It’s a shame that the most press Ryan Newman has received so far in 2019 is when he played a punching bag as Clint Bowyer approached his No. 6 Ford Mustang following the Monster Energy All-Star Race in May, because Newman, 41, has quietly had an impressive season at Roush Fenway Racing. He continued with another strong showing at Sonoma this past weekend.
Ryan Newman qualified in the 21st-position for Sunday’s Toyota Save Mart 350, but he didn’t stay there long. At the mid-way point of the 90-lap race, Newman had worked his way to the seventh position. The Indiana native would remain a fixture in the top-10 the balance of the race.
When the checkered flag was thrown into the air, Newman had finished a solid seventh. This marks his second-consecutive top-10 finish and his fifth top-10 through 16 starts in 2019. According to Newman, it’s a credit to his race team that the No. 6 car ended up as high in the finishing order as it did.
“We had good strategy and good pit road, good everything,” Newman explained. “We just didn’t quite have the speed today to be able to get up there and pass those guys that were in the front today.”
NASCAR has mandated side windows to be installed in the cars at road courses this season — something that hadn’t been the norm in years past. That being said, things were quite hot inside the cockpits in Sonoma, and after climbing from his car Newman looked a bit heated.
“I just got really light headed when I got out,” Newman said. “Other than that I feel alright.”
With his solid finish, Newman has worked his way into the 16th position in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship standings, which means he is in the thick of a battle for a Playoff berth. While Newman is starting to flourish, his teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has begun to flounder.
Stenhouse has just two top-10 finishes to this point in the season and has sputtered to 20th in the point standings. Stenhouse finished 21st this weekend in Sonoma.
Looking at Stenhouse’s performance should do nothing but bolster people’s opinion on Newman’s season. Roush Fenway Racing wasn’t expected to perform at an ultra-high level this season, but Newman is quickly out pacing any expectations that the vast majority of the sport had when he announced his move to the No. 6 team this past season, and he very well may claw himself into another post-season championship chase.