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Sprint Cup - Newman Race Report

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Fontana, Mar. 27, 2012: Behind the wheel of the No. 39 U.S. Army ROTC Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), Ryan Newman claimed a seventh-place finish in the rain-shortened Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. It was his seventh top-10 finish in 18 career Sprint Cup starts at the 2-mile oval.

“We were a little inconsistent today, going from tight to loose to tight again,” Newman said. “Even though we were capable of more, we’ll take a top-10 out of it. We worked hard all day long, just like our Army Strong Soldiers do each day. As always, we were honored to represent the million Soldiers who are stationed around the world.”

Following the green flag, Newman swiftly moved from sixth to fourth by lap five and ran third from lap six to 10. But handling became an issue, and Newman was forced to ride between the seventh and ninth spots leading up to the only caution of the race, due to rain at lap 125.

“We certainly made adjustments each time we pitted, but it seemed we just couldn’t get things the way we needed to,” Newman said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes. It was definitely not for a lack of effort.”

Newman and crew chief Tony Gibson opted to stay out during the caution period, and it proved to be the proper gamble as the Army team gained two positions in the final results when NASCAR unfurled the red flag after 129 of 200 scheduled laps due to heavier rain.