Newman Finishes 19th in Rollercoaster Race at Martinsville

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Ryan Newman’s final result wasn’t indicative of his overall performance at Martinsville Speedway, as he and the Guaranteed Rate team ran inside the top-five midway through the race and had to overcome two different on-track incidents, before ultimately finishing 19th.

The 500-lap race was lengthy in more than one way, as heavy rains entered the Virginia area late Saturday, halting what was a short-lived start to the spring event. Just 42 laps were completed Saturday night, which setup a 4 p.m. resumption of the remaining laps on the .526-mile track on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Newman was just two laps shy of turning an eventful day into a solid 12th-place run, but a flat left rear tire spoiled that, relegating him to 19th. The left rear was one of the many areas of his No. 6 machine that received dents and dings, a common theme at NASCAR’s tightest track.

After originally rolling off eighth Saturday night, the South Bend, Indiana, native would finish the opening stage in 16th, reporting mostly free conditions. He began the second 130-lap segment just one spot off that in what was the start of a flurry of cautions – 15 in the race to be exact – as he was unfortunately caught up in one at lap 250, when he suffered left rear damage.

With mostly cosmetic issues along the left side, the team went to work under yellow and sent him back out 20th for a two-lap shootout to the stage break, where he crossed the line 21st at lap 260. Having just hit pit road, he would stay out under the stage break and restart 10th, but only seven green-flag laps would pass, as he ran 15th by the next yellow and hit pit road again at lap 277.

That stop served as his last one for a while though, as another yellow flew at lap 289, setting him up for perfect track position on the ensuing restart when most of the field hit pit road. He fired off second for a restart at lap 296, and over the course of three additional cautions remained well inside the top-10.

But at lap 350, he was again the unlucky car to go for a spin, this time off the front bumper of someone behind, pushing him back in the field yet again. With the availability of tires already a concern with still 150 laps to be run, the team put on a set of scuff tires under the ensuing caution, sending Newman back out 25th for the restart.

Over the course of the next 20 laps Newman worked his way back near the top-15, when the field was halted and sent to red-flag conditions after a multi-car pileup, one that would end the afternoon for numerous machines. This time though, Newman was clear of the wreckage and ultimately restarted 12th with 104 to go.

Just after the restart he powered as high as eighth and shuffled back to 11th with 70 laps remaining. The final yellow of the long race flew at lap 451 with Newman 12th. He hit pit road one final time – again for scuffed tires – and fired off 11th with 42 to go. But, with the battle for each position heating up as the laps wound down, Newman was tagged again on the left rear, eventually causing a tire rub that would cut down the tire with just two laps to go, resulting in the 19th-place finish.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads right back to Virginia next weekend for another short-track event, this time at Richmond Raceway. Race coverage next Sunday afternoon is set for 3 p.m. ET on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.

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