup driver point standings. He is currently in fifth place.
"We really wanted to come out and give our sponsor -- the U.S. Army -- a special birthday present today," said Newman. "There were a lot of Soldiers here today and we had a fun cake-cutting ceremony before the race to celebrate the Army's 234th birthday."
Newman and crew chief Tony Gibson knew the Army car had handling issues following Saturday's two practice sessions, which prompted a number of setup changes to the Chevy Impala SS.
"We were looking for a better setup, but it didn't materialize," explained Newman. "The bottom line is that we didn't have it together today. We made a number of changes during the race, including a right-rear spring. That wasn't the ideal thing to do, but it was a good change and we did run a little better after that."
Though he was struggling on the ultra-fast two-mile oval, Newman still felt he could pull off a top-15 or possibly top-10 finish, but he needed a caution in the late stages of the race.
Following a caution on Lap 151 of 200, Newman's car became the first one a lap down and in position for the "Lucky Dog" free pass. But the remainder of the race was caution-free, which prevented Newman from returning to the lead lap.
"A caution would have put us back on the lead lap and I am confident that we would have gained in track position," noted Newman. "We were running better lap times at the end than some of the lead-lap cars. We could have a made a nice move, but the yellow flag wasn't there when we needed it."
Newman's teammate, Tony Stewart, finished seventh and remains first in the driver point standings.
Winning the race on fuel mileage was Mark Martin. Rounding out the top five in order were: Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle.
The next race for the No. 39 Stewart-Haas team is Sunday (June 21) at the Infineon Raceway road course in Sonoma, Calif.