Ryan Newman was a push away from contending for the win in Thursday night’s opening duel before finishing third in his Koch Industries Ford Mustang. With a strong showing throughout the race and a third-place result, Newman will line up seventh for Sunday’s Daytona 500.
“Our Koch Industries Ford was good,” Newman said following the 60-lap qualifying race. “I’m really proud of the guys. They brought a really good piece here and keeping it in one piece was one of the goals. Obviously, you want to win, but the big one is on Sunday. We had great execution by everybody at Ford to have a good, strong finish there. I think we had the top four cars and it’s something to look forward to for the 500.”
Newman – the 2008 winner of the Great American Race – was up front early and often after rolling off eighth, taking the race lead by the first caution at lap 30. Green-flag stops began to cycle by lap 25, when two cars collided at pit road entrance as a team of Ford Performance machines were hitting pit road. Newman got around the outside unscathed, inheriting the lead for the caution break.
After four tires and fuel under the yellow, Newman lined back up in the third position for the restart at lap 37. The remainder of the race stayed green, with Newman dominating the outside lane advantage coming to the stripe, and finishing a close third to two Ford Performance teammates.
Coverage for Sunday’s Daytona 500 gets underway at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX. The race can also be heard on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90.