Sitting Inside the Playoff Standings, No. 6 Team looks to Bristol
CONCORD, N.C. (Aug 15, 2019) – Ryan Newman’s 12th place finish at Michigan last week pushed the No. 6 team to 15th in the standings, ten points above 16th and no longer dangling in between the NASCAR Cup playoff cutoff line.
Crew chief Scott Graves made the decision to bring the driver down pit road a second time during a caution in the final stage with 50 laps to go. Newman restarted 28th, but ultimately wheeled his way into the top-15.
“We had just enough fuel to make it,” Newman told SiriusXM’s Claire B. Lang. “We were on fumes for sure. It was a good strategy and a good call. We gave up some track position to come in and top off and it paid out four us. I don’t know that we would’ve been able to drive up to 12th and I don’t know that we would’ve had enough fuel even if we didn’t stop.”
With only three races left until the playoffs begin, clinching a spot is as crucial as ever. Especially considering the No. 6 Ford has not made an appearance in a run for postseason points since 2006 when Hall of Fame driver Mark Martin piloted the car.
“I’m just going to go out there and race,” Newman said. “We’re in a position where we need to win to get in. We need to win in the first round, the second round. If we win, it will take care of itself. That sounds farfetched, but I don’t think it is. I wouldn’t be here trying if I didn’t think I could.”
This weekend, the series heads to Tennessee to take on Bristol Motor Speedway under the lights. To date, Newman has two top-five finishes, 19 top-10’s and three pole awards. His best finish at the short track came back in 2004, when he took the checkered flag in second.
“I’m just disappointed that I haven’t won there yet,” Newman explained. “We’ve had some good runs, top-fives and top-10s but that’s not what we’re there for. We’d be nothing better than to lock ourselves in and secure a playoff spot and get some points to move forward and show that we’re a contender.”
As the end of the regular season nears, tensions rise. Bristol is a track where tempers flare and aggression increases. But it’s nothing the No. 6 team can’t handle.
“Bristol is the most physical racetrack that we go to,” Newman said. “The speeds are so high, you really have to be half a lap ahead of you in predicting what’s going on. It’s fun because it’s challenging and I enjoy it.”
Newman and the No. 6 team return to the track Saturday, August 17th at Bristol Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.