Debris Slows Newman to 32nd-Place Finish in Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 2010) -- A chunk of sheet metal debris that stuck to the splitter of Ryan Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet on Lap 136 of 200 turned out to be a birthday spoiler for the U.S.
Debris Slows Newman to 32nd-Place Finish in Michigan
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 2010) -- A chunk of sheet metal debris that stuck to the splitter of Ryan Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet on Lap 136 of 200 turned out to be a birthday spoiler for the U.S. Army team in Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.
Though no internal breakage could be found in a thorough front-end dissection of the Army car following the race, Newman's performance severely slipped after the debris issue. The end result was a 32nd-place finish for Newman, who dropped to 15th in the Sprint Cup driver point standings.
"Something went awry after that chunk of metal found our Army Chevrolet," said crew chief Tony Gibson. "I thought once we removed the metal from the splitter the car would return to its earlier form. But it didn't even though the splitter looked good. Something obviously broke or malfunctioned due to the debris. At this time we don't have any answers."
Newman, a problem-solving engineering graduate from Purdue University, was also perplexed and stayed for a long time after the race trying to figure out what happened to his car, which was celebrating the U.S. Army's 235th birthday. (The U.S. Army was formed on June 14, 1775.)
"We hit that piece of sheet metal or bond or whatever it was that was rolling across the race track. It jacked the front of the car up and never came back down for whatever reason," explained Newman. "We are still trying to find out what happened to it. The one piece of debris out there and we hit it and it does something to the race car that has never happen to me in 10 years of doing this. It's frustrating."
Newman added, "This is not the type of birthday present that we wanted to deliver to our Soldiers. For a good part of the race I thought we were going to come home strong. We felt we had it together to make another solid finish. But when the sheet metal got wedged in the splitter, it obviously caused additional damage, which is what we're trying to solve."
Prior to the debris incident, Newman, who started eighth, was running in the mid teens on the two-mile oval.
Newman's teammate, Tony Stewart, finished fifth and moved to 11th in points.
The race winner was Denny Hamlin - his second straight win. Rounding out the top five in order were: Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Stewart.
The next Sprint Cup race will be a road-race event -- Sunday (June 20) at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.