Ryan Newman found time to smile following his 10th-place finish in the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
Newman, driver of the No. 39 Aspen Dental Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), scored his 11th top-10 finish of 2012 and his 15th top-10 result in 22 career starts at the 1.058-mile oval.
“It just seems like I never got the corner flow right,” said Newman, who started eighth and was in the top-15 all day. “We got the balance halfway close, but we never go the entry-middle-exit quite right. So it was a decent finish for the Aspen Dental Chevrolet. It was just not what we wanted. We’ve had Aspen Dental as the primary sponsor twice this year, and we got a fifth at Daytona in July and a 10th today. Two top-10s aren’t bad, but we’d like to get them a win, too.”
Newman’s SHR teammate, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, finished seventh to score his 14th top-10 result of 2012 and his 17th top-10 in 28 career Sprint Cup starts at the 1.058-mile oval.
The Sylvania 300 marked the third straight race and the ninth time this season that Stewart and Newman have finished in the top-10 together.
Denny Hamlin won the Sylvania 300 to score his 22nd career Sprint Cup victory, his series-high fifth of the season and his second at New Hampshire.
Jimmie Johnson finished 2.675 seconds behind Hamlin in the runner-up spot, while Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top-five. Brad Keselowski, Stewart, Joey Logano, Brian Vickers and Newman comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were four caution periods for 17 laps, with 10 drivers failing to finish the 300-lap race.
Stewart is representing SHR in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup and entered the second race of the 10-race Chase in third place among the 12 Chase drivers, eight points behind Chase leader Keselowski. Stewart leaves New Hampshire fourth in the standings, 10 points behind new Chase leader Johnson.
Newman remained 14th in the standings with 807 points, 24 back of 13th-place Kyle Busch.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule – the third race of the 10-race Chase – is the AAA 400 on Sept. 30 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race begins at 2 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m.