User-agent: * Allow: / CH on Track: Ryan Newman soldiers on to finish Sunday's race

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Ryan Newman soldiers on to finish Sunday's race

It was really hard to watch the latter part of Sunday's NASCAR race at Martinsville, VA. 

Kevin Harvick fans are elated at Harvick's second consecutive win.

Followers of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. can certainly relish his finish, especially after he passed Kyle Busch for second place in a stellar move. In the after-the-race interview, Junior seemed disappointed at not winning the race. Who can blame him; he was oh-so-close? This is the best finish he has posted in a long time, so he shouldn't be as dejected as he appeared. If nothing else, he should be proud of that pass. He could have come in third. 

For those of us who follow the #39 team, our thrills were short-lived. 

It was on lap 328 of the 500-lap race when Newman radioed to his Crew Chief Tony Gibson that he was losing the engine. A short time later, Kevin Harvick got into him cutting Newman's tire, causing him to spin. Lady Luck didn't completely abandon him, as Newman was able to keep the car off the wall.

Numerous pit stops, both under green and yellow racing conditions to diagnose the engine issues and replace tires put Newman into a deficit situation that was impossible to make up without horsepower. He did however, make the most of his bad day, by completing the race and salvaging a top-20 finish.

Despite the early appearance of another great finish and perhaps a trip to victory lane, suddenly all bets were off. Newman's strong competitive nature had to take a back seat to a different kind of skill--to try to coax the ailing race car to complete the final lap.

Newman started the race with high hopes and great expectations. He had a great season so far. In five races, Newman finished all but one in the top 10. He finished three of those in the top-five. He was second in the points' standings. It looked like the trend would continue. He was clocking some of the fastest speeds on the track, hovering in the top ten all day. The crew was on their game as well, since Newman was able to maintain the track position he earned after pit stops. 

Newman seemed to hold a prescription for success going into Sunday's race. A good record at Martinsville, Newman has nine career top-10 finishes; three in the top-5. He started Sunday's race on the front row, qualifying second, just a fraction behind pole-sitter Jamie McMurray. It didn't take Newman long to get out in front to lead laps.

Until his engine mishap, he clocked some of the fastest speeds on the track. He hovered in the top ten all day.

A true champion is measured not by how he handles the wins, but how he deals with adversity. Newman has shown that he knows how to soldier on. 

Newman lost four spots to sixth in the points standings, but only 16 points behind leader, Kyle Busch. 

My thanks to Jerry Connor for the photo