Stewart-Haas Racing Michigan Review - Good Day for Newman and Stewart

Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman join NASCAR Hall of Famer Bud Moore and several soldiers in cutting a cake for the U.S Army's 236th birthday.
Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR
Both Stewart-Haas Racing teams left Michigan International Speedway on Sunday with top-10 finishes. They also found themselves near the bottom of the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, joining Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin in a group of four drivers separated by two points and making up spots eight to 11 in the points standings.

Newman finished the 43rd annual Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 sixth and Stewart crossed the finish line right behind his SHR teammate in the seventh spot. Both drivers are hanging around the bottom of the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with Ryan Newman eighth, 76 points behind leader Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart in 11th, 78 points behind Edwards.

The Stewart-Haas Racing crew chiefs and pit crews helped get top-10 finishes for both Stewart and Newman when they delivered mostly good pit stops and continued to make changes to the cars. Both were running near the front when the checkered flag flew.

With the added incentive of Newman’s first Father’s Day and a special paint scheme that not only honored the U.S. Army’s birthday but also NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bud Moore, Newman drove the No. 39 US Army 236 Birthday/Bud Moore Tribute Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish.

"It was a good finish for us. After our practice on Friday we really didn’t have much to look forward to but the guys did a good job of giving me a better U.S. Army Chevrolet and we fought back hard. We struggled a couple pit stops and we took two tires at the end and the guys nailed it and I got some decent track position and was able to hold on. So a good finish for us that we typically don’t have at Michigan and I look forward to the road course next week."

Newman was asked if a late-race call for two tires was the right call to make. "Well,” Newman said, “two tires just basically because of the amount of laps the other tires had on them. We did no tires earlier in the race and held them off a lot better than I thought they would. You never know. We just proved two tires could win."

Sunday’s race brought Newman his eighth top-10 finish of 2011 and his sixth top-10 in 20 career Sprint Cup starts at Michigan.

Stewart had a little more of a struggle than his SHR teammate. Stewart quickly drove to second but did not like the handling of the car and started dropping back. He had fallen to 16th by the time a caution waved on lap 84 and Stewart called for a big swing with his adjustments, just what the No. 14 Chevrolet needed.

"Yes, just proud of Darian Grubb (crew chief) and all the Office Depot/Mobil 1 guys,” Stewart said of his crew. “They did an awesome job. We weren’t very good at the beginning of it, but we kept working at it. Kept making changes and got us a lot better there at the end. We just needed track position to get further forward."

One part of the race that Stewart was not happy about was the restarts. "I’m glad we didn’t have too many restarts,” Stewart said. “Because everybody drove like idiots today. I lost a lot of respect for a lot of drivers out there."

But even with a car that needed adjustments and multiple restarts that were not always kind to Stewart, he was satisfied with the work his team did.

"I’ll take it,” Stewart said of his finish. “Can’t complain. We had to take some pretty big swings at it today. Really proud of Darian Grubb (crew chief) and all the guys on the Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy team. They did a real good job of just staying with it and kept fighting. We kept working our way back up at the end there, we just had to deal with all the weapons out there today."

The next race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule is the June 26 Toyota/Save Mart 350k at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
Stewart-Haas Racing Michigan Review - Good Day for Newman and Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Michigan Review - Good Day for Newman and Stewart Reviewed by Rosalie Thompson on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 Rating: 5