[media-credit id=43 align=”alignright” width=”213″][/media-credit]Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, went from ‘Rocket Man’, qualifying on the pole for the start of the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 to ‘Magic Man’, scoring his first win of the season at the Magic Mile.
This was Newman’s 15th victory in 351 NASCAR Cup races and with the win, the 33 year old driver became the 13th different race winner this season. This is, however, Newman’s second win of the weekend, as he also scored the victory in the Whelen Modified Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Ryan Newman also made magic for his team, Stewart-Haas Racing, as his teammate and owner, Tony Stewart finished right behind him in second. This was the first time ever that Stewart-Haas Racing, which started first and second in the race, took the checkered flag in the first and second position as well.
Newman dedicated the race not only to the soldiers but also to his grandfather. In fact, he became very emotional in victory lane as he acknowledged both in celebration of his win.
“This one is for the soldiers and the U.S. Army,” Newman said. “Thank you guys.”
“I want to dedicate this to a good friend of mine who we lost 14 years ago this weekend,” Newman said. “That was my grandfather. It’s sentimental for many reasons.”
“It was a great day for Stewart-Haas Racing.”
It was all about family in Victory Lane for the Newman family, with his dad, wife Krissie and daughter Brooklyn joining him in Victory Lane. Newman’s daughter was definitely celebrating with both of her parents on the impressive win.
“We’re really lucky and blessed with a good baby,” Krissie Newman said. “And to have the ARMY on the car and for SHR as a whole to finish one, two was a great day for the entire organization.”
Tony Stewart, behind the wheel of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, scored his 15th top-10 finish in 25 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It is his seventh top-10 finish in 2011.
“One hell of a day boys — one hell of a day,” Stewart said to his team after the race. He finished just .773 seconds behind teammate Newman.
“I just needed a weekend where we didn’t do anything stupid,” Stewart said succinctly.
Denny Hamlin, piloting the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, took the checkered flag in the third position. Hamlin had to battle his way back through the field to recover from a lap 171 spin after A.J. Allmendinger got into his bumper, turning him.
“We got caught mid pack and we weren’t good on short runs,” Mike Ford, Denny Hamlin’s crew chief said after the race. “We ended up getting spun and were in the back.”
“We made adjustments and the car came to life,” Ford continued. “Denny did a good job staying calm in the car and it just worked out.”
“You always have to give back some track position during the day to be in the sequence to have track position at the end of the day.”
This was Hamlin’s eighth top-10 finish in 11 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, finished fourth and five-time champion Jimmie Johnson, behind the wheel of the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet, made an amazing recovery from a spin on lap 240, where he hit the wall on turn two, as well as a lug nut issue on pit road to finish fifth.
Several drivers, including Kyle Busch, who went into the Loudon race as the points leader, had tire issues. Because of the tire issue, the driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, finished a miserable 36th and fell to fourth in the point standings.
“Blew a tire,” Busch said. “There was too much brake heat.”
“I had a pretty fast car and we were getting there,” Busch continued. “But the tire wouldn’t take it.”