Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Gene Haas Foundation/Workshops For Warriors Chevrolet, led the two-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., by finishing fifth in the Geico 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. It was Newman’s fourth top-five finish of 2012 and his third top-five in 11 career Sprint Cup starts at Chicagoland.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet for SHR, finished sixth. It was Stewart’s 13th top-10 result of 2012 and his 10th top-10 in 12 career Sprint Cup starts at the 1.5-mile oval.
The Geico 400 marked the second straight race and the eighth time this season that Newman and Stewart have finished in the top-10 together.
SHR driver Danica Patrick, who is driving the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing via a collaborative agreement with SHR, finished 25th. It was her best career Sprint Cup finish and it came in her sixth Sprint Cup start and her first at Chicagoland.
Brad Keselowski won the Geico 400 to score his eighth career Sprint Cup victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Chicagoland.
Jimmie Johnson, who led four times for a race-high 172 laps, finished 3.171 seconds behind Keselowski in the runner-up spot. Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Newman rounded out the top-five. Stewart, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., and Clint Bowyer comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were four caution periods for 23 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish the 267-lap race.
Stewart is representing SHR in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup and entered the first race of the 10-race Chase seeded third among the 12 Chase drivers, three points behind No. 1 seed Denny Hamlin. Stewart leaves Chicagoland still in third, eight points behind new Chase leader Keselowski.
Newman moved up two spots to 14th in the standings with 773 points, 41 back of 13th-place Busch. Patrick is running a 10-race Sprint Cup schedule and only accumulates points in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
With nine races remaining before a champion is crowned after the season finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the top-12 drivers competing for the title rank as follows:
1. Brad Keselowski (2,056 points) +3 positions
2. Jimmie Johnson (2,053 points, -3) +/-0
3. Tony Stewart (2,048 points, -8) +/-0
4. Denny Hamlin (2,041 points -15) -3
5. Kasey Kahne (2,041 points, -15) +6
6. Clint Bowyer (2,041 points, -15) +/-0
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2,039 points, -17) +/-0
8. Greg Biffle (2,037 points, -19) -3
9. Martin Truex Jr. (2,035 points, -21) +1
10. Kevin Harvick (2,032 points, -24) -1
11. Matt Kenseth (2,030 points, -26) -3
12. Jeff Gordon (2,009 points, -47) +/-0
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule – the second race of the 10-race Chase – is the Sylvania 300 on Sept. 23 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race begins at 2 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m.