Ryan Newman led coming to the white flag of Sunday afternoon’s Busch Clash that featured three caution flags over the closing laps before going on to finish fifth in the Koch Industries Ford.
“I am proud of the effort that went into it,” Newman said after the chaos. “We had a good Koch Industries Ford. We had good speed and the car drove good. The strategy was good. We just didn’t have the alliance at the end to get that push.”
The final restart – which occurred at lap 87 – featured just five lead-lap cars. Newman lined up second behind Austin Dillon and was shoved to the front coming to the white flag, before the duo of Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones charged forward allowing Jones to capture the win.
“I blocked the 3 car but I didn’t see or know that Denny had the 20 lined up and a freight train coming on the outside,” Newman added. “I knocked a left rear tire in blocking Austin. It was just unfortunate the way the timing worked out.”
Newman rolled off the grid from the top spot after a random draw put him on the pole among the 18-car field. With a competition caution set for lap 25, pit strategy came into play early as the Ford Performance machines elected to pit just before the break, but Newman stayed out. Following service under yellow and a speeding penalty, he would line back up tail end of the field at lap 30.
Following 17 laps under green, the 2008 Daytona 500 Champion hit pit road again – this time with his Ford teammates – for a fuel-only stop setting him up for the remainder on fuel mileage.
After a caution at lap 67, Newman lined up fourth at lap 72, but was involved in a multi-car incident at the restart line that caused some cosmetic damage on his Koch Industries machine. Following another restart, Newman avoided a separate 11-car incident that forced yet another restart. After all the carnage, Newman limped home fifth as his left-rear tire was going flat on the final lap.
Daytona Speedweeks continues Thursday with the Duels, which will officially set the field for the Daytona 500 (Sunday, Feb. 16, 2:30 p.m. ET, FOX).