DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – I already posted by sleepers to watch for Sunday’s 61st annual Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) but one driver needs a special call out though.
My eyes are on Ryan Newman this weekend. See, Newman is a former Daytona 500 champion (2008) and has been a really underrated plate racer in recent years.
Other than finishing 22nd in last year’s fall race at Talladega, in his last 10 restrictor plate starts overall, Duels and Clash included, he’s finished in the top 11 in all of them.
In his last three points paying starts at the Daytona International Speedway, he’s finished fifth, eighth and eighth respectively. If you go back to his past 10 overall Daytona starts, exhibition races included, the “Rocket” has nine top 11’s.
All those finishes came in a Chevrolet though. Now, Newman has since switched from Richard Childress Racing to Roush Fenway Racing. Newman trades in the keys of a Chevrolet Camaro and inherits a new Ford Mustang.
See, Ford has won 13 of the last 18 points paying restrictor plate races. Through Speedweeks thus far, they look untouchable.
If Newman has had that much success in a Chevy, imagine what he could do in a Ford.
He’s actually showing us too.
He raced hard in the Duel and was battling for a spot in the top five. In the two practices on Friday, he was in the top five in both (5th, 4th). RFR has been at their best on plate tracks with both of Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s wins in 2017 coming on them.
Maybe this is the timing for Newman to get that 6 car back to victory lane. He’s a sleeper for sure, a solid one at that.