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Friday, July 15, 2011

Newman catapulted to 4th on restart

Ryan Newman comes down on pit road for a red f...Image via WikipediaI don't suppose I will ever be happy with rained-out qualifying, although once again Ryan Newman made a little lemonade out of the lemons he was handed. 

Starting in mid-pack last week at the inaugural race at Kentucky, it was painful to watch Newman have to start 18th. It was harder to watch his team struggle yet again with an ill-handling race car. 

The pain turned right around though, due to some creative strategy and skilled wrenching on the #39 car. Though not ideal, racing today has as much to do with strategy as it does driving. Fortunately, Newman gets high marks in both. 

While Newman has so much going for him, the one place where he definitely needs improvement is his relationship with Lady Luck. 

This week, she picked Newman over Jamie McMurray whose engine blew up just before Newman was planning to pit under green. He was running in second place at the time. The caution under yellow enabled him to restart in the top 10, with new tires and fuel. 

One more pit stop was all Newman needed. The combination of driving ability and strategy catapulted him forward during the last two laps to a well-earned, much-needed fourth-place finish. 

So despite the iffy beginning, the end of the race, especially, Newman's final restart where he overcame three positions in the blink of an eye, was a beautiful thing to watch.

Newman's performance was reflected in the points' standings as well, as he now stands ninth in the upcoming 12-man Chase to the Championship.
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