Posted: 27 Apr 2011 09:23 AM PDT
Photo by Jared C. Tilton - Getty Images for NASCAR
RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond International Raceway and short track racing have only spelled good news for U.S. Army driver Ryan Newman.
In 18 career Sprint Cup starts at the .75-mile Richmond track, Newman has one win, five top fives,11 top 10s and an average finish of 11.4. His finishing record in his past four appearances at Richmond is even better with an 8.25 average.
Newman, whose No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet will carry a special paint scheme, will be looking to continue his successful streak at Richmond in Saturday night’s Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400.
Newman’s Richmond car will pay tribute to the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) and the men and women who comprise the specialized Army Health Care Team. The wording — Army Medicine — will be displayed on the hood and rear-quarter panels. The AMEDD logo will also be included on the hood.
“I’ll have a special U.S. Army car representing an incredibly dedicated and talented group of men and women who serve in the U.S. Army Medical Department,” said Newman. “We are inspired by having Army Medicine on our car and feel that we have what it takes to be successful at Richmond. Our record there over the years along with our performances at the other short tracks in Bristol and Martinsville have been quite good.”
The Richmond event couldn’t come at a better time for Newman, who is currently seventh in Sprint Cup driver points. After four straight races where he claimed three top fives and four top 10s, Newman experienced issues in the past three races where his best finish was 14th in Texas on April 9.
“On paper it looks like we’ve been slipping, but in reality we haven’t,” stated Newman, who has led 437 career laps at Richmond. “I felt we had a car that could have won both Martinsville and Talladega this season, but instead we finished 20th and 25th. We also had a car that could have won the Daytona 500. We were leading or close to leading when our car got shoved into the wall with three or four laps remaining. We ended up 22nd. I am both happy and proud about our performance this year. We’ve been a contender week in and week out and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be just as strong in Saturday night’s race.”
While Newman is looking for his first win of the season, which under the new rules would give him a stronger hold for a Chase berth later in the year, he would be happy to run consistently up front.
“Consistency is always the key to success,” noted Newman. “Don’t get me wrong, I want to drive the Soldiers’ car to Victory Lane more than anything, but we need to be up there in order to get that win. You don’t want to do anything stupid that could put you in Chase jeopardy.”