Ryan Newman is not known for taking it easy on his fellow racers on the track. The Roush-Fenway Racing driver is famous for not being the easiest guy to pass, and for holding on to grudges.
Sunday night at Darlington was no exception.
Newman came into the Darlington race 15th place in the standings 14 points above the cutline. All he needed was a decent finish. He didn’t get that arguably in part perhaps thanks to Daniel Suarez.
Suarez came into Darlington in the 16th and final spot in the standings, just 2 points above.
Newman was quietly running in the top 20 when on lap 142, Suarez, who was higher in the running order seemed to make contact with the rear quarter panel on Newman’s Ford exiting turn 2. Newman was sent spinning towards the inner wall but was able to recover with no contact and continued, although a lap down. He would later have some handling issues that may or may not have been related to the spin, but that forced him to pit under green about 40 laps from the finish.
Newman finished 23rd. Suarez finished 11th. After the race, Suarez pointed out that his car showed no damage from any contact with Newman.
“I didn’t touch him,” Suarez said. “As a driver it’s very, very easy to know that the guy behind you is very, very close and to feel that air, but he’s experienced to know. Once he sees the race, he’s going to realize that we didn’t touch. It was everything aero and just hard racing, that’s it.”
Ironically Suarez and Newman leave Darlington tied for the 16th and final playoff spot with just one race left to determine the field. And it could be an interesting race among the two for that final spot.
“I have to watch the replay,” Newman said. “They said he hit me, but I don’t know. He had me jacked up sideways going into the corner, so do I owe him? Probably a little something.”