Final Grades In For Newman
November 21, 2001 | 12:00 A.M. EST
“I would give the whole season a ‘B’,” said the Purdue graduate. “I think we proved we were above average in a lot of races. The season could have been an ‘A’ if we, as a team, when we were leading, could have eliminated some of the issues that arose and closed the deal.
“For example, Chicago we led and got in an accident. Dover we led the most laps and got caught in an accident. Darlington we sat on the pole, had a strong car, and the wheel fell off but we came back to finish fourth. And there were times when we had a car capable of getting the pole and we didn’t. If we could have reached our full potential in each of those situations, we would have had an ‘A’ season.”
“But,” Newman continued, “we, learned some valuable lessons in each of those situations. Those are lessons I will find extremely useful next season.”
Newman gave the NASCAR world a little taste of what his 2002 Rookie of the Year bid may be like by scoring two wins, eight poles, five top-fives, and 11 top-tens in 24 combined ARCA RE/MAX, Busch Series, and Winston Cup races.
“I think I adapted really well to the different race tracks and the competition,” Newman said. “There are times when I could have done better and times when I did really good. Either way, I feel prepared for next season and I’m ready to trade paint with the big boys.”