STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. – Ryan Newman was oh-so close to winning at Stafford Motor Speedway for the second year in a row.
Newman had just caught up to leader Denny Hamlin with just over 20 laps to go in the Camping World SRX Series opener on Thursday night. But lightning strikes near the track caused series officials to call the race early, forcing Newman to settle for runner-up.
“Oh, there’s no doubt I was catching him [Hamlin],” Newman said. “And I was gonna work on him when I got to him. And I think I would’ve showed him something.
“He’s a pretty savvy driver. He might’ve been able to hold me off, but I sure would’ve like to have tried.”
Had he won, it would’ve been Newman’s second SRX win in a row at Stafford after winning at the Connecticut track last season.
“I won here last year, so I got pretty good experiences,” Newman told Frontstretch. “It was a pretty special moment for me and my family to share victory lane.
He entered Thursday’s race looking strong as well — the Rocket Man was quickest in the practice session held earlier in the day. But Newman started dead last in the 12-car field and was only able to gain three spots in the first heat.
Newman took off in the second heat, though, jumping from fourth to the lead. But that was all the No. 39’s engine had in it though, as it blew up following the heat race.
“I knew it was hot, but I got it cooled down in the caution,” Newman said. “But the reason I got it cooled down was because there was no water left in it. It never spewed water out. It had a leak.”
In between the end of the second heat and the start of the main event, the SRX crew went to work getting out a backup car for Newman. Part of that process included moving the hood with the South Point logo on it over from Newman’s primary to the backup.
Newman started the main event in middle of the pack and fell back slightly at first before he began marching his way to the front. But that march was halted due to the weather just shy of Hamlin’s back bumper.
Still, it was a good points day for Newman, as he was highest finishing full-time driver. And now he gets another crack at Stafford next week.
About the author
Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.