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Newman Ends Up 4th in Final IROC Race

Ryan Newman
Ryan Newman
HAMPTON, Ga. (Oct. 28, 2006) – Ryan Newman had no practice behind the wheel of the No. 12 red IROC car before Saturday’s final race of the season, but it didn’t seem to matter once the green flag dropped.

Newman started ninth in the race since he was fourth in the points. The starting lineup is deterimed by points, but the field is inverted with the standings' leader in the rear.

Almost immediately a battle began between Newman, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. The three were fighting their way to the front and on lap 8, Newman got in front of the other two NASCAR drivers to take over the fifth position.

By lap 19, Newman had manuevered into second, but leader Mark Martin had such a huge lead on the field that Newman was having a hard time catching the NASCAR veteran. He also was still battling with Kenseth and Truex Jr.

A caution on lap 33 when Frank Kimmel spun after colliding with Kenseth bunched up the field again, but on the restart, Martin still had a strong enough car to quickly get away from the rest of the field.

IROC mandates a caution during the race in order for everyone to obtain fresh tires. Saturday’s mandatory caution occurred on lap 40. Newman was in the third position during the caution period.

Another IROC rule doesn't allow the cars to switch positions during a caution period. Cars pit two at a time and if the car in the back finishes pitting before the car in front, he still must line up behind the car in front of him before taking the green flag. Therefore, Newman restarted in the third position.

Before the entire field could finish two complete laps, another caution occurred when Max Papis took off through the grassy front apron after getting sideways off turn four. Newman was fourth at the time.

When the green flag came out again, Newman quickly moved up to second and by lap 43, he was in the top spot. He and Truex Jr. battled throughout the final 24 laps, switching spots nearly every lap. Newman led 12 of the final 24 laps and Truex Jr. led 12, including the final lap.

As the cars came to the start/finish line on the final lap, Kenseth pulled in behind Truex Jr., drafting with him, which pushed Newman to the bottom of the track with no help. Before they reached the checkered flag, Tony Stewart passed Newman on the low side, taking the third position away from the driver of the No. 12 car. Newman finished fourth.

“We had a tight car,” Newman explained. “The first set of tires made the car tight, but the second set made the car even tighter. It was a good car, though. It was fast. I didn’t think we’d have a chance to get around Mark (Martin) at first, but I knew that someone would have a chance once we came in to pit."

Newman said he had a "ton of fun" driving the IROC cars this year.

“The guys did a great job on the cars and the series is just fun to be a part of," Newman continued. "I’m not sure that we’re going to be racing these cars next year, but I’d sure like to.”

Newman was fourth in the final drivers’ standings as well, behind Stewart, Kenseth, and Truex, Jr.

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