By Ryan Newman, Special to NASCAR.COM
September 14, 2012 9:05 AM, EDT
I'm not going to lie to you -- when the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet was at the front of the field on Saturday night (or maybe it was Sunday morning at that point) at Richmond -- I was praying for the rains to come.
It's not often the case but, if it would have rained at Richmond while we were in the lead, it would have been the proverbial perfect storm. We would have won the race and made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and [Tony] Stewart would have finished second, and who knows what could have happened over the next 10 races.
But that's not how it happened, and we finished eighth and missed the Chase.
As disappointed as all of us who are a part of the No. 39 team feel about missing the Chase this season, we still have work to do, and that work starts now. Although we are not in the Chase, there are still 10 races for us to prove how good of a team we are.
And our goal remains the same as always -- to win every race.
Now, we all know each of the 43 cars on the track have that goal each weekend. And we all know we can't win every single race. What I mean is, we want to make sure we put ourselves in position every week to race for the win or get the very best finish we can get.
While I will do everything I can to help out my teammate Tony Stewart and our organization to win a second straight championship, I'm still 100 percent focused on getting the No. 39 team and our sponsors into Victory Lane. There are a lot of them who are still looking for their first win on our car, like Quicken Loans, Aspen Dental, WIX Filters and even Haas Automation.
When it's all said and done and the checkered flag flies at the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, we would like to finish the season 13th in points. That would make us the best of all the non-Chase drivers and teams, and I believe we can do just that.
I think it would be pretty cool to see the No. 39 car up there in contention every week with the Chase competitors. And I definitely believe that having a solid run in the final 10 races this year would be huge for our team as we move into the 2013 season.
So, while making the Chase didn't go as we had hoped, I did have some good news last week -- that I will be back with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2013. I'm really proud to be back with the No. 39 team. I feel like we've built something solid over the past four seasons and I'm looking forward to making it even better.
Hopefully, we can get the ball rolling in that direction this weekend at Chicago.
Behind the Wheel with Ryan Newman runs twice a month on NASCAR.COM as he shares his experiences throughout the season, both at and away from the track. Follow him on Twitter at @RyanNewman39 and online at http://www.ryannewman.org and http://www.ryannewmanfoundation.org. The opinions expressed are solely those of Newman.
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