Wednesday, Feb 01

Ryan Newman: Quietly Gaining Ground Entering the Summer Stretch

He may not be making a lot of noise doing so, but Ryan Newman is starting to gain some ground as the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season heads for the summer stretch.

Since finishing a disappointing 31st at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway April 7, Newman has been closing in on the 10th position in the point standings. With the exception of a DNF (did not finish) at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, he hasn’t recorded a finish worse than 15th, and has three top-10 finishes in the span of six races. The string of steady performances has Newman sitting 20 markers in arrears to 10th-place Brad Keselowski, the final guaranteed position to lock into NASCAR’s 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.

Heading to Dover, Newman is looking to continue his steady climb. The high-banked, concrete mile oval is a favorite of the South Bend, Ind., native and, with an average finish of 12.1, it’s easy to understand why.

In 22 starts at Dover, Newman has four poles (June 2003 and 2006, September 2005 and 2007), three wins (June and September 2003, September 2004), six top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. Newman also has a NASCAR Nationwide Series win at the track (2005).

Newman’s September 2004 win at Dover was one of his most dominant performances in his 11-year Sprint Cup career.

He qualified on the outside pole for the 400-lap race but, by the end of lap one, he was shown as the leader. He showed no mercy to his other Sprint Cup competitors, leading an amazing 325 of 400 laps. In fact, Newman built a commanding eight-second lead en route to the win and claimed the first-ever “Monster Trophy” given out by the track known as the Monster Mile.

While Newman has had a rough go of it at the concrete oval the last two years, he does have reason to believe this weekend may put an end to that streak as his No. 39 team joined Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammates Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart for a two-day test at the facility two weeks ago.

This weekend, Newman hopes his steady climb in the point standings continues, and that another strong run at Dover will help solidify the No. 39 team’s chances of contending for a coveted spot in the Chase.

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