The month of July was just what Ryan Newman and his No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing team needed.
After struggling to find the top-10 for three months and free-falling in the point standings, Newman and his No. 39 Haas Automation team finally got things turned around and headed in the right direction by scoring three consecutive top-10 finishes in three July races.
The South Bend, Ind., native kicked off the month with a fifth-place effort at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway July 7. While it was the No. 39 team’s first top-10 since Newman’s win at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway April 1, it also marked the first top-10 for Newman at the 2.5-mile superspeedway since his 2008 Daytona 500 win.
He followed that up with a 10th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon July 22.
And then, last Sunday, he finished out the month by earning a hard-fought seventh-place finish in the Brickyard 400 – his first top-10 finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since his 2002 rookie NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Now, with the month of August here and the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship just six races away, Newman needs to keep the momentum rolling and turn his string of top-10 finishes into top-fives, and even wins, beginning with Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
Newman, who has one victory, three top-five and six top-10 finishes this season, is 14th in the Sprint Cup standings. And one thing is for certain – it’s going to take at least another victory to secure a wild-card spot to advance to the Chase and enable Newman to fight for the Sprint Cup championship.
Luckily for Newman, this weekend the Sprint Cup Series rolls into one of his favorite tracks – Pocono’s “Tricky Triangle,” where he has a solid performance record, including his first-ever stock car victory in the ARCA Series back in July 2000.
Since that dominating victory, Newman has gone on to build a solid record at the 2.5-mile triangular-shaped track with an average starting spot of 9.8 and an average finish of 12.7. In 21 Sprint Cup starts at Pocono, Newman has finished outside the top-15 just five times. He has two poles, a 2001 win, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s.
Newman & Company hopes to keep its streak of top-10 finishes alive this weekend and build on its momentum from a strong July. With the ultimate goal of securing a spot in the Chase, the team knows it will need to earn at least another win.
With Haas Automation – the world’s largest CNC machine tool builder in the Western world – behind him and on his racecar’s hood at Pocono, Newman knows he has the “tools” to put his No. 39 Haas Automation Chevy at the front of the field.