Ryan Newman drove his way to his second-consecutive top-10 Sunday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway, crossing the line seventh in his Wyndham Rewards Ford Mustang.
“We had good strategy and good pit stops, good everything,” Newman said following the race. “We just didn’t quite have the speed to be able to get up there and pass those guys that were in the front today.”
The 2003 Driver of the Year qualified 21st in Saturday’s multi-car session, but lined up 19th Sunday after some cars were sent to the rear. The two opening stages ran 20 laps each, while the final stage ran 40 laps. Throughout the day the stage flags were the only cautions of the 90-lap event.
Throughout the opening laps, Newman reported he was tight aboard the No. 6 machine. Crew chief Scott Graves called him to pit road prior to the stage break putting four fresh tires on with a couple of adjustments. After short-pitting, Newman finished the opening stage 27th.
With a host of cars pitting under the caution, Newman lined back up ninth for the second stage and ran 12th with four to go in the segment, before Graves again short-pitted him to gain track position following the break. After completing the stage 18th, the strategy paid off as the South Bend, Indiana, native restarted seventh for the final 46 laps.
From then on, Newman never fell outside the top-10, working his way to sixth for the middle portion of the race. The team’s final pit stop came at lap 63 under green when Graves called him to pit road from the fifth position. He fell as low as eighth with 10 to go to cars with slightly fresher tires, but picked off one final position with a few laps remaining to cross the line seventh.
With five top-10s on the year, Newman and the No. 6 team head next to Chicagoland Speedway. Race coverage for next Sunday’s event begins at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.