Ryan Newman might still have a few more good races in him after a fifth-place showing at Bristol.
Ryan Newman might not be the same driver who earned the nickname "Rocketman" in the early 2000s for his raw pace, but he more than proved he could still hold his own during Monday's Bristol dirt race. One might say that was to be expected, given Newman used to race on the USAC circuit before turning to stock cars. However, he wasn't really played up as a contender by NASCAR or the media.
Maybe that had to do with how many dirt "ringers" were in the field, or people doubting Ryan Newman in general based on his increasing irrelevance at the sharp end of the pack, but fifth place is a great showing for the former Rookie of the Year. It might even go a long way in helping him make the playoffs.
"That was fun, no doubt. It was a good run for our Oscar Mayer Ford Mustang and a great team effort the entire week," Ryan Newman told the media after the race. "I wish we could have had a chance to run the Truck race for Coke and Aggressive Hydraulics. I'm really proud of the effort, and a lot of guys got to see and experience a lot more. We got turned around there from a racing incident in Turn 2 with the No. 24 and had to fight back and did. We just didn’t make it all the way back to the front. We had a pretty good car. I would like to have seen what we could have done with some track position but I'm sure everyone else would say the same thing.”
Ryan Newman started the race in 14th place after qualifying was canceled, but moved up to eighth by the end of Stage 1. He then clawed his way up to fifth by the end of Stage 2, which resulted in quite a good points day. His finishing position of fifth was just the icing on the cake for an excellent points day.
While this top 5 result could well be a one-off, and Ryan Newman might not make the playoffs or even win a race this season, after the life-threatening accident at last year's Daytona 500, both he and his fans will be happy just to have days like these.