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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