Newman Looks to Reel in Daytona Win
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on June 29, 2011 | 1:56 P.M. EST
Newman is carrying sponsorship from Bass Pro Shops this weekend at Daytona. (Photo: Getty Images)
Ryan Newman has experienced past success at Daytona International Speedway and hopes for more in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400.
Newman, who will be sponsored by Bass Pro Shops this weekend, has visited Victory Lane at the historic track in the ARCA, IROC and Sprint Cup Series with his biggest triumph coming in the Daytona 500 back in 2008.
However, overall his record isn’t as stellar in NASCAR’s top division as the Indiana native would like. In 19 career Sprint Cup Series starts at Daytona Newman has that one victory in the 500, with two top five and three top-10 finishes.
Since joining Stewart-Haas Racing, Newman has made five starts at “The World Center of Racing” and has never finished better than 20th.
He was one of the fastest cars in last February’s Daytona 500 until getting swept up in a multi-car accident and knocked from contention.
However, Newman believes the positives of his previous Daytona outings will be beneficial to putting together a solid effort in Saturday’s night’s race.
“We led the most laps in the Daytona 500, which was a great feat for us as a team,” Newman said. “It was the first time for me at a restrictor-plate track and the first time for me at SHR. And we feel we were four laps away from winning that race which, if you equate it to math, time-wise it’s two-and-a-half minutes.
“To be two-and-a-half minutes away from something so big and get crashed is pretty disappointing. It happens, and it seems like it’s happened to us a lot, but we still left Daytona knowing we had something and we were in the mix to bring home the trophy, and that was a big deal for us.”
The two-car drafting style of racing that has now become the norm at the newly paved Daytona was a big deal during Speedweeks. Newman is one of the drivers who enjoys the new way of getting around the 2.5-mile track.
“I enjoy it more, now, with the tandem draft, just from my standpoint as a driver because we have more influence on the performance of our team and how we can hook together with a teammate or a non-teammate to have an effect on our day,” Newman said. “And that means the most from my standpoint – to have that influence. In saying that, coming back here after leading the most laps in the Daytona 500, I think we have a really good package and I’m looking forward to it.”
Newman enters this weekend’s race 10th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings trailing leader Carl Edwards by 98 points. With 11 races to go until the field is set for this year’s Chase, Newman understands how important every race is from here on in starting with Saturday’s race.
“Daytona is a great place to race,” he said. “I’ve always said that I don’t enjoy the restrictor-plate races as much as I do the non-restrictor-plate races, but I understand it’s a part of our sport. It’s not restrictor-plate racing the way that it used to be, where everybody is four-wide, four-deep and you are stuck in New York City traffic. That’s what I didn’t like from my standpoint.”