Turner Motorsports welcomed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) driver Ryan Newman behind the wheel of the No.30 Great Clips Chevrolet Impala this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Making his third career start at the 1.5-mile oval and first start of the 2012 season for Turner Motorsports, Newman was poised to bring the team a solid finish. While running solidly in the top-10 just past the half-way point in the event, Newman’s night took a turn for the worse. The team suffered multiple issues with the car’s right front tire during the O’Reilly’s Challenge. Newman battled hard to bring the No.30 Great Clips car home with a 19th-place finish.
Much of Friday’s practice sessions were spent working on the handling of the Great Clips machine. With 30 minutes remaining in Friday’s final practice session, Newman radioed into the Turner Motorsports crew.
“I think we found something, that’s a good balance for the race.”
Satisfied with where the race car was at, Newman qualified in the 12th spot for Saturday evenings O’Reilly’s Challenge.
The 43-car field was anxious to see the green flag displayed and just when that happened, Newman was forced to the top groove, three wide. When the field settled into a rhythm, Newman held onto the 12th running spot. Working on running consistent times with the top-10, it appeared the cars were dropping back to him. On lap 12, the first yellow flag flew, slowing the field for a competitor brushing the outside retaining wall. During the caution period, Crew Chief Mike Hillman, Jr. discussed possible pit strategy with Newman. The plan was to bring the No.30 Great Clips Impala down pit road if half or more of the cars running in front of him dove down pit lane. With the crew up on the wall, many of the top-10 cars looked as if they were going to stop until a last second audible kept Newman on the track. Running in the 13th spot on the restart, Newman made quick work, gaining two positions in one lap.
Continuing to stalk the top-10, Newman was battling a tight race car which forced him to run the top groove. The opportunity for the Great Clips team to work on the car came on lap 44 when a debris caution slowed the field once again. Newman brought the car down pit road for the first time of the event taking four Goodyear Eagle tires, Sunoco fuel as well as an spring rubber change. After a lengthy pit stop, the No.30 of Newman dropped back to 16th in the running order. By lap 61, he radioed back into the crew that the car had freed up, and this time, was looking for a little more security entering the corners of the 1.5-mile oval. Just shy of the half-way mark in the race, Newman brought the Chevrolet Impala back down pit road for tires and fuel along with an air pressure adjustment in the left rear tire. A very quick stop by the Great Clips crew catapulted Newman up to the top-10 for the restart on lap 89. Newman got up on the wheel and was picking off positions one-by-one moving up to the eighth running spot before stalling out.
It was on lap 125, that Newman’s night took a turn for a worse when he quickly radioed in to the crew.
“I think I have a right front tire going down,” he reported.
The crew reacted quickly and sprung into action when Newman brought the car down pit road. This misfortune put Newman back in the running order, where the only thing that could save the night was a quick yellow flag to level the playing field. Unfortunately that yellow flag wouldn’t come for another 30 laps. In an effort to get an advantage on the field, Newman, Hillman Jr. and the crew took a gamble with a fuel-only pit stop which them back out onto the track inside the top-five. Being on older tires than the rest of the field, the No.30 Great Clips car dropped back to 16th before the second right front tire blew out on the Chevrolet Impala. Newman went on to hold onto 19th-place finish.
“It was a pleasure to work with such a great team like Turner Motorsports again this season. These guys always give me a great car to run no matter where we go; unfortunately we had a couple tough breaks tonight. The car was coming to us and I feel we could have had a solid top-10 finish for Great Clips and Turner Motorsports.”
Turner Motorsports PR