Newman needs to make up points ground in a hurry to earn spot in Chase for the championshipBy Dan Gelston, AP
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Newman on outside of Chase spot
PHILADELPHIA — Ryan Newman is about out of time to make the Chase field.
Newman is 15th in the standings, 118 points behind Clint Bowyer for the final spot with two races left to qualify for the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Jamie McMurray is 13th — 100 points behind Bowyer — and Mark Martin is 14th — 101 points back — heading into the race Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The field well be set after the Sept. 11 race at Richmond.
“It’s a legit shot,” Newman said, “But it’s not the shot we would have preferred.”
Newman won in April at Phoenix International Raceway to snap a 77-race Cup winless streak, but has had only five other top-five finish since, putting the Stewart-Haas Racing driver in the precarious position.
He finished sixth in the last race at Bristol Motor Speedway and will likely need at least that type of finish — along with some misfortune from the drivers ahead of him — to get to 12th. He won’t use previous success as a guide the next two weeks. Newman has one career win and six top fives in 34 career races at Atlanta and Richmond.
If the pressure is building inside the No. 39, Newman won’t show it on the outside.
“I don’t change the way I race because of it. I don’t change my approach,” Newman said.
He sure won’t change his car, although it was tempting to pluck one of the more than 60 racing sports cars Wednesday on his tour at a Philadelphia museum. Newman, a classic car collector, showed great appreciation and knowledge at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. The museum boasts it has the “rarest and most significant racing sports cars ever built.”
“You’ve got the sickness, too,” a smiling Newman said to collector, retired neurosurgeon Frederick Simeone.
Simeone led Newman on a tour of cars that range from a 1909 American Underslung to a 2002 NASCAR Dyno Mule. A curious Newman took a closer peek at the tire on one of the cars. Yup, that was a Penske Alltel Dodge marking on the rear passenger tire — one Newman identified on his own, likely from the 2000 or 2001 season with Roger Penske Racing.
He perked up when he saw a Triumph TR5 — a 1974 Triumph TR6 was his first car.
“Anyone can have a ‘57 Chevy,” Newman said.
Newman rattled off a list of antique cars he keeps at his personal garage, like a 1928 Ford Roadster. Not exactly the kind of car that can win Daytona, which Newman has done, these days.
Newman would love to add his 2008 Daytona 500 winning car to his collection.
“I think R.P. is going to have controlling interest in that one for a while,” Newman said. “Hopefully at some point in my career, I can acquire it.”
The site of his biggest career win may have derailed his Chase chances this season. He was 34th and 26th at Daytona this season and 35th at Talladega. Newman says throw out the three restrictor-plate races and he’s jostling down the stretch for a high seed in the Chase and not a long shot at making the field.
Newman also said he hasn’t spoken to Joey Logano since the two drivers tangled on the track at Michigan International Speedway.
Logano’s car got loose and tapped the left rear fender of Newman’s car, causing Newman to spin out with 53 laps remaining. Newman confronted Logano after the race, but NASCAR officials stepped in before the situation escalated.
“When somebody crashes you and tells you you’re to blame, that’s the end of the story,” Newman said. “What else do you say? … When somebody crashes you, you just say, ‘Hey man I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get into you.’ He never said that.”
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