Newman Marches to New Hampshire
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on September 21, 2011 | 3:00 P.M. EST
Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart finished first and second respectively at New Hampshire in July. (Photo: Getty Images)
While his teammate Tony Stewart went to victory lane, Ryan Newman was turning in an impressive Chicagoland performance of his own and looks to take that momentum with him to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend.
Newman was able to score an eighth-place finish in Monday’s rain-delayed Geico 400 to kick off his Chase with a solid effort and give Stewart-Haas Racing two drivers inside the top 10.
Newman gave credit to his team for the finish including crew chief Tony Gibson, who had to calculate the fuel mileage necessary to give the No. 39 Chevy what it needed to make it to the checkered flag.
"Our race was really strong -- I was proud of the guys," said Newman. "Our fuel mileage wasn't what it needed to be, but in the end, we got a top 10. I ran out of fuel coming off of turn two. I got past Jimmie (Johnson) -- I think he ran out coming to the white (flag). It was kind of a crazy deal, but we were still able to capitalize in our U.S. Army Medicine Chevrolet. It could have been worse I guess -- we could have run out of fuel earlier on the final lap."
With four more 1.5-mile tracks left in the season, Newman believes what was accomplished in Chicago on Monday will be a big benefit to his next nine races in the Chase.
"What I learned today was that we have a better mile-and-a-half program than I thought we did," said Newman. "That's huge because 50 percent of the Chase races (five) are at the mile-and-a-half tracks. We had a strong run today and it feels good to start off the Chase with this type of performance."
However, Newman cautions just because tracks may be the same distance, it doesn’t necessarily mean success will transfer from one to another.
"I don’t think one race determines your intermediate programs because the race tracks are so different,” Newman said. “You get to places like Kansas with the tar strips and the sensitivities there and again, the weather has a lot to do with that. Just because you’re good here at a 1.5-mile racetrack doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at Charlotte when the conditions are different and the banking is different and things like that. No, is the answer."
The entire SHR team has to be feeling good about this week’s trip to New Hampshire, where it ran 1-2 back in July. Newman took the checkered flag with Stewart in his rear view mirror and that experience, coupled with the momentum from Monday’s effort, has the team looking very much forward to Sunday’s Sylvania 300.
'It's about confidence, consistency and momentum and that's what we have right now," noted Newman. "Yes, I look forward to New Hampshire -- it's a track where I've had plenty of success."