In a race that provided a lot of highs and lows, Ryan Newman crossed the line 23rd in his Performance Plus Oil Ford Mustang Saturday night under the lights at Kansas Speedway.
After riding around 20th for a good portion of the race, Newman and the team looked to solve the handling issues with around 100 to go and were locked into the top-10. But, a pit road penalty cost Newman the track position which ultimately led to the finish.
The South Bend, Indiana, native qualified 28th in Friday’s single-car session, but actually started 19th after nine cars failed pre-race technical inspection Saturday afternoon. With the first two stages running 80 laps each, Newman was 21st at the time of the competition yellow at lap 30.
After the team put two right-side tires on his machine, he lined back up seventh for the restart. The yellow was again displayed at lap 60, just 20 laps before the break, and Newman stayed out. He would restart second with 15 to go in the stage, but his handling faded causing him to cross the line 20th.
The team went to work to try and fine-tune his handling issues, and by the time he would pit under green at lap 122 he was too loose. However, 20 laps after the stop Newman reported it was his best balance of the race, before he finished 21st to end stage two.
Following more adjustments on pit road under the break, Newman gained four spots for the restart, and less than 20 laps later had driven into the top-10. The third and final stage ran caution-free until lap 216 when Newman hit pit road for service.
While in his pit stall, the left rear tire rolled away from the car, which resulted in a penalty, but also brought out the yellow for debris on the grass. He would go on to lose two laps to the leaders, forcing him to restart 32nd at lap 228.
Over the course of the final laps Newman would pit one final time for four fresh tires, but was never able to gain a lap back. He did however advance through the lapped cars to cross the line 23rd.
Newman and the No. 6 team return to action next weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the All-Star Race. Newman is locked in to the All-Star event by way of his previous win in the race. Race coverage for The Open begins at 6 p.m. on FS1, with the All-Star Race to immediately follow. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.