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Newman ‘Quick’ Enough To Engineer Top-10 Finish at Indy

Sunday, Jul 29 3100

Ryan Newman was quick enough when it mattered most and scored a seventh-place finish in the 19th annual Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), engineered a drive to the top-10 throughout the final quarter of the race that resulted in his third consecutive top-10 finish.

“I’m from the Midwest and so is Quicken Loans, so it was nice to get a top-10 finish,” said Newman, who scored his sixth top-10 finish of 2012 and his second top-10 in 12 career Sprint Cup starts at the 2.5-mile oval. “I wish we could’ve gotten them a win. We finally got good track position there toward the end and we were able to keep it. The Quicken Loans Chevrolet was good. We just didn’t have quite the speed we needed.”

Newman started 11th in the Quicken Loans Chevrolet and, for the first half of the race, battled a tight condition on his car. As is typical at Indianapolis, the track conditions began changing as the afternoon wore on and Newman’s car became loose throughout the second half of the event.

Veteran crew chief Tony Gibson tweaked on the car with a series of small track bar, wedge and tire pressure adjustments, but it was his last adjustment and some quick work by the Quicken Loans pit crew that made the difference when it mattered most.

After a caution on lap 126 for debris on the backstretch, Newman and the rest of the field headed to pit road for what would be their final pit stop of the day on lap 127. Newman, who entered pit road 11th, took four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment and exited seventh as his crew gave him an extremely quick stop.

Both the fast stop and the adjustment made the difference as Newman never again was outside the top-10. He managed to get as high as fifth on lap 142, but faded back to seventh by the time the checkered flag flew.

“The guys gave me a great pit stop at the end,” Newman said. “It was a fantastic stop and I’m proud of them. Tony Gibson made some great calls, as well.”

Newman’s teammate, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet for SHR, finished 10th to notch his 10th top-10 finish of 2012 and his 10th top-10 in 14 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis.

It was the fifth time this season the SHR duo finished in the top-10, and the first time since three weeks ago at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where Stewart won and Newman finished fifth.

Jimmie Johnson won the Brickyard 400 to score his 58th career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his record-tying fourth Sprint Cup win at Indianapolis. Johnson tied Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon as the winningest Sprint Cup drivers at Indianapolis with four wins apiece. Johnson and Gordon are also tied for second on the all-time Indianapolis Motor Speedway win list with four-time Indianapolis 500 winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. Seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher is the track’s all-time leader with five U.S. Grand Prix victories.

Kyle Busch finished 4.758 seconds behind Johnson in the runner-up spot, while Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Gordon rounded out the top-five. Polesitter Denny Hamlin, Newman, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Stewart comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were five caution periods for 25 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the 160-lap race

With round 20 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR duo in the championship point standings. He dropped one spot to eighth and has 652 points, 79 back of new series leader Earnhardt, and three points ahead of ninth-place Keselowski with a 70-point cushion over 11th-place Busch. Newman remained 14th and has 573 points, 158 behind Earnhardt and 70 behind 10th-place Clint Bowyer.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Aug. 5 Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.


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