In executing his game plan during last year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Ryan Newman failed miserably.
Even so, with a runner-up finish to Kevin Harvick at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Newman came within a half-second of winning the series championship.
“Our approach last year was to win every race,” Newman said Thursday afternoon. “We didn’t win any of ‘em. We came really close at the end.”
Newman enters this year’s Chase with the exact same attitude.
“So, yes, my approach is the same, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to guarantee us to advance past the first round,” said Newman, who hasn’t won a race since he took the checkered flag at Indianapolis in 2013.
As his 51 career poles will attest, Newman historically has been one of the strongest qualifiers in the series, but he hasn’t won a pole since 2013 either. And that’s one area he knows he and his team need to improve, if the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet is going to remain in contention for a title.
“I haven’t won a pole since they went to group qualifying (in 2014) — haven’t really been that close,” Newman said. “I think we were second at Martinsville. I don’t think that I’m due. I don’t think that there’s anything that it owes me.
“I think it’s just a matter of us doing a better job, and that could be the way we do any part of it — the strategy part of it, adjusting the race car, working through our setup package, when to go out, when to do it strategy-wise. There’s a lot more to it than just picking the random draw and saying, ‘OK, it’s your turn.’”