By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer
LOUDON, N.H. — Ryan Newman will be the first to admit that he hasn’t always liked New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but it’s been a good track for the veteran driver. Newman’s No. 6 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing will sport a new sponsor in Guaranteed Rates at The Magic Mile on Sunday afternoon.
“One of my tracks that I declared my least favorite about 18 years ago. Won my first race there and now we’re going back with a new sponsor,” said Newman. “It’s been a great racetrack for me, it’s a challenge and I’ve always said the birthplace of track position as we talk about it, but definitely a fun racetrack because it’s a finesse racetrack, flat.”
In September of 2002, he won his first NASCAR Cup Series race at NHMS. Since then, he has seen success at the one-mile flat track located in Loudon.
Newman recently elaborated on what he remembered about that first win so many years ago.
“It was a rain-shortened race I had virtually no brakes left,” said Newman. “I would run down the straightaway and Kurt Busch was all over my bumper. I was trying to lap the current point leader, Sterling Marlin. So, it was a lot of things, [a lot] of good memories, obviously, and to get my first win and that picture with the lobster and all that stuff was really cool. We had some victories in the near past from then if you look back to the All-Star Race and some Busch races at the time back in ’01 but the reality was that was a [pretty] special day and something I’ll never forget.”
Even if he hasn’t always cared for NHMS, it’s been kind to him. In 34 starts he has three wins, seven top-five and 20 top-10 finishes. His average finish at Loudon currently sits at 13.5 heading into Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.
Newman will roll off the starting grid in 22nd tomorrow afternoon. In 16 starts this season, he has one top-10 and eight top-15 finishes. He currently sits 26th in the driver points standings, 454 points behind current points leader Kevin Harvick.
Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo