Chase Capsules: Ryan Newman

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31-Ryan Newman
Team: Richard Childress Racing
Crew Chief: Luke Lambert
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Best Finish: 6th (2002, 2003, 2005)
Chase History: 5th Chase Appearance, Best finish of 6th (2005)

Regular Season Recap: It’s been an odd year for the driver known as “Rocket man.” Newman’s shift from Stewart-Haas to RCR hasn’t been bad, and quietly he’s taken the lead of the operation as RCR swapped Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick for Newman and rookie Austin Dillon. Thing is, he’s barely been noticeable. He only has two top-five finishes – third at Kentucky and fifth Loudon – and has only led 24 laps all year. But with finishes between third and 24th in all but two races, and only two of those outside the top-20, Newman has been quietly consistent all year. In fact the only time he’s really made headlines was after his Watkins Glen accident, and his frustration with that course’s safety standards.

Chris’ Take: It’s one thing to be steady, and another to be steady. Newman can certainly run toward the front of the pack, but you just don’t count on him to always be at the sharp end. And that’s going to be a problem for him in this new Chase. His Top 10s need to be Top 5s; his Top 15s need to be Top 10s. Can he elevate his performance and keep it there? If not, he could be one of the first four gone.

Jerry’s Take: Ryan Newman has come close to winning during the 26-race regular season, but still hasn’t. So why would he all of a sudden start winning in the Chase? First off, he’s going to be the solo representative for Richard Childress Racing in the playoffs. Second, all told, RCR has had a good season collectively – but still not one of its drivers (Newman, Paul Menard or rookie Austin Dillon) has earned a win in 2014 to date. While Newman has definitely seen a resurgence in his career this season, getting past the first round in the Chase will be hard enough. Getting past the second round will be next to impossible.

Tony’s Take: You look through Newman’s career at Chase tracks and most of the 10 tracks are respectable. You look through his finishes this season and think, OK, he should be able to advance given his level of consistency. But in the Chase, with the spotlight on, Newman needs some “show me something” type races where he isn’t randomly finishing sixth or seventh. He needs to show he and the No. 31 have more than just solid top-15 efforts: they need to fulfill the race-winning potential. Otherwise, he’ll be forgotten in the field of 16, fast.

Ryan Newman’s Career Statistics at Chase Tracks
Chicagoland (1.5 mile) – One win, 3 Top-5s, 8 Top-10s in 12 starts
New Hampshire (1 mile) – Three wins, 7 Top-5s, 16 Top-10s in 25 starts
Dover (1 mile) – Three wins, 6 Top-5s, 12 Top-10 in 25 starts
Kansas (1.5 mile) – One wins, 3 Top-5s, 4 Top-10s in 17 starts
Charlotte (1.5 mile) – No wins, 4 Top-5s, 10 Top-10s in 27 starts
Talladega (2.66 mile) – No wins, 4 Top-5s, 9 Top-10s in 25 starts
Martinsville (half-mile) – One win, 7 Top-5, 11 Top-10s in 25 starts
Texas (1.5-mile) – One win, 3 Top-5s, 5 Top-10s in 22 starts
Phoenix (1 mile) – One wins, 8 Top-5s, 10 Top-10s in 24 starts
Homestead-Miami (1.5 mile) – No wins, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10s in 12 starts

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.