CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 29, 2011) — Just when it appeared that Ryan Newman was going to make one of his patented late-race charges, the U.S. Army driver found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as he was a victim of a three-car accident.
The incident resulted in Newman finishing a disappointing 31st in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newman didn’t get any breaks in the driver point standings either, he dropped three positions from seventh to 10th.
“We really wanted to go out there tonight and showcase the Army Chevrolet on Memorial Day weekend,” said Newman. “We fought hard like our Soldiers and never quit, but we just had too much car damage to overcome.”
After starting NASCAR’s longest race of the season from the 12th position, Newman struggled with handling issues almost from the get-go. The Army car was tight in the corners and lacked speed on the straightaways. A number of adjustments were made, but nothing seemed to click to gain track position.
But following a decision by crew chief Tony Gibson not to pit during a caution on Lap 295 of 400, Newman jumped to 13th place when the race was restarted a few laps later.
As Newman was maneuvering around the 1.5-mile oval, he found trouble when Mark Martin and David Gilliland got tangled on Lap 302. Newman got collected in the melee and had no choice but to drive his car to the garage where the Army crew made major repairs. When Newman returned to action in his hoodless car, he was more than 40 laps down.
“I couldn’t get the car pulled down in time and they (Mark Martin and David Gilliland) bounced off the wall and came back and got me,” explained Newman. “We were just a by-product of it. We shouldn’t have been in that position, we should have been out front. The U.S. Army Chevrolet was not good but the guys fought hard. Just got on the unfortunate side of an unfortunate accident.”
Newman’s teammate, Tony Stewart, finished 17th and is currently ninth in points.
The race winner was Kevin Harvick. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: David Ragan, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Regan Smith, David Reutimann and Denny Hamlin.
The Sprint Cup Series next race is Sunday (June 5) at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.