Richard Childress Racing Driver Ryan Newman advanced to the final round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup last year and came within a half-second of winning the championship—and he did so without winning a race.
But Newman is well aware that the surest path to the Chase lies in getting to Victory Lane in the first 26 races of the season. And to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title, Newman believes the eventual champion will have to win the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as Kevin Harvick did in the inaugural season of an elimination format.
“You want to be locked in, you want to win, you want to have that confidence, you want to have something to build on because, ultimately, you have to be a winner in the Chase,” Newman said Thursday morning during the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. “We’ve seen that.
“Whether it was Harvick or Logano or whoever, it came down to winning the last race to win the championship, and the odds are you’re going to have to win that last race.”
Though Newman fell just short in his title run, he feels his No. 31 Chevrolet team laid a strong foundation for success this year.
“I’ve never had as much fun as I had last year—not winning—in a race car,” Newman said. “We all know how much fun it is to win, but to see our team grow and experience the things that we have and just watch that relationship build, it really was fun.
“It was the way racing is supposed to be, even though we weren’t winning. And I know that, if and when we win, it’s going to be spectacular.”