Newman: Indy win “gives us more hope” of making Chase

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Ryan Newman was able to keep his hopes of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup alive last weekend with a well-received victory in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Now, he’s looking for one more win in the final six “regular season’ events that he thinks could put him and his No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet team over the top.

“Another win would be amazing just based on the history of what I’ve seen with the wild cards,” he said on Friday at Pocono Raceway. “Two [wins] is pretty much going to lock you into a [Chase] wild card spot. And we still have a shot. I think we’re 25 [points] out of 10th and there’s still a lot of racing to go.

“It hasn’t changed my mentality other than the fact that it changed, I guess, your hope. It doesn’t change my drive. My drive is to go out and do the exact same thing regardless.”

Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono could be a make-or-break afternoon for Newman, who sits 16th in the standings and third among the drivers in the 11th-20th rankings that have one win; boss/teammate Tony Stewart and Martin Truex Jr. currently hold the two wild-card spots.

Newman will drive the same race car that he took to victory last weekend at Indy, and with that track and Pocono sharing some characteristics, he should be able to enjoy a solid pace. Yesterday, he qualified fourth for Sunday’s race.

“There are no guarantees, but…I feel like we have been able to sharpen up some of the things that we did in the June race here,” said Newman. “We have done a lot of testing since then and obviously a lot of racing, and the Indianapolis race was huge.

“So hopefully, we can make it happen but like I said, there are no guarantees. It is probably the closest back-to-back races that we have in the season that are somewhat similar on the set-up side.”

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”