Phoenix II: Ryan Newman race report

Pit Road Issues Stall Newman's Momentum in Phoenix Newman Extends Congrats to U.S. Army Teammate Schumacher for Winning NHRA Season Title PHOENIX (Nov. 15, 2009) -- The disappointment was evident in the faces of the No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas ...

Pit Road Issues Stall Newman's Momentum in Phoenix

Newman Extends Congrats to U.S. Army Teammate Schumacher for Winning NHRA Season Title

PHOENIX (Nov. 15, 2009) -- The disappointment was evident in the faces of the No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation team after Ryan Newman finished 20th in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.

"We squandered a great opportunity today due to a couple of pit road problems," said crew chief Tony Gibson. "It's really frustrating knowing that we didn't capitalize on what we had."

Newman showed his strength early in the race. He started 24th and gained 12 positions when he came in for the first pit stop on Lap 74 of 312.

"Before I get into our race, I want to congratulate my teammate Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army NHRA Top Fuel team for capturing the season championship today in (Pomona) California," said Newman. "A big hooah to Tony and his team for a truly Army Strong effort."

"Now back to our race," added Newman. "No question we were in good shape early and looked like we had the muscle to eventually run with the leaders. But then a chain of problems, stemming from pit road issues, took our momentum away."

The slow stops cost Newman track position on the one-mile oval, and while running in the high teens, his car got damaged during a multicar accident on Lap 172.

"We were in a position on the track that we never should have been in and it cost us dearly," said Gibson. "That hit pretty much ended any hopes of getting back up front. We had damage to the splitter and the left-front fender and all we could do was band-aid the problem. Ryan did the best he could from that point on."

Newman remained ninth in the Chase point standings.

Newman's teammate, Tony Stewart, finished 25th and remained fifth in points.

The race winner was Jimmie Johnson. Rounding out the top-five in order were Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr.

Johnson enjoys a comfortable 108-point lead over Martin heading into the season finale Sunday (Nov. 22) at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

-credit: shr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Tony Stewart , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , Denny Hamlin , Mark Martin