Accident Relegates Army Driver to 38th-Place Finish
TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 23, 2011) — It’s been a wacky superspeedway year for Ryan Newman, and Sunday’s Sprint Cup race provided the same scenario for the U.S. Army driver, whose potentially winning car was once again a magnet for trouble.
For the first 80 laps at Talladega Superspeedway, Newman and his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Tony Stewart, were a force to be reckoned with as the two drafting partners ran up front on the high-speed, 2.66-mile oval.
But on Lap 81 of 188, Newman became the victim of the two-car draft as he was accidentally spun by Stewart, causing major front-end damage to the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet. The severe spin in the grass tore off Newman’s front-bumper assembly and left him with a heavily damaged race car and a 38th-place finish in the Good Sam Club 500.
Newman eventually drove his car to the garage for repairs and when he returned to action he was 16 laps down.
“Up until the spin, I felt we had a car that would be challenging for the win,” said a disappointed Newman, who led four times for five laps. “I am not really sure what happened. All I know is that we’ve had really good cars this year at the superspeedways but zero luck.”
Stewart, who was pushing Newman’s car at the time of the spin, did not have any damage to his car and went on to post a seventh-place finish.
Regarding the incident with Newman, Stewart said, “I screwed up and got out of sync with Ryan and crashed him.”
Newman led late in the two Daytona International Speedway restrictor-plate races this season but got crashed in each. He basically suffered the same fate in the April Talladega race where he was a front runner before being spun out a couple of times and shoved to the back of the field.
“We’ll keep on fighting with our Army spirit and grit, ” said Newman. “Hopefully it will all come together for us at the next superspeedway race, which will be next year’s first race, the Daytona 500.”
The 38th-place finish dropped Newman from 10th to 12th in the Chase point standings. Stewart moved up one spot to fourth and is 19 points behind leader Carl Edwards with four races remaining.
The next Sprint Cup race is Sunday (Oct. 30) at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Chase Point Standings, Oct. 23, 2011 1. Carl Edwards, 2237 points 2. Matt Kenseth, -14 3. Brad Keselowski, -18 4. Tony Stewart, -19 5. Kevin Harvick, -26 6. Kyle Busch, -40 7. Jimmie Johnson, -50 8. Kurt Busch, -52 9. Dale Earnhardt Jr., -74 10. Jeff Gordon, -82 11. Denny Hamlin, -84 12. Ryan Newman, -88