After a somewhat rocky start to the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, things have been looking up for Ryan Newman.
Using fuel mileage to his advantage in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, Newman scored his best result of the season after finishing third. It also served as his first top-five finish of the year.
"We’ve definitely been building," said Newman after Saturday night’s race. "We started the season off decent but not where we wanted to be or where we thought we should’ve been, but been building on it. I think the cars have gotten better, the engines have gotten better. We’ve been more competitive."
With just eight races to go before the Chase cutoff, his sixth top-10 finish of the year gives the No. 31 team a boost of confidence heading into the next two races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"Leading into this stretch of races, especially where we are in the Chase … to have good points tonight even though it wasn’t a win, is a small victory in itself," he said.
Despite a successful night, the Richard Childress Racing driver knows there is more to accomplish if he wants to secure a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
And good points days have been paying off for Newman, as he is now 12th in the points standings after Kentucky, 34 points ahead of 16th-place driver Trevor Bayne.
"We’ve still got some more work to do," Newman said. "We’re not leading a bunch of laps or leading the most laps in a given race and talking about how we didn’t win. We’re talking about how we can finish in the top five."