Bold strategy at Bristol Motor Speedway earns Newman valuable stage points to stay above playoff cutline

Ryan Newman’s 11th place finish at the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway meant the Roush Fenway driver gained valuable stage points in the NASCAR championship.

Driving his Acronis Ford Mustang around ‘The World’s Fastest Half Mile’, Newman took advantage of a bold strategy call near the end of the second stage to stay out on track and surge across the line in third, earning stage points.

Combined with his 11th-place run, Newman picked up 34 highly valuable overall points to see him remain above the playoff cutline with only two races left in the regular season. It means that Newman maintains his 15th position in the points standings.

Having started 14th on the grid but dropping to 17th by the end of the opening stage, the key to Newman’s race was a charge through the field during the second 125-lap segment before a yellow on lap 189 allowed him to pit for fresh tyres and adjustments, setting him fair for the remainder of the stage. Further yellows dropping on laps 212 and 242 led to a tricky decision of whether to stick or twist and crew chief Scott Graves opted for the former, telling Newman to stay out on track. The tactic worked, Newman finishing a superb third after the second stage.

After a final service on his Acronis Ford under the stage break, Newman lined up 17th for the third and final stage and fortune then favoured Roush Fenway driver as a timely caution flag on lap 362 came at just the right time as, having lost a lap to the leaders, he took advantage of the free pass to service on pit road, finding himself 13th on the restart with 130 laps to go.

Unlucky for some, perhaps, but not for Newman who again pitted for fresh tyres and fuel after the final yellow of the night. He restarted his final stint in 10th and finally crossed the line a creditable, and important, 11th as only seven cars finished on the lead lap.

Motorsport Technology