In a day filled with avoiding raindrops, the scheduled 311.4-mile NASCAR Cup Series race was cut short Wednesday with Ryan Newman scoring a 14th-place finish in the Oscar Mayer Ford. At one point Newman led the field just past the halfway point, as varying strategies played out with the race ending after 208 laps.
It was an eventful night for Newman, who rolled off sixth after scoring a 15th-place finish in Sunday’s race at Darlington. He maintained his top-10 standing early as he and the team managed tight conditions. After ending the opening stage 13th, he restarted 11th for stage two. Three laps later, the yellow was displayed again in which he fired off eighth, but lost the coveted track position on the next caution in which he had to pit.
He ran comfortably inside the top-15 just past lap 100, when the yellow was displayed bringing Newman’s machine down pit road. The team had pit gun issues on the right rear, losing multiple spots on pit road, putting him 24th on the restart just prior to the stage two end, where he would finish 19th.
An immediate yellow waved just after the stage three green, and crew chief Scott Graves called for Newman to stay out, putting the Oscar Mayer Ford at the point for the ensuing restart. Throughout all of this, rain crept closer to Darlington Raceway, only reinforcing the strategy call. Despite rain drops falling during the yellow in which he and teammate Chris Buescher ran 1-2, the field would restart at lap 132.
After getting a slight tire rub on the restart, Newman continued to battle feverishly against the field with 20 lap fresher tires. He fell to seventh by lap 140, and slipped to outside the top-15 some 20 laps later due to ill handling. With the remainder of the field on a differing pit cycle, Newman and Buescher were forced to pit under green, as Newman stopped for service at lap 163 from the 23rd spot.
Some 15 laps later, the yellow was displayed as the majority of the field pitted under green, with Newman reporting the balance had improved aboard his No. 6 Ford. After taking the wave around, Newman fired off 12th for the restart at lap 186. By lap 194, Newman was 22nd when the yellow came out again, bringing Newman down pit road one final time for service.
He would restart 18th at lap 199, moving inside the top 15 as the yellow came out just three laps later for an incident on the front stretch. Newman received some slight damage on his machine, but the rain eventually set in at Darlington, ultimately ending the race after 208 laps.
Following two-straight events at Darlington, the focus now shifts to Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the NASCAR Cup Series will visit Sunday night for the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, Sirius XM Channel 90), where Roman makes its debut aboard Newman’s machine.