Stewart-Haas Racing Review - Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix

Unlike the opening race at Daytona, both Stewart-Haas drivers left Phoenix International Raceway with top-7 finishes and a climb in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings after the Subway Fresh Fit 500k on Sunday, Feb. 27.

Ryan Newman finished the race in the fifth spot and Tony Stewart came home seventh. Stewart jumped from 12th in the Sprint Cup championship standings to a tie for third and Newman gained 12 spots to climb to a tie for seventh.

Newman did double duty at Phoenix and finished fourth in the Nationwide race on Saturday driving the Dollar General Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports.

Newman led Stewart-Haas drivers at Phoenix

Newman came into Sunday’s race with a confidence that came from his success at the Arizona track last year. He got his first win for Stewart-Haas Racing in the April 2010 Phoenix race and finished second in the fall race there.

The No. 39 Tornados Chevrolet did not, however, have the greatest pit stops Sunday but slow and steady improvements helped keep Newman’s car in a competitive position.

“It was a good run today for the Tornados Chevrolet, and a good day for Stewart-Haas Racing as a whole – we had two cars in the top seven,” Newman said following the race. “We didn’t have the greatest stops today on pit road, but we fought back and we fought hard and in the end it paid off. We got better during the day, and I’m proud of everyone on this Tornados/U.S. Army crew.”

Stewart had solid run at Phoenix

Stewart, driving the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, was leading with 25 laps to go after taking only two tires and gaining valuable track position. A debris caution, however, allowed the field to catch up with Stewart and the cars with four fresh tires zoomed past him. He went from leading the race to the seventh spot when the checkered flag flew.

“Once that caution came out, we were done,” said Stewart. “The two tires gave us good track position, but we took them under green and once that caution came out there at the end, any advantage we had was gone.”

Although a Stewart-Haas win was a distinct possibility late in Sunday’s race, each driver left the track with solid runs and good momentum heading into this weekend’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Ryan and Krissie Newman and daughter Brooklyn
Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

Stewart-Haas Racing Review - Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix Stewart-Haas Racing Review - Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix Reviewed by Rosalie Thompson on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 Rating: 5