Take a look at Chase moments five and six to see how Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman race hard to earn their way into the Championship finale at Homestead.
Get the latest Ryan Newman news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Get the latest Ryan Newman news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Recapping the day at Homestead for the three odd drivers out MORE: Full race results " Final season standings " Harvick wins championship HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- With 20 laps left in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, all four title contenders were occupying the top four positions on the track. Some of the hardest racing of the season had gotten them there, but only one could hoist the championship trophy after the nerve-shaking finish. Kevin Harvick survived everything the remaining three could throw at him, claiming his first title in NASCAR's premier series Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Ryan Newman , Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano came up short in the Ford EcoBoost 400 , but the varying paths prompted varying reactions with equal parts resignation, acceptance and heartache. How the three odd men out of the Championship 4 fared Sunday: Ryan Newman , Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet Sunday's finish: 2nd. Final standings: 2nd (previous career-best: 6th in 2002, 2003 and 2005) How it played out: The lone winless driver eligible for the crown started the farthest back on the grid, in 21st place, but steadily worked his way up the leaderboard to crack the top five by Lap 72. Newman benefited from crew chief Luke Lambert's call for two tires during the team's final pit stop, then inherited second place when Jeff Gordon pitted under caution with 11 laps remaining. From there, Newman fought hard but gave way to Harvick's charge to the front on the next-to-last restart, taking the checkered flag exactly half a second behind the 2014 champion in the team's best finish of the season. What they said: "I was happy the situation I was in. I mean, our sport would have been better if the four of us were on the front two rows, absolutely, but in the end I was one of the guys that had a shot at it, and I was happy to be in that position. But man, you live for the moment and you drive as hard as you can. We didn't have quite enough. That's disappointing, but like I said, it was an awesome team effort, and I think, again, this is a great race track to have a race like this, and I thought there was some amazing passing, and we don't get that at every race track. It was fun from my standpoint to come from where we came from this year. We started the season in Daytona getting spun out in the last five laps to being the runner‑up for the championship. It was a good rebound for us." Support system: Team owner Richard Childress has won championships before, securing six as a team owner with NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. But a win Sunday would have given the 69-year-old former driver his first title in 20 years. "It hurts. Now I know talking to Ned Yost last week how he feels, coming up short," Childress said, comparing his situation to the World Series loss for the Kansas City Royals manager, a close personal friend. Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota Sunday's finish: 7th Final standings: 3rd (career-best: 2nd, 2010) How it played out: Hamlin started eighth and wound up being the only driver among the ousted three to lead laps in the season finale. His race turned, however, when crew chief Darian Grubb elected to keep his driver on the track during the 11th of 13 yellow flags. The move gave Hamlin the lead in the 253rd of 267 laps, but the driver said over his team radio that he wasn't sure about the strategy: "I don't know. I thought we could have beat them on pit road." On older tires and with two restarts still to come, Hamlin held the top spot for as long as he could until Harvick stormed to the front with eight laps left. His car continued to fade, a top-five slipping away in the final few circuits. What they said: "You know, for me there's not one thing I would have done different. I mean, we brought a car that was capable of winning. I just don't know how to express it enough. Sometimes breaks go your way, sometimes they don't. They just didn't go our way. There's not much else we could have done with the strategy that we played with the cautions that came out. I wouldn't do a thing different. I think we overachieved greatly by being here, and we haven't had the speed to compete for race wins all year, and we did today, on the race that really mattered. Just came up short. You know, this is the third time around that I've had an opportunity to win a championship, but each one has been different, and this has by far been our best effort as far as going out there and trying to get it done." Support system: Hamlin had NBA legend and personal friend Michael Jordan behind his pit stall as part of a star-studded cheering section. But he also had Grubb thinking outside the box in an effort to gain track position. The crew chief led a team huddle at the back of the hauler, offering words of encouragement. Though he said he'd have loved a do-over, he wasn't completely faulting the decision. "Hindsight is 20-20. It's the wrong call. But, at the time it was the perfect call," Grubb said. "We were able to get out there and get the lead. We had, I think, 17 laps to go. We were walking away from them and the next closest guy with tires was in seventh, I believe. So, we had it wrapped up there and then two quick cautions are what killed us." Joey Logano, Team Penske No. 22 Ford Sunday's finish: 16th Final standings: 4th (previous career-best: 8th, 2013) How it played out: Logano started his day in ninth place and soon became a fixture among the top five. Though he found plenty of speed in his No. 22 entry, pivotal miscues on his final pit stops were his undoing. Logano lost some momentum after scraping the wall near the Lap 180 mark, but the bigger pitfalls came during the team's final stops. In the race's seventh caution, Logano lost six spots in a 14.6-second stop when a dropped lug nut caused a delay. Two stops later, disaster struck when the car slipped off the jack right after the crew had removed the left-side tires. The Penske crew fixed the issue but only after the No. 22 had spent an agonizing 49.3 seconds in the pit box. Logano rejoined the race in 29th place, slamming his fist on the steering wheel as his hopes for a first Sprint Cup title evaporated. What they said: "Unfortunately, a great season like that makes this overall finish fourth because of one mistake, but that's what the rules are. We understand that. This team did a great job of consistently being fast. In the previous years that would have been perfect. But coming into this race and the way the points go, it doesn't pay any more obviously. Just didn't execute perfectly tonight, and for that reason we'll finish fourth. But we still feel like we did a lot better than fourth this season." Support system: Crew chief Todd Gordon said he suspected Sunday's pit-road gaffe was the first time all season that the car had slipped off the jack. The level of dejection was evident on his driver's face afterward, but Gordon said that once time passes after Sunday's setback that the team will be able to relish the strides made in Logano's second year under the Penske umbrella. "If you look at the whole deal, all the work, there is a lot to be proud of this season," Gordon said. "Five wins and getting ourselves into the Championship Round are good things. I felt like execution would be the dictator tonight and we didn’t do that. That is the long and the short. We had issues and had them late enough that you can't recover from them. We had a few and we just didn't execute." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Ryan Newman talks about the disappointment of not winning the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Championship.
Ryan Newman , Denny Hamlin, and Joey Logano talk about the disappointment of not winning the Sprint Cup Series Championship.
Sprint Cup rookie will run tripleheader at Homestead RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Ryan Newman said he did what he had to do to pass Kyle Larson in the fourth turn on the final lap at Phoenix International Raceway to advance to the Championship Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. And, according to Larson, there appears to be no hard feelings. Through a team spokesperson Larson said, " Coming to the finish, there was a lot of cars racing really hard. I knew the 31 was right around me, and knew he needed to gain some spots to keep from getting eliminated from the Chase. It's a little upsetting he pushed me up to the wall, but I completely understand the situation he was in, and can't fault him for being aggressive there. I think a lot of drivers out here would have done something similar if they were in that position." Newman's 11th-place finish was enough to get him to the Championship Round of four drivers, while Larson finished 13th. The Richard Childress Racing driver said afterward of the final-lap move, "I kept it as clean, to me, as I possibly could." Newman needed one position to advance and was trailing Larson and Marcos Ambrose . In the final turn, Newman dived inside Larson and contact sent the rookie out of the racing groove, up the track and into the wall. "He did the same thing to me in a truck race for about $9,000 to win," Newman said. "To me, there's a Sprint Cup championship on the line. I kept it as clean as I could." As an interesting sidenote, in January of 2013 Larson shared this Throwback Thursday picture of himself and Newman . #ThrowbackThursday with @RyanNewman39 pic.twitter.com/owBdk4Nl — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) January 25, 2013 Larson will keep busy this weekend, as he will participate in the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series season finales in addition to the Sprint Cup finale. Turner Scott Motorsports announced that Larson will drive the No. 42 truck at Homestead with sponsorship from ParkerStore. The company will also be on board as a primary and associate sponsor for Larson in several 2015 XFINITY Series races. ParkerStore was a partner of Larson's when he was racing midget cars in California. "I am really excited to be reuniting with ParkerStore," Larson said. "To be able to team up again with a sponsor from back in my midget racing days is really cool. I think we'll make a great team. I'm really looking forward to working with them on and off of the race track. I feel like I have some unfinished business at Homestead in the Truck Series, so I can't wait to get there and see what we can do." Proud to have my first partner @ParkerStore back with me. Too bad this old firesuit doesn't still fit. pic.twitter.com/234rmsGVn5 — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) November 10, 2014 Here is the @ParkerStore truck I will be racing Friday night @HomesteadMiami . Let's get back to work! pic.twitter.com/Tt4qpKySUi — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) November 10, 2014 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Bruce: Consistency has put RCR driver in position to win a championship RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota HOMESTEAD, Fla. – When Ryan Newman qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup earlier this year, along with 15 other drivers, his inclusion in the field caused nary a ripple. The fact that he had failed to win a race wasn't a sore spot for most fans. He was one of three Chase drivers, along with Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle , who were winless through this year's first 26 races. No one said he or Kenseth or Biffle didn't deserve to make the Chase. But a funny thing happened on the way to Sunday's Championship 4 and the Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN), the title-determining race scheduled for here at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Newman and his Richard Childress Racing No. 31 team continued to advance without making it to Victory Lane. Biffle fell by the wayside early, failing to finish any higher than 16th in the opening Challenger Round. Kenseth made it all the way to the Eliminator Round, but couldn't overcome a 25th-place finish at Texas. Others that had won, either during the first 26 races or once the Chase began, eventually fell by the wayside as well. In the meantime, Newman clicked off just enough top-10 finishes (five) in the nine Chase races to keep himself in the title picture. Now, he stands one finish away from potentially being crowned 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. Without winning a race. And some folks think that's absurd.His competition has won races this season – Joey Logano five times, Kevin Harvick four. Even Denny Hamlin can claim one victory. NASCAR has never crowned a premier series champion that failed to win at least one race along the way, although the possibility has always existed. Four former champions won only once on the way to the title – Bill Rexford (1950), Ned Jarrett ('61), Benny Parsons ('73) and Kenseth ('03). Likewise, winning the most races in a given season hasn't guaranteed a championship trophy. Since 2004, six champions failed to win the most races in a season, but still won the championship. But, as others are quick to point out, they did win "some" races. Perhaps it's notable that following Kenseth’s title, officials rolled out the first Chase format in 2004. Winning had its privileges even then – each checkered flag during the regular season earning the winner bonus points used to determine how those in the Chase field would be seeded. Never were they "as important" as this year, though. Win a race, earn a spot in the Chase (as long as the driver met all other criteria). Win a race in the Chase, and move on to the next round. Points weren't tossed to the side, but they were no longer the golden ticket they had been for so many decades. Or so it seemed. Absurd? Or an unexpected turn of events? No one had any idea how this year's new format would play out. The only sure thing was win and advance. But what if you didn't? We saw Chase drivers win all three of Challenger Round races; we saw two drivers escape elimination with last-chance victories; and we saw non-Chase drivers, shut out in the first two rounds, win two of three races in the Eliminator Round. No two rounds were the same. Uncertainty was everywhere. Sunday, four drivers will have an opportunity to capture the sport's top honor. None faces a must-win situation -- finishing ahead of the other three will suffice, although that's a tall order on any given weekend, no doubt even more so with so much on the line. All four have earned the right, including Newman . His lack of wins this season wasn't an issue when the Chase got underway back in September. And it shouldn't be an issue now. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceVie FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Go all access with Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon as they both race hard in Phoenix to try and advance in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Ryan Newman passes Kyle Larson in the final turn to race his way into the Championship race at Homestead leaving Jeff Gordon out of the title hunt.