Ryan Newman finished 10th in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, scoring his fifth top-10 result of 2012.
Newman started sixth and was in the top-10 for much of the race, but never could get his car to compete with the likes of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne, who led most of the laps at New Hampshire.
“Our Army Strong Soldiers have to overcome adversity and solve problems every day,” said Newman, who won in September 2002 and 2005 and July 2011 at New Hampshire. “Today, our Army ROTC team did all we could to figure out how to get our car to handle just a little bit better. We were able to get a top-10 out of it, but we’ll look to complete the mission and win in two weeks at Indianapolis. We had a 10th-place car today; that was the bottom line. We just never could get it better. We got it better than that at times, but it was never consistent through a run. We just on average had a 10th-place car, and that is what we got out of it. Not a good points day for us. It was a good finish, a decent finish, but not what we needed.”
Newman’s SHR teammate, Tony Stewart, finished 12th in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet.
Kahne won the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 to score his 14th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his first at New Hampshire. With the victory, Kahne moved into the No. 1 wild-card position with seven races left before the 10-race, 12-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field is set. He has more victories than any other driver outside the top-10 in series points, as the final two wild-card entrants come from the two drivers among the top-20 in points who have the most victories.
Hamlin finished 2.738 seconds behind Kahne in the runner-up spot, while Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle and Newman comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were three caution periods for 15 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish the 301-lap race.
With round 19 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR duo in the championship point standings. He dropped two spots to seventh and has 618 points, 89 back of series leader Matt Kenseth and one point ahead of eighth-place Martin Truex Jr. with a 51-point cushion over 11th-place Carl Edwards. Newman climbed one spot to 14th and has 536 points, 171 behind Kenseth and 77 behind 10th-place Keselowski.
The Sprint Cup Series takes a rare weekend off before returning to action Sunday, July 29 for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.