Monday, February 18, 2008

New Year, New Result for Newman

For two years, Ryan Newman went through mishap after mishap in trying to win his 13th NASCAR race. Crashes, bad decisions and pretty much every other disaster befell him during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. For 81 straight races, Newman failed to step into the winner's circle, and after four straight years of finishing no worse than 7th in the NEXTEL standings, Newman found himself out of "the Chase" to determine the overall champion.

With one lap to go yesterday, Newman sat in third place behind Tony Stewart. Stewart too was looking for his first win at Daytona. Stewart had help in the form of teammate Kyle Busch, while Newman was being pushed along by Kyle's brother Kurt. Stewart made what would prove to be a fatal mistake as he took the low line about midway through the final lap. Kyle Busch lost touch with Stewart for just enough time to give Newman an advantage. Newman came in first, while Kurt Busch would finish second with Stewart relegated to a disappointing third place finish.

Though I'm not really a big Newman fan (I was pulling for Stewart once my Hendrick guys fell out of contention), it was nice to see him get his first Daytona 500 win. In winning at Daytona, he's accomplished every NASCAR driver's dream. With the win, he's adjusted his sights on the season and now wants to win the season championship. First things first though, he hasn't made the Chase in two years, so he'll need to be a lot more consistent if he wants to make the Chase and ultimately get to his goal.


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