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Monday, October 17, 2011

My take on Ryan Newman at Charlotte

While a Top-10 finish for Ryan Newman wasn’t quite enough to put him back into championship contention, it was enough to put him in the right direction. Saturday’s race at Charlotte put an end to the downward spiral that was plaguing the #39 team.

Newman and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.


Even so, I was hoping for just one more point so Newman could have risen two places in the points standings instead of just one. That was my personal goal for him while watching the race. I always want Newman to finish ahead of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in particular, because it would serve to level the playing field, just a little. On one hand, Newman is virtually ignored by the media and announcers. In fact, I have written about this observation in this blog, which received numerous comments. Apparently I’m not alone in my assessment. (See: Critics Just Don't Get Ryan Newman) In addition, I get really tired of hearing Junior this and Junior that as NASCAR announcers as well as NASCAR brass and friends of Earnhardt, Senior gush over any achievement, no matter how small by this favored driver. Not only is it not fair to the other drivers and other fans, but I don’t believe it is fair for all of them to put so much pressure on Dale, Jr. just because he is his father’s son and because he is viewed as some kind of NASCAR cash cow. I actually feel sorry for his being victimized by the added and unnecessary pressure.

Besides, I think Newman is a better race car driver. There, I’ve finally said it. Ryan Newman is a better driver than Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Take that Junior Nation, which I see as totally unrealistic.

Newman and Stewart

Newman looked unstoppable when the Chase for the Championship first began. His teammate and owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart came from behind and won two consecutive races. When Stewart got the pole for the Charlotte race, I was almost convinced that he and Newman switched race cars. I figured it was time for Tony to give Ryan back his car. Just kidding. I know what a great race car driver Stewart is, at every level of racing. I am just such a Newman fan.

Newman and Jimmy Johnson

Finally, when Jimmy Johnson wrecked his race car 16 laps from the finish line at Charlotte, the place that used to be known as Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Jimmy Johnson’s House, I was worried that the media would wrongly blame Newman for harming Johnson’s chance to win a sixth championship. I am so glad for video, especially after hearing Johnson’s first words after emerging from the infield care center.

“We got into Turn 1, the 39 (of Ryan Newman) was tight to my outside, and pulled me around ... from there on I was just hanging on,” Johnson said.

No Jimmy, Newman didn’t pull you around. You lost it and got into Newman who was simply racing for the position. The tape showed exactly what happened. Five times or not, you can make a mistake…

I’m sure once he sees the tape, he will realize Newman did nothing wrong. I’m just grateful for video. The media got it right this time and saw that Johnson was simply trying to race Newman too hard, got loose, and lost the race car. It happens, even to a five-time champion.

So now, on to Talladega. Oh boy! I’m nervous and excited all at the same time. Anything can happen at Talladega, and usually does.
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