A late strategy call put Ryan Newman to the point in his Progressive Ford Mustang, leading 13 laps overall at Pocono Raceway before going on to finish 15th Saturday afternoon in the first of two races in back-to-back days at ‘The Tricky Triangle.’
Fuel mileage came into play as teams had varying strategy to the end, including Newman, who turned in a long green-flag run late. The 15th-place run marks Newman’s fourth in the last six races, and second-straight at the 2.5-mile track.
Rain once again had an impact on NASCAR’s plans, this time causing a delay to start the afternoon. After an original start time of 3:30 p.m. ET, the 325-mile race got underway just before 5 p.m. ET, with Newman rolling off 13th in the Progressive Ford after the random draw.
With a competition caution falling at lap 12, Newman ran 20th while battling tight conditions before going on to finish the stage in 14th. After a fuel-only stop under the break, Newman fired off 18th. With green-flag stops underway around lap 45, crew chief Scott Graves kept Newman on track to long pit, and the strategy worked as the yellow was displayed at lap 64 for debris with Newman in eighth.
The 2003 Pocono winner restarted 15th for an 8-lap shootout to the stage two end, and finished the segment in 12th. After staying out – setting up just one remaining pit stop to the finish – Newman restarted 10th for stage three. As drivers began to hit pit road around lap 90, Newman again stayed on track, this time inheriting the lead. It would last for 13 laps, before Newman was forced to pit road under green at lap 111 for service.
From there, Newman battled in the remaining 20 laps – all of which were green – for the 15th-place run.
With 325 miles in the books, the focus shifts to a 350-mile event on Sunday, which features Newman in the Wyndham Rewards Ford Mustang. Saturday’s finishing order will be inverted to determine Sunday’s lineup, meaning Newman will roll off sixth Sunday afternoon.
Coverage for Sunday’s race begins at 4 p.m. on FS1. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.