Outback Steakhouse recently launched a new advertising campaign called “No Rules, Just Right” that puts focus on food quality and value, along with the “no worries” theme of Australian living. For Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), that slogan will embody his approach to the final three races of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Heading to Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth 12th in standings, 106 points behind Chase leaders Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson, it’s all about winning races for Newman and ending the season on a high note.
After a slow start to the season, Newman’s SHR team heated up over the summer months. A win in the 20th annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July placed the No. 39 team in contention for a wild card berth. After a controversial sequence of events that occurred in the final race of the regular season at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Newman headed to Chicago as a member of the 2013 Chase field.
Newman opened the Chase with a 10th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, then won the pole the following week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Newman finished 16th, however, and began to see his title hopes fade. A 35th-place finish at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and 38th-place finish last week at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway made those hopes disappear.
While it would take a major miracle for Newman to re-emerge as a factor in the championship Chase, he knows that by embracing a “No Rules, Just Win” attitude, he and his No. 39 team can certainly end the 2013 season on a roll. He’s got three solid chances to do so, beginning this weekend at Texas.
Newman enters Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 with a strong determination to turn around his team’s misfortunes. And while his stats may not shine in the Lone Star State, Texas is a track where the South Bend, Ind., native has long enjoyed racing thanks to the high speeds and multiple racing grooves.
In 20 starts at the 1.5-mile oval, Newman has one win, two poles, three top-five finishes and four top-10s. His lone win came in March 2003, when he started third and led 77 laps en route to the checkered flag. It was the second win of Newman’s Sprint Cup Series career.
So while Newman may be out of contention for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, he is certainly still a factor to win each of the final three events. With a strong record at the 1.5-mile racetracks as of late, Texas is the ideal place to get started.