Ryan Newman climbs Playoff ladder with strong fifth-place run

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Ryan Newman, driver of the #6 Roush Performance Ford, leads Erik Jones, driver of the #20 Craftsman Toyota, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on September 21, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Ryan Newman parlayed his strong run in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 into a significant move up the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff ladder.

Recovering from a lackluster qualifying effort, Newman finished fifth to climb to ninth in the Playoff standings, 14 points to the good over 13th-place Alex Bowman approaching the Sept. 29 elimination race at the Charlotte Roval.

“It was just a good team effort, good pit stops,” Newman said. “The strategy wasn’t a whole lot to it, just put four tires on, but had a good short-run car. One time we had a good long-run car, but we could never get both.

“I think that, if we would have had both, we could have ran with those guys (race winner Martin Truex Jr. and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates), but we were at our best probably when we were just holding good bias to a long-run car—but who would have known there were going to be that many green flag runs.”

Newman started 19th and was gratified he was able to drive forward in what he characterized as the best all-around performance of the season by his No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford team.

“Yeah, without a doubt,” Newman said. “The best team performance all-around throughout the entire weekend. We failed at qualifying. We got the car too tight, but, overall, just a great team effort to get the Roush Performance Ford a good run.

“What meant to me the most probably was just being better than we were the first race (in the spring). We ran ninth in the first race and qualified 30th or something like that, and we came back and showed that we were learning, and we’ll keep learning.”

Greg Engle