For the second-straight day, varying pit strategy was the ultimate deciding factor in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway. Ryan Newman had his Wyndham Rewards Ford in third position at the end of stage two, before moving on to an 18th-place finish as different pit strategies played out in a caution-free final stage at the Tricky Triangle.
Weather once again also played a factor in Sunday’s 350-mile event, as all three national series ran at the track before the NCS eventually got started after multiple delays. With the race slated to roll off just after 4 p.m. ET, lightning caused an initial delay before rain set in afterwards.
With an invert from Saturday’s finishing order – where Newman finished 15th – he rolled off fifth Sunday, with the opening stage set to run 30 laps. Once both weather delays were cleared, Newman restarted 11th at lap 11, before going on to finish 15th in the opening stage.
After service under the stage break, the 2003 Pocono winner rolled off 23rd for stage two. His second stop of the day came at lap 47 under yellow, when he took fuel only on the Wyndham Rewards machine. After restarting 24th at lap 50 with 35 laps left in the stage, Newman made his way to 16th by the time the next yellow waved at lap 75.
He again stayed out, this time advancing up to fourth for the ensuing restart at lap 79. Crew chief Scott Graves kept the strategy play going, as he again stayed out to fire off fourth for a two-lap shootout, where he picked up one position to earn a third-place stage finish, his highest of the season.
The strategy didn’t stop there, as Newman again stayed on track under the stage break, restarting inside of the front row for the stage three green flag. He was ultimately forced to pit road one final time at lap 97, before going on to finish 18th in the second of back-to-back Pocono races in consecutive days.
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway next, with a 400-mile race on tap for next Sunday. Coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET on NBC and can also be heard on SiriusXM Channel 90.