Describing his Brickyard 400 win at Indianapolis as a “dream come true”, Ryan Newman’s victory could not have come at a better time for the NASCAR driver who found out two weeks ago that there won’t be a spot for him at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. While uncertainty about the future remains a concern for Newman, he savored his victory as he carried out the tradition of kissing the yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his wife and daughters at his side. Jimmie Johnson was 2.657 seconds behind Newman, with Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch (in order) making up the top ten winners of the race.
Born in South Bend, Indiana, on December 8, 1977, Ryan Joseph Newman currently drives the #39 Chevrolet SS for Stewart Haas Racing. As with many NASCAR drivers, Newman made his racing debut in midget racing, winning both Rookie of the Year and the All-American Midget Series in 1993. With 100 feature wins and two titles, Newman earned a place in the Quarter Midget Hall of Fame, before moving on to USAC.
In 2004, by finishing seventh in points, with two wins and nine poles, Newman qualified for the inaugural NASCAR Chase for the Cup. In the 2005 Chase he won six of the nine races he entered, of which five were consecutive. With no victories in 2006, Newman finished 18th in points, and his winless streak continued through 2007, despite the fact that he claimed three consecutive poles. Driving for Penske, he won the 2008 Daytona 500, notching up the first Daytona 500 win for the team.
In 2009, Newman left Penske for the newly formed Stewart Haas Racing, and claimed a spot in the Chase, his first since 2005. He won the Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway in 2010 and in 2011 took the checkered flag at New Hampshire in the Lenox Industrial Tools, with teammate Tony Stewart taking second place. The 16th win of Newman’s career came on April 1, 2012, at Martinsville Speedway in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. Newman scored his first 2013 win at the Brickyard 400 – on his home turf.
Taking the checkered flag in the 2013 Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, gave Brian Vickers his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win since August 2009 at Michigan. Driving for Michael Waltrip Racing, this was his third career win, with Kyle Busch taking second place, Jeff Burton finishing third, and Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola in fourth and fifth places respectively. The top five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are (in order), Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
At the age of 71, Morgan Shepherd became the oldest driver to participate in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, and while he had started out with every intention of finishing the race, he bowed out after 92 laps. As long as a driver passes the physical at the start of the season, there is no age limit for drivers competing in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. There were no objections from other competitors to Shepherd competing, even though he was quoted as saying that when he starts hitting the wall or something, it may be time to get out. There were incidents during the race, but none caused by, or involving, this driver who has been competing in NASCAR for more than four decades with a good measure of success.
Following the restart on lap 238, Danica Patrick lost control of her car in a tightly bunched field and slid sideways into Travis Kvapil and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The incident was made even more newsworthy by the fact that Patrick and Stenhouse are a couple. Stenhouse finished in 34th place, with Patrick ending in 37th and Kvapil in 38th place. Patrick claimed responsibility for the crash, noting that they were bunched up on the restart and she was not sure if she misjudged the braking zone, or if the other competitors stopped suddenly in front of her, but in trying to avoid them she went sideways and caught the other two drivers, for which she expressed sincere regret. In a post-race interview, Stenhouse said that he had not yet seen the replay of what happened, but pointed out that crashing other drivers by accident was all “part of it”.