Ryan Newman’s 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasongot off to a great start at Daytona, where he posted a fifth-place finish. But a pair of tire failures at Phoenix left him with a 40th-place result. Newman enters the Kobalt Tools 400 on March 10 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway 20thin points in the Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, but it’s not time to hit the panic button just yet.
Newman’s results at Las Vegas since joining Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) have been trending in the right direction. His finishes of 25th, 18th, fifth and fourth, respectively, have Newman putting last week’s disappointing result at Phoenix in the proverbial rearview mirror.
SHR looked strong in this race one year ago, with teammate Tony Stewart claiming the win and Newman finishing fourth, bringing plenty of optimism to the Quicken Loans camp as Newman heads into the race Sunday. And while the field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship is far from being determined, strong finishes to start the season can certainly help solidify a team’s chances of earning one of the 12 coveted berths. Scoring early-season wins certainly increases the odds, as well.
Newman and crew chief Matt Borland have looked forward to the 267-lap race at Las Vegas, the first intermediate racetrack of the 2013 season. With a bulk of the 36 races that make up the schedule contested at similar tracks, the No. 39 team is eager to assess its intermediate program with NASCAR’s sixth-generation racecar.
For Newman, Las Vegas Motor Speedway offers up a little bit of everything he likes in a racetrack. From the banking to the bumps, the character of the 1.5-mile oval gets him excited about racing at Las Vegas. While he has yet to make his way to victory lane there, his recent performances make him hard to overlook as a potential winner.