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    Kansas not kind to Newman, Haas Automation driver fights ill-handling car to 18th-place finish



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Turner 

    U.S. Army Accessions Command

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Ryan Newman struggled with an ill-handling car and finished a disappointing 18th in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Oct. 9.

    From the drop of the green flag, Newman and crew chief Tony Gibson battled to fix the balance of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing.

    Throughout the three-hour race, Gibson threw wedge, tire-pressure and track-bar adjustments at the Chevrolet in hopes of correcting the handling issues and, while the car's performance improved, it never was able to run with the leaders.

    The effort to move toward the front was hampered further on lap 128 when Newman came to pit road under green while in the 21st position. The pit stop appeared complete when Newman pulled out of the pit box, but only four of the five lug nuts on the left-front wheel were attached. Because of this, NASCAR officials ordered the Haas Automation machine back to pit road to add the fifth lug nut and the extra stop caused Newman to go two laps down to the leaders and fall to 28th place.

    Newman managed to get one of his laps back when the caution flew on lap 205 and he stayed on track rather than pitting. From there, he fought his way through the field to become the first car one lap down and, in position once again to be the "lucky dog" beneficiary, which gives the first car one lap down its lap back if a caution comes out.

    Newman got that break on lap 265 when Jeff Gordon's engine blew to bring out the caution while the No. 39 Chevrolet was in 19th. Despite his ability to get back on the lead lap, Newman could gain only one more position prior to the checkered flag on lap 272.

    "We struggled with the handling all day," Newman said. "It was pretty frustrating but I'm proud of how we rallied back from two laps down. Just wish we wouldn't have struggled so much."

    His SHR teammate, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Impala, finished 15th. Stewart was in the top-five for much of the event but slid through his pit stall during his final stop on lap 267 and fell out of the top-10.

    Jimmie Johnson won the Hollywood Casino 400 to score his 55th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his second at Kansas. Johnson is now tied with Rusty Wallace for eighth on the all-time Sprint Cup win list. The victory also allowed Chevrolet to clinch its 35th manufacturer's title.

    Kasey Kahne finished .548 of a second behind Johnson in the runner-up spot, while Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five. Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Marcos Ambrose and Mark Martin comprised the remainder of the top-10.

    There were six caution periods for 25 laps with eight drivers failing to finish the 272-lap race, which was extended five laps past its scheduled distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

    Stewart and Newman are both in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup and came into Kansas third and 11th, respectively, in the Chase standings. Stewart was nine points behind leader Harvick, while Newman was 41 points out of the top spot. Stewart leaves Kansas seventh in points, 19 markers behind new Chase leader Edwards. Newman remained 11th in the standings but is now 54 points out of first.

    With six races remaining before a champion is crowned following the season finale Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the top-12 drivers competing for the title rank as follows:

    1. Carl Edwards (2,161 points)
    2. Kevin Harvick (2,160 points, -1)
    3. Jimmie Johnson (2,157 points, -4)
    4. Brad Keselowski (2,150 points, -11)
    5. Matt Kenseth (2,149 points, -12)
    6. Kurt Busch (2,145 points, -16)
    7. Tony Stewart (2,142 points, -19)
    8. Kyle Busch (2,141 points, -20)
    9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2,118 points, -43)
    10. Jeff Gordon (2,114 points, -47)
    11. Ryan Newman (2,107 points, -54)
    12. Denny Hamlin (2,082 points, -79)

    The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule - the fifth race of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup - is the Oct. 15 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race begins at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ABC beginning with a pre-race show at 7 p.m.



    Date Taken: 10.09.2011
    Date Posted: 10.11.2011 08:49
    Story ID: 78303
    Location: KANSAS CITY, KS, US 

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