Story By: JACKSON MARTIN / ROUSH FENWAY RACING – HAMPTON, GA – Despite starting Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway from the 28th position, Ryan Newman would only spend two laps outside the top-20 at the 1.5-mile track.
By the third lap, the veteran driver had worked his Kohler Generators Mustang into the 19th spot, and would steadily work his way through the field to net a 13th-place finish in a solid start to finish performance.
Newman navigated through a wild start to the race, a harbinger of chaotic restarts to come, picking up seven spots in the first circuit of the event. A relatively tame first stage was interrupted only for the scheduled competition caution at Lap 25, and Newman picked off positions one-by-one to earn a 16th-place finish at the green-white checkered flag.
The second stage restart saw the top line with Newman and teammate Chris Buescher get stacked up behind the leaders, and aggressive maneuvering in the pack sent a car into the wall and an immediate caution flag. Both Roush Fenway drivers narrowly avoided taking damage, and maintained their positions.
The following caution was nearly as wild, with Newman making slight contact and dropping several positions as his team assessed the potential damage. The No. 6 Ford Mustang did not sustain any lasting impact, and Newman began his march forward once again. He would make quick work of the middle of the pack, advancing to 13th by the end of the second segment.
Newman began the third and final stage of the race from the 12th position and once again a caution flag flew quickly after the start of the segment. A perfectly orchestrated pit stop from the No. 6 pit crew netted five spots on pit road, and the valuable track position allowed Newman to restart from the 7th spot.
With the sun beginning to set at the track just south of Atlanta, track temperatures quickly cooled and altered the handling of Newman’s Ford Mustang. He worked his way through both the high and low lines of the tri-oval, holding onto positions through the long green flag run to the checkered flag. The last 101 laps of the 500-mile event ran green, with Newman ultimately finishing 13th.
Newman and the No. 6 team return to action next weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway for the inaugural dirt race at the half-mile track. Sunday afternoon’s race is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.