Newman Seeking More Short Track Success

Ryan Newman

Ryan Newman is one of only four drivers that have finished in the top 10 in the last three races at Martinsville. (Photo: Getty Images)

Ryan Newman heads to Martinsville Speedway looking to use his previous short-track success to get back on track after a disappointing outing at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Last weekend, Newman equaled his worst finish of the season, in 36th, after a crash on lap two of the 334-lap race.

"Charlotte was definitely not what we expected," Newman said. "Our No. 39 Chevrolet was really fast, and I really felt like we had a good enough car to contend for a win, but that didn't happen. I was so mad at myself for that wreck on lap two and just so disappointed.

"Basically, you just have to put it behind you. That was last weekend, and now our focus is on Martinsville."

Although the Charlotte finish put a stop to Newman's streak of four consecutive finishes of ninth or better on the season, he's looking to extend another top-10 streak at Martinsville.

Newman is one of only four drivers that have finished in the top 10 in the last three races at Martinsville. He joins three championship contending drivers in the group that have dominated the 0.526-mile oval in their career - Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon.

Although he is not in the hunt for the title, Newman will look to use his short-track success with Stewart-Haas Racing to gain points on last week's winner Jamie McMurray for the top spot among non-chasers in 13th. Newman, who trails McMurray by 75 points, has posted nine top 10s and an average finish of 7.7 in 11 combined starts on the short-tracks (Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond) with SHR.

"I like the short-track racing," Newman said. "The more a driver has input – especially with some of the racetracks we go to, you don't have to brake a lot – the more the driver has input, the more the driver has an effect. The short-track racing I definitely enjoy because of that."

Newman's fourth-place finish at Martinsville in March came after starting 26th, and then by a call by his crew chief to keep him out on track during a caution late in the race.

"We had a good run there in the spring," Newman said. "We were fastest in practice, but we had to start pretty deep in the field because qualifying got rained out. But we had a good enough car that I was able to drive it into the top-10 and race there all day. And there, at the end, Tony Gibson used some strategy and made a pit call that put us in position to win the race with just a handful of laps to go. I was just unlucky on the outside there on the last restart. To get a top four out of that and on older tires, I can’t complain."

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