BROOKLYN, Mich – Ryan Newman is just doing enough to get by right now. He knows the deficit his No. 6 Ford has to the cars that he’s battling to get inside of the top 16 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings. He’s driving for a team in Roush/Fenway Racing that hasn’t won a race in the last 78 tries now. He himself hasn’t won in his last 91 starts.
The teams he’s battling for a playoff spot?
Ryan Newman practices his No. 6 Ford this weekend at the Michigan International Speedway
Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports.
Despite that, here Newman is heading to the final three races of the Cup Series regular season with a 16 point advantage of the playoff bubble. In fact, he went from a tie for 16th to 15th in the points leaving Michigan on Sunday night.
That’s because the drivers he’s battling are all struggling.
Jimmie Johnson was pushing too hard to pass Clint Bowyer early on in the race and got into the Turn 2 SAFER barrier as a result. He had to pit for repairs of his No. 48 Chevrolet. Then, a few laps later, he developed another flat tire and had to pit again. Johnson, scored zero stage points for the day and finished 34th, eight laps down. His last five finishes on the season are – 30th, 30th, 15th, 19th and now 34th.
Clint Bowyer only scored two stage point and crashed on Lap 136 for a last place finish (37th) on Sunday. His last nine finishes are – 35th, 11th, 37th, 34th, 6th, 20th, 11th, 20th and now 37th. That’s four finishes outside of the top 30 and six outside of the top 20. He went from +73 in the points after Kansas to +6 in the standings leaving Michigan.
Meanwhile, Newman just minded his own business and brought his car home 12th on Sunday. It was Newman’s sixth top 12 result in his last nine races. Bowyer, has two in that same time frame, Johnson also has just two.
That’s why as we head to the final stretch, Newman may make it in while we could see at least one SHR driver and an HMS driver left out.