In the normal course of events, no one would put Ryan Newman into a corner. The veteran driver, who currently races for Roush-Fenway Racing, is known for putting a bumper, or two, to a competitor and/or making whatever car he is racing hard to pass.
He has also been known to exact revenge on the track when a driver crosses paths with him.
Such as the case with Newman and driver Ryan Blaney in the closing laps of Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. After some struggles in the early part of the season, Newman was solidly inside the top 10 and looking for more.
Blaney was also having a stellar day leading a race high 158 laps with 72 to go. Blaney was trying to charge his way forward when he came out of turn 2 carrying momentum. He slid up the track and clipped the front bumper of Newman’s Ford. The two cars bobbled with both sustaining slight damage with Newman seeming to get the worst of it with a scrape along the wall and rear end damage when he slowed and Chase Elliott hit him from behind.
After is was over, Newman was quick to put the blame on Blaney’s spotter.
“I told him if he’s going to listen to his spotter, he might as well just take the mirror out of the car,” Newman said. The he grinned. “Just cut me off on the back straightaway, kind of hurt both of us. But it was hard racing, I guess that happens at Bristol. It just sucks when it happens to you.”
Blaney was quick to defend his spotter.
“Yeah, I put him in the fence off of (turn) two on accident. I tried to clear him myself,” Blaney said. “Just racing hard on a restart and my spotter said he was still out there, but I stayed on the gas trying to clear him myself. I fenced him and I felt bad about that. He got me back. He fenced me off the frontstretch, so that’s hard racing.
“Me and Ryan have always raced each other really good. I’ve looked up to him for a long time, and it’s nice you can have a laugh about it and joke about it and not be pissed about it, so it was my fault. I just tried to clear myself.”
Both drivers seemed to be less angry considering their finishes. Blaney finished fourth, his fourth top-five result in the last five races, while Newman finished a season best ninth. His finish was hampered in part by a penalty after the dust-up when the crew was penalized for improper fueling.
“We had a car that was probably better than what we ran all day,” Newman said. “We just kind of got caught up there. Don’t know what happened with the penalty on pit road there. Need an explanation for that, but either way, good day for us. …
“I don’t know. I’ve put in a lot of work before and not gotten rewards, so just proud of the guys. They did a good job on pit road, even with the penalty. We’ll just keep digging.”