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Bristol Preview: Newman on the verge of playoff berth

Bristol Motor SpeedwayIt’s been quite a stretch since the 6 car from the Roush-Fenway stable has made the NASCAR playoffs.

This weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, the first year driver for Roush-Fenway Racing, Ryan Newman, is hoping to once again put together a solid effort and improve the 6 car’s chances at being in the final sixteen playoff spots as the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series regular season comes to a close with three races to go.

Currently, the Indiana native sits 15th in points, 16 ahead of the cutoff. Ford drivers Clint Bowyer is 10 back in 16th, while Bowyer’s teammate, Daniel Suarez is the next-closest in 17th, 16 behind Newman.

It is certainly a tight race for those spots with three races to go and Newman is well aware that a bad night at Bristol on the high banks could erase that lead quickly and force his back to the wall.

“We’re coming down to the wire in the playoff picture,” replied Newman.  It also “puts an extra emphasis on these next three races. Bristol is a track we feel like we can excel at based off both our run there, as well as the speed Ricky (Stenhouse) had back in April.”

Newman has a good track record at Bristol and the track is no mystery to Newman, who is set to make his 36th Cup start at Bristol on Saturday night.

In 35 prior events, Newman has 19 top-10 finishes with two top-fives and an average finish of 15.5. Newman’s best result at the World’s Fastest Half Mile came back in 2004 when he finished second. He also crossed the line fifth in 2015.

In the past 10 races at Bristol, Newman has only one finish outside the top-15 with six top-10s while capturing three career Cup poles. He led the field to green in 2003, 2004 and again in 2011.

In the 2019 Spring race, Newman drove his Wyndham Rewards Ford to a ninth-place finish in the April race at Bristol, scoring his first top-10 of the season. After lining up 11th, Newman picked up his best stage finish of the season of third to end stage two. He went on to restart the race fifth for a 20-lap shootout before finishing ninth, his first of three-straight top-10s during the month of April.

But the Reidsville Rocket is well aware of the dangers that lie in wait when the sun goes down in Thunder Valley.

“The night race at Bristol is always full of excitement and we’re ready to unload in our Acronis Ford to see what we can do.”

The Roush-Fenway Ford will sport a new color and sponsor scheme under the lights of The Last Great Colosseum as Acronis, the global leader in cyber-protection makes its second appearance aboard Newman’s No. 6 Ford Mustang. It is the second of three races for Acronis as the primary partner on the No. 6.

Tickets for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race are still available. Fans can grab tickets at their neighborhood Food City for only $60 while buying their race essentials. But act fast, in-store sales end at store closing time this Tuesday, Aug. 13.  A two-day weekend package is also available through the BMS ticket office, beginning at just $95. Visit or call 423-BRISTOL.

By Rod Mullins | Augusta Free Press