Newman, Keselowski not concerned after Homestead practice issues
Championship contender Ryan Newman ended Saturday's first practice with the 12th-fastest time, but the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team faced a bit of adversity during the 50-minute session.
When Brian Scott lost a motor under his No. 33 Chevrolet, Newman hit a piece of debris from the engine failure. The incident broke the right front bead blower and damaged the front splitter of the car.
The team quickly repaired the bead blower and got Newman back on track to complete the session.
After the practice, neither Newman nor crew chief Luke Lambert were concerned about the potential setback.
"We hit a piece of debris," said Newman. When asked about replacing the splitter he simply said, "No big deal."
The team was in high spirits as they debriefed the session with team owner Richard Childress close by.
"That debris from the engine that blew up, a chunk of it went underneath the car, messed the splitter up and knocked the bead blower hose off," Lambert told FOXSports.com.
Lambert said replacing the splitter would not set the team back any, as they had plenty of time before the final 50-minute session.
"We've got enough time to change it," he said. "Honestly, it was something we were probably going to do anyway based on the splitter wear. It's not really a big deal."
Running 12th in the session, Newman was fourth out of the four championship contenders, with Kevin Harvick leading the session, while Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano were fifth and sixth, respectively.
Despite being the slowest of the four contenders, Lambert showed little concern about the speed charts.
"The car was pretty good," he said. "We tried some adjustments to shift the balance a little bit for what it was doing on entry and on exit. We got it close, but need just a little bit more, so it was a pretty positive learning experience. We're fine. If we get the balance right we'll be OK. Really, right now he's been searching trying to find the line he's at, get the car to run where he wants to.
"It's going to be such a different race than this right here. You can go out there and fool yourself trying to run lap times. It's all about getting the car like it needs to in the race."
Newman was not the only driver with issues in Saturday's first session, though. Team Penske's Brad Keselowski tagged the wall late in the 50-minute practice, causing a bit of damage to the right side of the No. 2 Ford, which was third fastest on the speed charts.
Walking out to NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying, Keselowski shrugged off the contact and the damage, saying he was pleased with the overall session.
"We had a good practice," he said. "Ah, that (damage is) nothing. Every car is going to look like that after this race is over. We have good speed. Looking for a little bit more. You're always learning, I can't really tell you what we're learning, but we're always learning. We're going to be good for tomorrow's race."
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