There has been big changes within Roush Fenway Racing in 2019, specifically on the No. 6 Ford Mustang. Although the season is just four weeks in, the newly created duo of Ryan Newman and crew chief Scott Graves has shown drastic improvements in a short period of time.
Take out a tough week at Las Vegas in week three, and Newman has three top-15s and consistent runs inside the top-10 to go with it. To this point a year ago, the team had just one top-15 with an average finish of 22nd.
“Through four races this season I have been reasonably happy with our performance,” Graves said. “We’ve had some ups and downs. Vegas was a tough race for us but we made a nice recovery at Phoenix. The important thing for us right now is to establish consistency and a base that we can improve on while staying in contention for the playoffs and I feel like we have done that so far.”
Rewind back to the season kickoff at Daytona and Newman and the No. 6 team showed resiliency, literally finishing the race with no complete right front tire and a bevy of damage on the front end. In a race that featured 12 cautions and a pair of red flags, the team was able to hang tough for a 14th-place result.
Fast forward a week to Atlanta in a race that was a bit unlucky for Newman, with a pair of cautions coming out as he was on pit road for service. Still, Newman ran inside the top-10 throughout portions of the race and overcame laps down to finish 13th.
Following a down week in Las Vegas – a 267-lap race that featured only two cations, both of which were stage breaks – Newman headed to Phoenix looking to rebound and the team did just that. After qualifying 18th, Newman quickly worked his way to the front and maintained a top-10 running order for a majority of the race before a pair of penalties set him back. Still, the team prevailed and Newman crossed the line 12th in what looked to be a strong top-10.
“Now that we have a few races under our belts, I feel confident in our team and the chemistry that we continue to form,” Newman said. “We’ve had our share of bad luck thus far, but we rebounded each time and didn’t let situations set us back. I think our run in Phoenix proved we are here to contend and I’m excited to see the coming weeks pan out.”
Newman sits 17th in the points standings heading into Fontana and has gained stage points on more than one occasion this season. He will sport the black and yellow colors of Performance Plus for the first time at Fontana, and based off pure numbers alone, things seem to be looking up for the iconic No. 6 as 2019 progresses.