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Archive for Monday, July 18, 2011

Ryan Newman, teammate Tony Stewart go 1-2

July 18, 2011

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— Ryan Newman has impeccable timing.

In recent weeks Newman had been getting close to falling out of the top 10 in the Sprint Cup Series standings, and without a victory, he was in danger of missing the Chase this season.

What he needed was an insurance policy, and his victory in Sunday’s Lenox Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway provided it.

Newman held off his Stewart Haas Racing teammate and owner, Tony Stewart, to earn his first win of the season and 15th of his career. His last one was in April 2010 at Phoenix.

“We’ve been so close so many times this year, we’ve finished in the top five but just haven’t been able to get that win,” an emotional Newman said in Victory Lane.

The win helps Newman secure a spot in the Chase, whether it’s through remaining in the top 10 in points or a wild-card spot, which goes to drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins.

“This is huge for our team, even bigger for our organization,” Newman said. “Let me say it this way: Tony Gibson (crew chief) said before the race, ‘This is our race.’

“I wanted to tell him, ‘This is not our race until we make it our race.’ We did make it our race. All the guys came together and made it happen.”

For his part, Stewart also celebrated. He had one of his best performances of the season and his organization earned its first victory of the year.

“This is a perfect way to go into an off weekend, for sure. Especially going into Indy, man. This is big for everybody at Stewart Haas Racing,” Stewart said.

“It’s no secret we’ve been struggling this year. But it really shows me the depth of the people we got in our organization. It’s been one of the weirdest years as far as just weird things and bad luck happening to both of us.”

Stewart is still trying to secure his own invitation to the Chase. He is tied for 10th with Denny Hamlin, but remains winless this season.

“He got the lead pretty early. I knew how short (on fuel) we were,” Stewart said of his teammate. “I didn’t know what kind of mileage they were getting for the day, if they were getting better mileage than we were.

“I think hindsight being 20/20, I don’t mind running second and having him win the race vs. us winning the race and him running out of fuel.

“This is a much more gratifying weekend for me.”

Hamlin finished third, Joey Logano was fourth and Jimmie Johnson rallied twice from the back of the field to finish fifth.

Carl Edwards, who finished 13th, took the series points lead and holds a seven-point advantage over Johnson. Kyle Busch, who entered the race as the points leader, wrecked on Lap 60 after blowing a tire.

“Fastest car here — getting through the field pretty good and kind of the only guy passing cars I guess,” Busch said. “Just blew a bead, I guess, transferring to much brake heat through the wheel.”Newman and Stewart 1-2 at New Hampshire

By Jim Utter

The Charlotte Observer

Loudon, N.H.

— Ryan Newman has impeccable timing.

In recent weeks Newman had been getting close to falling out of the top 10 in the Sprint Cup Series standings, and without a victory, he was in danger of missing the Chase this season.

What he needed was an insurance policy and his victory in Sunday’s Lenox Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway provided it.

Newman held off his Stewart Haas Racing teammate and owner, Tony Stewart, to earn his first win of the season and 15th of his career. His last one was in April 2010 at Phoenix.

“We’ve been so close so many times this year, we’ve finished in the top five but just haven’t been able to get that win,” an emotional Newman said in Victory Lane.

The win helps Newman secure a spot in the Chase, whether it’s through remaining in the top 10 in points or a wild card spot, which goes to drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins.

“?This is huge for our team, even bigger for our organization,” Newman said. “Let me say it this way: Tony Gibson (crew chief) said before the race, ’This is our race.’

“I wanted to tell him, ’This is not our race until we make it our race.’ We did make it our race. All the guys came together and made it happen.”

With the victory come two bonuses for Newman and his No. 39 team.

There’s a week off, which can be spent better preparing for the final seven races before the Chase. And the team will have momentum going to the series’ next race, July 31 at Indianapolis.

“Today it all came together for us. We proved what we were capable of. We were close several times,” Newman said.

“We have to sit down as an organization to figure out why this weekend was so great, how to carry it over into the next seven and then into the last 10.”

While Newman clearly had the dominant car in Sunday’s race he led a race-high 119 of 301 laps he had to stretch his fuel to cover the final 85 laps to earn the win. He ran out of gas while attempting a post-race celebratory burnout.

Newman’s toughest challenger at the finish was a familiar face: his teammate and owner, Stewart.

“I’d rather have Stewart behind me than anybody else. I have a lot of respect for him. I know the way he races,” Newman said. “If we were side-by-side coming to the checkered, we’d have smoke coming off the fenders, because that’s the kind of guys we are.

“We’re not going to crash each other, but that’s the kind of guys we are.”

For his part, Stewart also celebrated. He had one of his best performances of the season and his organization earned its first victory of the year.

“This is a perfect way to go into an off weekend, for sure. Especially going into Indy, man. This is big for everybody at Stewart Haas Racing,” Stewart said.

“It’s no secret we’ve been struggling this year. But it really shows me the depth of the people we got in our organization. It’s been one of the weirdest years as far as just weird things and bad luck happening to both of us.”

Stewart is still trying to secure his own invitation to the Chase. He is tied for 10th with Denny Hamlin, but remains winless this season.

“He got the lead pretty early. I knew how short (on fuel) we were,” Stewart said of his teammate. “I didn’t know what kind of mileage they were getting for the day, if they were getting better mileage than we were.

“I think hindsight being 20/20, I don’t mind running second and having him win the race vs. us winning the race and him running out of fuel.

“This is a much more gratifying weekend for me.”

Hamlin finished third, Joey Logano was fourth and Jimmie Johnson rallied twice from the back of the field to finish fifth.

Carl Edwards, who finished 13th, took the series points lead and holds a seven-point advantage over Johnson. Kyle Busch, who entered the race as the points leader, wrecked on Lap 60 after blowing a tire.

“Fastest car here — getting through the field pretty good and kind of the only guy passing cars I guess,” Busch said. “Just blew a bead, I guess, transferring to much brake heat through the wheel.”

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