Newman on outside of Chase spot

Ryan Newman is about out of time to make the Chase field.

Newman is 15th in the standings, 118 points behind Clint Bowyer

for the final spot with two races left to qualify for the

12-driver, 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Jamie

McMurray is 13th – 100 points behind Bowyer – and Mark Martin is

14th – 101 points back – heading into the race Sunday night at

Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The field well be set after the Sept. 11 race at Richmond.

”It’s a legit shot,” Newman said, ”But it’s not the shot we

would have preferred.”

Newman won in April at Phoenix International Raceway to snap a

77-race Cup winless streak, but has had only five other top-five

finish since, putting the Stewart-Haas Racing driver in the

precarious position.

He finished sixth in the last race at Bristol Motor Speedway and

will likely need at least that type of finish – along with some

misfortune from the drivers ahead of him – to get to 12th. He won’t

use previous success as a guide the next two weeks. Newman has one

career win and six top fives in 34 career races at Atlanta and

Richmond.

If the pressure is building inside the No. 39, Newman won’t show

it on the outside.

”I don’t change the way I race because of it. I don’t change my

approach,” Newman said.

He sure won’t change his car, although it was tempting to pluck

one of the more than 60 racing sports cars Wednesday on his tour at

a Philadelphia museum. Newman, a classic car collector, showed

great appreciation and knowledge at the Simeone Foundation

Automotive Museum. The museum boasts it has the ”rarest and most

significant racing sports cars ever built.”

”You’ve got the sickness, too,” a smiling Newman said to

collector, retired neurosurgeon Frederick Simeone.

Simeone led Newman on a tour of cars that range from a 1909

American Underslung to a 2002 NASCAR Dyno Mule. A curious Newman

took a closer peek at the tire on one of the cars. Yup, that was a

Penske Alltel Dodge marking on the rear passenger tire – one Newman

identified on his own, likely from the 2000 or 2001 season with

Roger Penske Racing.

He perked up when he saw a Triumph TR5 – a 1974 Triumph TR6 was

his first car.

”Anyone can have a ’57 Chevy,” Newman said.

Newman rattled off a list of antique cars he keeps at his

personal garage, like a 1928 Ford Roadster. Not exactly the kind of

car that can win Daytona, which Newman has done, these days.

Newman would love to add his 2008 Daytona 500 winning car to his

collection.

”I think R.P. is going to have controlling interest in that one

for a while,” Newman said. ”Hopefully at some point in my career,

I can acquire it.”

The site of his biggest career win may have derailed his Chase

chances this season. He was 34th and 26th at Daytona this season

and 35th at Talladega. Newman says throw out the three

restrictor-plate races and he’s jostling down the stretch for a

high seed in the Chase and not a long shot at making the field.

Newman also said he hasn’t spoken to Joey Logano since the two

drivers tangled on the track at Michigan International

Speedway.

Logano’s car got loose and tapped the left rear fender of

Newman’s car, causing Newman to spin out with 53 laps remaining.

Newman confronted Logano after the race, but NASCAR officials

stepped in before the situation escalated.

”When somebody crashes you and tells you you’re to blame,

that’s the end of the story,” Newman said. ”What else do you say?

… When somebody crashes you, you just say, ‘Hey man I’m sorry. I

didn’t mean to get into you.’ He never said that.”