NASCAR Illustrated's Steven Levine sits down to catch up with NASCAR Next and 2014 Drive for Diversity driver Ryan Gifford .
Gifford will be running two Nationwide Series races this season
Drive for Diversity member Ryan Gifford shows the world that he is one of NASCAR's Next stars.
Ryan Gifford previews his first NNS race at Iowa Speedway.
Ryan Gifford talks about his first win in the K&N Series.
After 43 K&N Series starts Ryan Gifford wins his first race at Richmond International Raceway
NASCAR Next driver to run at Iowa and Kentucky
NASCAR Next driver had been suspended for pit road altercation at Loudon
Driver of the No. 31 glad NASCAR did its 'due diligence' RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ryan Newman admitted to being worried about a possible penalty when his car was ruled too low in the rear on both sides in post-race inspection following Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway . "I was worried because you never know what could happen," Newman said during the Eliminator Round Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "I was happy with the fact that NASCAR took the time to take the car back to the Tech Center, do everything and analyze everything." On Tuesday, NASCAR ruled that Newman had cleared post-race inspection after deeming that race damage caused the No. 31 car to be too low in the rear. UPDATE: The No. 31 car has cleared post-race inspection from Talladega; there are no issues. Race damage caused the rear to be low. #NASCAR — NASCAR Stats (@NASCARStats) October 21, 2014 "There's so many different perspectives there because they give us the rear springs, they give us the shocks," Newman said. "It's not our stuff that we have at every other racetrack. In the end, they saw that the damage from being hit from behind was enough to knock the back of the car down enough to take it out of its window. "I didn't know if there was going to be a penalty. I didn't know what that penalty was going to be. I was confident it wasn't going to be more than 27 points because that would be the biggest penalty for that type of penalty ever that I can imagine or have heard of. But in the end, you never know. I was happy that they did their due diligence in conjunction with working with our team that they understood everything." Newman thought the damage came from being slammed from behind on the last restart. "I think it was the 20 that actually drilled me really hard and it actually wrinkled the quarter panel, which shows that the body's moving," Newman said. "I never looked at the car after the race. I didn't expect there to be any issues, so I didn't analyze exactly what happened. In talking to Luke (Lambert, Newman's crew chief) he said the quarter panels were wrinkled on it, which shows that the clip had moved a little a bit and the body moved a little bit as well." Newman comes into the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in third place in the points standings and with four straight top-10 finishes. And the fact that he is quietly lurking hasn't gone unnoticed by his fellow drivers. " Ryan Newman is kind of quiet and has the ability to really sneak up unnoticed and gobble this thing up," 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski said when asked to handicap the Eliminator Round field. Looking forward, Newman has a win at each of the three Eliminator Round tracks: Martinsville Speedway , Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. Yet, Newman doesn't see one track that he is better at than the others. In the first go-round at these tracks this year, Newman finished seventh at Phoenix , 16th at Texas and 20th at Martinsville. He sees the return trip as the best chance for his No. 31 team, which is in its first year together with Richard Childress Racing , to show its stuff. "We're coming back to some of these racetracks for the second time together. Having new rules this year and a new team, we couldn't go back and say, 'This is what we did last year, let's try to make the car drive like this.' We're starting from ground zero so to speak and this is our first opportunity to work on the second floor as we go on around to these second races. "We'll just keep digging. Don't really care what other people think of if we should be here, if we shouldn't be. The fact is we are here and we have the ability to go out and have some fun and make the best of it." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation