Ryan Newman and the No. 6 team recorded its best finish of the season Sunday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway, crossing the line ninth in the Wyndham Rewards Ford Mustang.
“It was a good run for us,” Newman said. “We had a car better than what we finished. I’m not sure what the call was on pit road there with the penalty, but then I don’t know why we ended up having to start fifth when we were actually sixth. It was a penalty to be moved up a spot, but a good run for our Wyndham Rewards Ford. The guys did a good job today, we just don’t have the total result to show for it, but it’s definitely an improvement and I’m proud of them.”
Newman rolled off 11th for Sunday’s 500-lap event, his second-best qualifying effort of the season thus far. He found himself in that same spot by the first pit stop at lap 40, before the No. 6 crew sent him off pit road inside the top-10. By lap 75 the 2008 Daytona 500 Champion worked his way to eighth, before a yellow came out just prior to the stage end on lap 117 where he was 10th. After service on pit road, Newman completed the opening stage 11th.
After gaining track position under the stage break, Newman fired off seventh at lap 135 for the second 125-lap stage. By lap 175 he ran 10th battling tight conditions. The caution flag was displayed again at lap 212 where he ran 13th, when crew chief Scott Graves called Newman to pit road for service and more adjustments trying to free up the No. 6 Ford.
The South Bend, Indiana, native lined up eighth at lap 220 for the restart, but quickly moved inside the top-five. He maintained that position and picked up valuable stage points, finishing third at the green-checkered at lap 250.
Following another four-tire stop and adjustments, Newman restarted the final stage in fourth. For the next 150 laps, Newman battled inside the top-10, riding eighth for a large chunk of the green-flag laps. The yellow was again displayed at lap 414 for a spin, which sent the No. 6 Wyndham Rewards Ford to pit road one final time for adjustments. He lined back up sixth with 78 to go, before making contact with a couple other cars, causing a left-rear tire rub and other damage.
The crew went to work to repair the cosmetic damage, before NASCAR issued the team a penalty for improper fueling, which set Newman back to the tail end of the field for the restart with 61 to go. He worked his way back up to 14th by lap 478 when the final yellow flag flew, but Graves kept him on the track for the final run, which ultimately paid off as he restarted fifth and crossed the line ninth.
Newman and the No. 6 team return to action next Saturday night under the lights at Richmond Raceway. Race coverage begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.