Rough Day At Bristol

Friday's practice session was a bit of a struggle for the team as Newman noted tight conditions on the 0.533-mile track. The team would fix that though and Newman would grab the eighth place starting spot.

Newman felt good about the race and on the start he maintained his position but the car was loose. The first caution on lap 44 was Newman's first chance for attention on pit road.Several adjustments helped but he also had a left rear fender pushed in from contact with Stacy Compton. He restarted on lap 32 but crew chief Matt Borland had a strategy.

Newman patiently picked off the competition until a caution on lap 159. He was running 21st but jumped to third when the leaders pitted and Borland called for Newman to stay out.

Now with the car handling and Newman up front, it looked like he would survive Bristol. But his competition had other plans for the 24-year old Rookie of the Year contender.

A strong top-five run were foiled when on lap 210 Tony Stewart turned Newman and he hit the inside retaining wall head on. The team diligently worked for 69 laps to fix what they could and get Newman back out on the track.

He finished 37th, 71 laps down. He fell to seventh in the Winston Cup points.

"It was just one of those days," Newman said. "Bristol is a tough place where anything can happen at any time. My guys did a great job getting me back out there to get as much as we could and that's all we can ask for. We have a strong team and we'll bounce back. A week off will be good for everyone."

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2002

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