Flashing a never-give-up attitude like the Army Strong Soldiers he drives for, Ryan Newman secured a 14th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday night at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Newman, driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), had to deal with a “neutral” racecar throughout NASCAR’s longest race of the season, while having to battle through a hot, steamy Memorial Day eve.
“It was a pretty tough race,” said Newman, who registered his 380th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start. “It seemed we just couldn’t get a handle on the racecar. We made numerous adjustments on every pit stop, but all we were able to do was just maintain. All things considered, to come away with a top-15, was not that bad.”
The South Bend, Ind., native had high hopes coming into the 12th race of the year. Given the significance of the weekend, he was looking to carry the U.S. Army colors all the way into victory lane.
“We wanted to do that real bad,” Newman offered. “We knew what our mission was tonight and we gave it all we had. Every race we do our best to represent the more than one million Soldiers who fight for our freedom each and every day. I’m definitely proud to be associated with such brave men and women.”
After starting 16th, Newman floated between 12th and 17th for much of the 600-mile event. But, along the way, he had to fight a tight-handling racecar.
“I wish we could’ve gotten it driving better,” Newman said. “I really thought we might eventually have something for those guys up front. We kept digging deep, but it was like we were running in place in terms of positioning. I thought the guys did a great job in the pits, but I guess the car didn’t want to cooperate tonight.”
Newman’s SHR teammate, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy, finished 25th after a pit road collision dropped him off the lead lap.