Newman up to his typical Playoff tricks

NKP #6: Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs

For all intents and purposes, Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman has raised his game at precisely the right time. After a tight late-season battle between up to five drivers to even qualify for a Playoff berth, the veteran is now in solid position to advance to the next round.

Newman is ranked a season-high ninth in the championship standings with a 14-point edge on 13th-place Alex Bowman. The top 12 drivers among the group of 16 Playoff competitors will advance to the next round following the outcome of Sunday’s Charlotte Roval race.

Not only did Newman convincingly earn his Playoff spot with an impressive eighth-place run in the Indianapolis regular season finale, he has top-10 finishes in the two Playoff races since. He was 10th at Las Vegas and fifth last weekend at Richmond – tying his season best mark, a fifth place in the summer Daytona race.

Newman placed 11th at the ROVAL inaugural race last season. He was seventh in the No. 6 RFR Ford at the Sonoma, Calif. road course in June and 25th at Watkins Glen, N.Y. in August. Although he’s never won on a Cup Series road course, he did win the 2005 Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen. He has three top 10s in 18 starts at The Glen, but his last came back in 2006 (eighth place). He was runner-up in his series debut there in 2002.

Historically, Newman’s numbers are a bit better at Sonoma. He has eight top-10 finishes in 18 starts – three in the last five races there, including this summer. He was runner-up in 2006.

The team goes into the Charlotte weekend feeling as optimistic as it has this season, according to Newman, who said his seventh place at Richmond last weekend was the best team performance of the season “without a doubt.’’


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