LATE-RACE ACCIDENT COLLECTS NEWMAN AT TALLADEGA Haas Automation Driver Endures Rough Outing at Alabama Track A late-race, multi-car accident made for another disappointing outing for Ryan Newman at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in ...
LATE-RACE ACCIDENT COLLECTS NEWMAN AT TALLADEGA
Haas Automation Driver Endures Rough Outing at Alabama Track
A late-race, multi-car accident made for another disappointing outing for Ryan Newman at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in Sunday's Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. For Newman, it was the third-consecutive race at Talladega in which he was collected in a late-race incident.
The seven-car accident happened on lap 188 -- the first of three attempts at green-white-checker finishes -- when Newman was hit from behind by Joey Logano in the middle of turns three and four. Logano's tap turned Newman around and sent him into the outside wall, leading to the multi-car pileup in which Newman's No. 39 Chevy was hit multiple times.
"I just got hit from behind," Newman said after he was checked and released from the Talladega Infield Care Center. "I had a run on the outside and we were four-wide. He was just hitting me, hitting me, hitting me, and I just got turned around. It's just the way it works. I would have done the same thing to him. We all never lifted coming up to turn three. It was going to happen. It was just a matter of who it was and where it happened. I have to thank Office Depot for jumping on and sponsoring us for this race and Haas Automation. It is Talladega.
"I saw everything in front of me was good, but I was the one who got hit. Joey (Logano) hit me and turned me around. It is just the way it works. It is unfortunate. Nobody did anything wrong but it is a product of the racing here, or I guess I should say it's a product of what happens here."
For Newman, the late-race incident capped off a frustrating weekend. Newman started Sunday's race in 16th place in a backup No. 39 Chevy. Newman was forced to a backup car following an on-track incident in final practice on Friday afternoon, which sent the No. 39 Chevy into the wall in turn two, resulting in heavy damage. Luckily, Newman was able to turn a handful of laps with his backup car in final practice on Friday.
In the early stages of the Aaron's 499, Newman opted to try his hand at drafting with his backup car and worked to determine which lane his No. 39 Chevy preferred. He tried working with different drafting partners and maneuvered his Chevy back and forth from the outside to the inside lane of the 2.66-mile oval. By lap 15, he told crew chief Tony Gibson that his car could have been a little tighter, as it had been looser than he wanted during the early laps.
At lap 20, NASCAR threw a competition caution due to Saturday's heavy rain, which cancelled track activity. Newman pitted for four fresh tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and an air-pressure adjustment to his left-side tires. Newman returned to the track in 21st place. After getting some drafting practice in the initial stages of the race, Newman returned to the track for the restart in 21st place and opted to drop back to the pack. He rode around in hopes of avoiding any potential accidents that could happen in the tight-racing pack of cars, and to save his equipment, until the end of the race.
As the laps ticked off, Newman told his crew chief that the car's handling was fine and that it seemed to "suck up" well in the draft, but that he was just being patient. Newman spent most of the next 100 laps just riding and biding his time.
Following a green-flag pit stop at lap 146 for right-side tires and fuel, Newman, with 40 laps to go, seized the opportunity to move around in the draft and see what he could do with the No. 39 Chevy. With ease, Newman was able to come from mid-pack to the front of the field in just one lap as both the pusher and the car being pushed.
However, Newman lost his drafting partner and got shuffled back in the lineup. Newman hovered around the top-15, but he couldn't seem to get a solid drafting partner to push him through the field. He was in 16th place when the race was restarted at lap 188 for the first attempt at a green-white-checker finish, when trouble struck and Newman's No. 39 Chevy was sent into the wall, ending his day.
"I wish I could at least crash once and drive away, so I can still drive it back without having to go to the Infield Care Center," said Newman who has been the victim of multi-car accidents in the last three Talladega races. "I guess it's just a product of Talladega."
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot "Matterhorn" Chevrolet Impala and Newman's teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, finished 16th.
Kevin Harvick won the Aaron's 499 to score his 12th career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his first at Talladega.
Jamie McMurray finished .011 of a second behind Harvick, while Juan Pablo Montoya, Denny Hamlin and Mark Martin rounded out the top-five. David Ragan, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Mike Bliss comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were eight caution periods for 32 laps, with 13 drivers failing to finish the 200-lap race, which was extended 12 laps past the scheduled distance due to three attempts at a green-white-checker finish. The race, which was the longest in Talladega history at 532 miles, set all-time NASCAR records for leaders (29) and lead changes (88).
With round nine of 36 complete, Stewart is 14th in the Sprint Cup championship standings. He fell from a tie for 12th and now has 1,061 points, 262 markers behind series leader Jimmie Johnson. Newman lost two positions to fall to 18th in the standings. He has 995 points and is 328 points back of Johnson.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the May 1 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.