Ryan Newman opened the NASCAR Playoffs with a strong top-10 run Sunday evening at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, crossing the line 10th in his Oscar Mayer Ford.
“We needed track position but most importantly we needed to get our Oscar Meyer Ford Mustang tightened up and we finally did toward the last run,” Newman said following the race. “We still finished loose but we fought really hard with being loose all day long and this is not a good place to be loose. It is a challenge. I am surprised we were as loose as we were but we had a good car and made some decent points but not the day that we wanted to have.”
In a race that featured only two non-stage cautions, Newman worked his way into the top-five with under 100 laps to go, and never left the top-10 from there, picking up his 10th top-10 of 2019.
The South Bend, Indiana, native rolled off the grid 17th after finishing final practice inside the top-10 on the speed charts. Early on he battled loose-handling conditions in his No. 6 Ford, before finishing 19th in the opening 80-lap stage.
After firing off 15th for the second stage, Newman advanced his way to 11th by lap 100, before working his way inside the top-10 not long after. The team pitted under green at lap 123, continuing to try and fine tune the handling, before finishing the segment 14th.
Newman rolled off 13th for the final stage before the balance began to turn the corner. The first non-stage yellow of the day flew at lap 180 with Newman running 16th, when crew chief Scott Graves made a key strategy call to put just two tires on. The call allowed him to restart third at lap 185, but the caution flag immediately came back out two laps later.
He would restart third again before fading to eighth by lap 227, when he brought his Ford to pit road one final time for service. With the final 72 laps going green, Newman held strong and finished 10th.
The first round of the NASCAR Playoffs continue next week at Richmond Raceway. Race coverage Saturday night begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.