MARTINSVILLE, Va.—From 2000 through 2006, including five full-time seasons in Sprint Cup racing (2002-2006), Ryan Newman ran 188 races with Matt Borland as his crew chief.
During Borland’s tenure, the driver known as Rocket Man for his prowess in qualifying, posted 12 of 16 career victories and 37 of his 49 career poles.
Borland, vice president of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing, will also serve as Newman’s full-time crew chief next season, replacing Tony Gibson, who will serve in that same capacity on Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet next year.
Borland returned to Newman’s car for this week’s Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville and will finish the season with the No. 39 Chevrolet team. Together they hope to recreate the magic that made them so successful at Penske Racing.
“I think just attitude, probably, and work ethic,” Borland said Saturday at Martinsville, when asked to describe the qualities that buoyed his pairing with Newman. “Everything was about racing, everything was about winning, and everything was about that particular moment in time being the best you can be.”
Can they recapture that attitude?
“You never know,” Borland said. “Obviously that’s the goal. We’re going to do everything we can to get back to that, but a lot of the teams, that’s what they’re after, so it’s a challenge.”