CONCORD, N.C. (May 16, 2009) – In his return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Ryan Newman overcame a loose condition and getting caught a lap down to the leaders to drive the Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) No. 4 Charter Chevrolet Silverado to a fourth-place finish in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Lowe’s (N.C) Motor Speedway Friday night. It was Newman’s second top-five finish in the series in his second-career start, both of which came in a KHI-owned truck.
“Ernie (Cope, crew chief) and all the guys on this Charter Chevrolet team did a great job all day long,” Newman said. “We had a really loose truck at the start of the race, but they improved it and I was able to get a top-five finish. I have to thank Kevin and DeLana Harvick for allowing me to have the opportunity to drive their truck again. They have given me great equipment to drive and it is pleasure to drive for them.”
Qualifying was canceled earlier in the day due to rain and the field was set by Owner’s Point standings, meaning Newman would start from the 20th position. Five laps into the race, he found himself inside the top 15, battling a loose-handling condition before the caution came out on lap 27 for an accident on the backstretch involving Timothy Peters. Newman came down pit road on lap 28 for four tires and air-pressure and track-bar adjustments to help tighten the truck’s handling before coming back down pit road for fuel on lap 29. He restarted on lap 34 from the 13th position.
By lap 60, Newman had climbed inside the top 10 and was running in the seventh position when he radioed into the crew that the truck’s handling was beginning to improve as he gained positions before taking the fifth spot on lap 73.
On lap 86, crew chief Ernie Cope called Newman down pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop to take fuel. As Newman drove off pit road, the caution came out for an accident on the backstretch involving race leaders Colin Braun, Kyle Busch and the lapped truck of Brian Scott. Because he had not crossed the pit-exit line, Newman was at the tail-end of the lead lap when the leaders came to pit road on the next lap. Finishing his pit sequence, he came back down pit road and took four tires on the next lap and restarted from the 13th position on lap 95. He was able to stay in front of the leaders when the caution came out on lap 96 and was able to catch up to the lead pack, gaining two spots in the process.
From the lap 101 restart, Newman drove back into the top five, finishing fourth behind his KHI-teammate and race winner, Ron Hornaday. Rounding out the top five were Busch, Matt Crafton, Newman and Terry Cook.
The Truck Series returns to competition on May 29 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway for the AAA Insurance 200.
Date: May 15, 2009
Track: Lowe’s (N.C.) Motor Speedway
Event Name: North Carolina Education Lottery 200
Race length: 134 laps/200 miles