Sunday night was more than eventful for Ryan Newman and the No. 6 team in the Bojangles’ Southern 500, as Newman finished 23rd in his Oscar Mayer / Velveeta Ford Mustang in a race that ran well into the morning hours.
“We got spun and we came back, and we did not have a top 10 finish, so it’s unfortunate,” Newman said after the race. “We lost some points today, but we’ve got a lot of fight in us and we’ll go into the last one here in the regular season and fight.”
Sunday’s 500-lap race that annually celebrates NASCAR’s Throwback weekend was set to begin just after 6 p.m. ET, but unfortunately heavy rain set into the area just before and would not let up, forcing a lengthy delay of the initial green flag. After track drying efforts concluded well past the original start time, the green flag fell just after 10 p.m. ET.
Newman rolled off the grid 24th for the 367-lap event with a competition caution slated for lap 30. Early on he battled tight conditions aboard the No. 6 before going on to finish the first 100-lap stage in 19th.
Following the team’s third pit stop of the night in the first stage break, Newman lined back up 20th for the second 100-lap segment. 30 laps into the run the yellow was displayed when the No. 41 machine made contact with Newman, spinning him out while running 19th. He would lose a lap in the spin, forcing him to battle back from a lap down.
After a 12-lap green flag run, he did just that and was awarded the free pass at lap 157 as the team continued to try and free up the No. 6. Newman restarted 29th with 38 to go in the stage before going on to finish 21st in the stage when the yellow flag flew three laps prior to the break.
Newman rolled off 18th for stage three at lap 206, and by lap 250 had worked his way inside the top-15, reporting the balance was starting to come around. After a green-flag stop for service at lap 257, stops continued to cycle a few laps later before the No. 8 then made contact with Newman, forcing a severe tire rub on the left rear. Just three laps later the caution came out at the right time as the team was able to make repairs and send him back out.
When the green dropped at lap 281, Newman was racing five others for the lucky dog spot, but the race would go caution-free for the remainder. Newman eventually made one final green-flag stop at lap 322 from the 11th position, but dealt with mechanical issues that the team had to resolve under green. He went on to record a 23rd-place finish, now sitting in a tie with Daniel Suarez for the 16th and final playoff spot entering Indianapolis next weekend, the final race of the regular season.
Race coverage begins next Sunday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC from the Brickyard. Coverage can also be heard on SiriusXM Channel 90.