Ryan Newman back on the upswing with second consecutive top-10, looks to change bad luck at ‘Dega

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After a bit of a slump, Ryan Newman is definitely back on the upswing following Saturday’s eighth-place finish in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Newman collected his second consecutive top-10, having finished 10th two weeks earlier at Darlington.

After back-to-back seventh-place finishes at Phoenix and Las Vegas, Newman struggled at Bristol (16th) and another pair of back-to-back finishes (20th) at both Fontana and Martinsville.

But since then, the driver of the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet has finished 16th (Texas), 10th (Darlington) and now eighth at Richmond.

He was very competitive at Richmond, running in the top-five at times. He was running sixth with 15 laps left, but couldn’t make much forward progress, eventually ending up eighth.

“We battled a tight-handling condition throughout the race and Luke (Lambert, crew chief) did a good job keeping up with the way the track changed,” Newman said. “By the end of the night, we had a Chevrolet challenging for the win.

“Our biggest problem was the restarts. We seemed to find ourselves in the wrong line. We’d try to get a good restart, but a car in front of us would spin their tires and cut off all our momentum. Had we had a long run at the end, we may be in victory lane right now. We had one of the fastest cars on 40 and 50-lap, green-flag runs.”

Newman is now ninth in the Cup standings heading into this Sunday’s big race at Talladega. Unfortunately, the 2.66-mile superspeedway has not been one of Newman’s better tracks.

He’ll make his 25th career start there Sunday. In addition to at least two spectacular end-over-end crashes earlier in his career there, Newman has just four top-five and one other top-10 finish.

He’s hoping his good luck of late will change his run of bad luck at ‘Dega.

“Here’s hoping we can carry the momentum of the last two races into Talladega,” Newman said. “That superspeedway hasn’t been too kind to me, so hopefully me and my RCR team can start a new trend together.”

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Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup