Sigh of relief for Newman

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 21:  Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, speaks with the media during the NASCAR Eliminator Round Media Day at NASCAR Hall of Fame on October 21, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, NC – OCTOBER 21: Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, speaks with the media during the NASCAR Eliminator Round Media Day at NASCAR Hall of Fame on October 21, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Ryan Newman said he didn’t lose sleep over the possibility of being penalized for a ride-height violation at Talladega on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean the driver of the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet wasn’t worried.

In post-race inspection, NASCAR deemed Newman’s fifth-place car was roughly an eighth of an inch too low in the rear on both sides. NASCAR took the No. 31 Chevrolet to its Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, where officials determined the infraction had resulted from race damage and therefore would incur no penalty.

Newman believes the damage occurred with two laps left in the race.

“I think it was getting slammed from behind on the last restart,” he said. “I’m getting going, and I can’t remember… I spent as much time looking in the mirror as I did out the windshield the last couple of laps, but I think it was the 20 (Matt Kenseth) that drove me really hard.

“It actually wrinkled the rear quarter panels, which shows that the body’s moved and the rear bumper was knocked in. I never looked at the car after the race. I didn’t expect there to be any issues, so I didn’t analyze exactly what happened.”

When Newman learned his car was too low, however, he was understandably concerned.

“I didn’t lose any sleep over it—don’t get me wrong,” Newman said. “But I was concerned about it, mostly from the fact of, if for instance we don’t make it to the next championship round, I want those points.

“I want to be the guy that can say he finished fifth because of our average, not because of our penalty.”

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