Sprint Cup Driver Review: Ryan Newman

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After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year.

In his final year with Stewart-Haas Racing, Ryan Newman finished 11th…

RYAN NEWMAN
No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
2013 Stats: 11th Place, One Win, 6 Top-5s, 18 Top-10s, 128 Laps Led
Average Start: 15.6
Average Finish: 16.0
DNFs: 5

Estrada Says: Mixed bag, anyone? First, the good bits: Indiana boy Newman won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and then made the Chase after NASCAR lowered the boom on Michael Waltrip Racing and Martin Truex Jr. following the race manipulation scandal at Richmond. But on the flip side, Newman lost his ride at Stewart-Haas Racing, which maintained it didn’t have enough funding for a fourth team at the time; just weeks later, SHR’s co-owner Gene Haas managed to sign Kurt Busch for a fourth program (Newman eventually captured a 2014 drive at Richard Childress Racing). Once in the Chase, Newman couldn’t stay in the title hunt for long as a 35th place result at Kansas pretty much did him and the No. 39 team in.

DiZinno Says: An odd year for Newman really. Had his moments of brilliance, with the Brickyard win,and two pole positions a year after he went pole-less. Never seemed a true title contender, though, even as he ascended to SHR’s only championship hope when his team boss and teammate Tony Stewart got injured in a sprint car crash. And it was during that injury period that the process of replacing Newman began, which naturally lowered Newman’s desire to want to help his current team while seeking new employment. He threw his pit crew under the bus in the immediate aftermath of Richmond but then got in on after the MWR penalties. A change of scenery will likely do both parties well in 2014.

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Lauda labels Verstappen USGP penalty ‘the worst I’ve ever seen’

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Mercedes Formula 1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has called the FIA stewards’ decision to penalize Max Verstappen for his last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix as “the worst I’ve ever seen”.

Verstappen charged from 16th on the grid to take third place from Raikkonen on the last lap after a stunning fight through the field, completing the fightback with a bold pass in the final sector.

However, the stewards stripped Verstappen of P3 after he appeared to put all four wheels off the circuit when riding the kerb to pass Raikkonen, causing outcry in the F1 community.

Speaking to reporters after the race in Austin, Lauda condemned the stewards’ decision, slamming them for interfering in the late fight.

“We had meetings at the start of the year to see how far stewards should go in decisions during a race because it always says ‘under investigation’,” Lauda said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“So we complained about that and we agreed all together that the stewards would not interfere – very simple.

“If the driver goes over another and upside down, only then would they weigh in. That was at the beginning of last year.

“For six months it was OK, but this decision was the worst I’ve ever seen. He did nothing wrong.”

Lauda said F1 team bosses would discuss stewarding at the next Strategy Group meeting, which is due to be held in the next two weeks.

“These are racing drivers. We are not on the normal roads and it is ridiculous to destroy the sport with these kind of decisions,” Lauda said.

“At the next strategy meeting, we will put it back on the agenda and start all over again, because we cannot do that.

“They go too far and interfere and there was nothing to interfere with. It was normal overtaking.”