Confidence building for NewmanPublished 3:26pm Thursday, April 5, 2012
Through the first six races of the Sprint Cup schedule, Stewart-Haas racing has been the team to beat.
Super teams like Roush Fenway Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have just two wins between them, while Stewart-Haas has won three of the first six, with team owner Tony Stewart, the defending Sprint Cup champion, owning a pair of them.
South Bend native Ryan Newman added his name to the list of winners for the 2012 season.
The win didn’t come without some drama.
“Well, it was an eventful day for us off the racetrack, I guess you could say, just because I got the speeding penalty on pit road and put myself in a bad position,” Newman said during Tuesday’s NASCAR teleconference. “The guys did a good job of fixing the balance of the race car first and standing behind me and having good pit stops and things like that, and using the right strategy at the end of the race to put ourselves in position to be in contention.”
While his team played a major role in his first victory of the season, so did luck.
During the first green-white-checker restart, Clint Bower dove inside of leaders Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson, spinning out both and creating a mess at the head of the field.
Newman was able to sneak through the collection of wrecked cars to take the lead. He then held off the remainder of the field during the second attempt at a green-white-checker finish.
“Well, I knew that the front two didn’t have tires and there was a better chance of them spinning their tires than us, at least with two tires,” Newman said. “My intention was to get a run on Clint, which I did, then having the entirety of him blocking me and getting down and getting a run on 24 because I couldn’t see that.
“Once he did, I just kind of backed off and I have him, I guess enough courage to try to stick his nose up in there. It didn’t work for him and it worked for us. So that was just the sum of it.”
By winning a race, Newman has racked up 10 bonus points, which could either help him get into the Chase at the end of the year or put him in a good position if he does qualify for NASCAR’s post season.
“It’s big for us from a points standpoint because we gain an advantage in the points, but primarily to give us something to fall back on if we need to to make it into the Chase,” he said. “That is a sense of relief. But that relief doesn’t get you anywhere when it comes to performance. It just gives you something to fall back on.
“So our job is still to go out there and win each and make the effort to win each and every race and keep moving our way up into the points so we don’t have to rely on the win.”
Newman will get a chance to catch his boss Stewart a week from Saturday (April 14) when the Cup Series returns for the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.