After battling handling issues most of the day, Ryan Newman restarted 14th for the final green-white-checkered finish and drove his way to an eighth-place finish in his Coca-Cola Ford Mustang at Michigan International Speedway.
“To have our best lap I guess other than maybe one lap to be our last lap makes me proud of the guys,” Newman said after the race. “The Coca Cola Ford wasn’t the greatest all day. We had some good restarts toward the end but just struggled with the dirty air. I think everybody did. It is obvious if you know anything about racing. It was a good points day for us. We need to get some stage points. Nevertheless I am proud of the guys.”
Pit strategy paid off late for Newman and the No. 6 as the team pitted just once – for fuel only – in the final stage. With just three laps to go, Newman lined up 14th on the outside line and found himself eighth when the checkered flag flew.
The 200-lap event was finally able to get underway at 5 p.m. ET Monday afternoon after rain set in Sunday, forcing the postponement of the 400-mile race. The 2003 Daytona 500 Champion rolled off the grid 18th and ran 21st at the time of the competition caution at lap 20.
The South Bend, Indiana, native continued to battle tight conditions, crossing the line 22nd in stage one. He would line back up 19th for the second stage and took fuel only when the yellow was displayed at lap 71. As the remaining laps ran green and a set of cars pitted for fuel, Newman stayed on track to complete the second 60-lap stage 15th.
The team continued adjustments on the No. 6 Ford under the break, sending Newman back out 20th to begin the final segment. Over the course of the opening eight laps, two caution flags were displayed as Newman stayed on track gaining track position. He would line back up 12th at lap 141 and ran there 20 laps later as the laps wound down.
With the laps continuing to pass by, Newman was eventually forced to pit under green at lap 177 for fuel only. In what looked to be a green-flag ending, the yellow came out one final time at lap 196 when Newman ran 15th. He lined back up 14th for the final restart and powered inside the top-10 on old tires finishing eighth.
Following an off weekend this weekend, Newman and the No. 6 team return to action June 23rd at Sonoma Raceway. Race coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on FS1. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.