RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings BRISTOL, Tenn. -- It's a familiar scenario facing Ryan Newman as the Richard Childress Racing driver prepares for a two-race journey to lock in one of the 16 spots in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. At this same point in the season last year, Newman sat ninth in points and was winless with two top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He eventually earned a Chase bid based on his points position, then parlayed the consistency that got him a berth into a ticket into the Championship Round, where he nearly became the series' first winless champion. Following his 10th-place finish in Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Newman finds himself 11th in points, with four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes thus far this season. He's also still searching for that first win, which would guarantee his status as a Chase participant. At Bristol, Newman and his No. 31 team, led by crew chief Luke Lambert, once again did what they have become nearly the best in the series at doing -- taking a car that wasn't particularly fast and earning a top-10 finish with it. "We weren't the best car all day," Newman said while standing beside the No. 31 Chevrolet on pit road after the race. "We kind of finished where we ran, if not just a little bit better. "It was a good run for the team. We took a 20th-place car in practice and qualifying and turned it into a top-10 (in the race). We were not the best car and we didn't win the race, but the guys did a good job in the pits and we made the race car better." Newman and the team hadn't shown speed on Friday, working their way to 26th- and 18th-place positions during the first and second practice sessions, respectively. At the end of the day, Newman logged the 18th-fastest time in qualifying for the series' 24th race of the season. Saturday night, Newman slowly made his way through the field, eventually cracking the top 10 well into the second half of the 500-lap race. Not having that initial speed when arriving at the track has been a problem, Newman admitted, but added that it's kept the team close as they battle to secure a Chase spot. "Yeah it's better when you start off the weekend better," he said, "but that's what makes us pull together as a team, find speed and … fight strong at the end." Newman , RCR teammate Paul Menard , Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Jeff Gordon ( Hendrick Motorsports ) and Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing ) currently hold the five final Chase positions with two races remaining -- at Darlington Raceway and Richmond International Raceway -- before the postseason starts. Newman , 37, is a six-time qualifier for the Chase, with last season's runner-up finish to Kevin Harvick a career-best points finish.
Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman get into a heated discussion last year at Michigan International Speedway after contact in the Pure Michigan 400.
Photo credit -- Chase Elliott 's Instagram @chaseelliott9 RELATED: Series standings At only 19 years old, Chase Elliott already has a NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, is currently contending for a second one and has a pretty sweet job lined up next year taking over the iconic No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for retiring four-time Sprint Cup Series champ Jeff Gordon . Not only has Elliott's racing career taken off, he has too -- literally -- having just earned his private pilot license on July 23. And the view from above is something he's wanted his whole life. It seems Elliott got more than the racing gene from his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott , as he has inherited the flying bug from his dad, an accomplished and avid aviator. "He's been flying a long time so I've always been around it since I was little," Elliott said of his father. "I've watched him fly for years and years and been fortunate enough to have access to his planes and sit up front and watch him fly them so I've always definitely interested in it. "It's one of those things where the more you do it, the more you become interested in it. And the more you get into it, the more intriguing it becomes. I learn something new every time I fly. "It's definitely tough to (master all the necessary lessons). A lot of things come along with it. But flying is a privilege and something you can't take lightly ever." A lot of the same traits -- discipline, smarts and dedication -- Elliott put into his burgeoning racing career he used to earn the pilot license. He actually started taking lessons while still in high school but it was such a busy time between school, racing and flying lessons that Elliott put off finishing his license until a few months ago with the support of his dad. "It's something you work hard for to achieve," Bill Elliott said. "I see so many people who have gone through a lot of the flying part and the learning curve but never went on and got their pilot licenses and they always regretted it. I told Chase, 'You need to go on and get this done.' "I'm glad he did. That's something he'll carry with him regardless of where racing takes him." The Elliotts join an impressive list of NASCAR drivers who have secured private pilot licenses including Carl Edwards , Greg Biffle , Matt Kenseth and retired drivers Mark Martin , Rusty Wallace, Cale Yarborough and Ricky Rudd. Ryan Newman 's wife Krissie flies helicopters. Similarly, Elliott figures having the ability to pilot an airplane can be as much a practicality as it is a luxury. His father helped secure him a Cessna 182 single-engine, four-seater to use and Elliott is eager to start flying to races closer than home. Last week, he flew to Bristol. He has also posted a photo of himself practicing grass landings on Instagram. "Absolutely, it's a major convenience if you need to go somewhere, you can turn a four-hour drive into an hour-and-a-half flight," Elliott said. "Time is valuable for anybody and any chance to make up time like that is great." Elliott wasn't sure if he would fly himself to this weekend's XFINITY Series race at Road America , but he is looking forward to the stand-alone road race regardless. It's the third road course race in the last four weeks for the series and Elliott is one of the series regulars who embraces the opportunity to turn right. He is on a six-race run of top-10 finishes in his No. 9 NAPA Chevy and currently trails championship leader Chris Buescher by 23 points in the standings. He has finishes of seventh (Watkins Glen) and fifth (Mid-Ohio) in the two road races this year and finished fourth at Road America last season. "I thought last year was a good learning experience," Elliott said. "I was really pleased with Watkins Glen. I'm still learning on my end, but thought we had good cars this year and that's a big step in right direction." For Elliott, that direction is up.
Both drivers docked 15 minutes of on-track practice time The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams of Germain Racing with Casey Mears and Richard Childress Racing with Ryan Newman will serve 15-minute penalties during this weekend’s opening practice at Pocono (Pennsylvania) Raceway, according to NASCAR officials. The two teams received written warnings during this past weekend’s race activities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of the Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard. The warning for the No. 13 team of Mears was a result of qualifying inspection issues while Newman ’s group required additional trips through the inspection line during pre-race inspection. Opening practice at Pocono is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. ET. NASCAR began the process of issuing written warnings earlier this year to teams that failed to pass pre-qualifying or pre-race technical inspection twice during an event. Such warnings are part of the sanctioning body’s Deterrence Policy, which categorizes individual infractions (Level 1 through Level 6) for penalty purposes. Two written warnings during one event or a single warning during two consecutive events is considered a P1 level infraction. Penalties may include a deduction in track time for practice or qualifying, delay in the order of inspection or last choice in the pit selection process. Officials also said that post-race technical inspection at the NASCAR Research and Development Center for the cars of race winner Kyle Busch , runner-up Joey Logano and Kyle Larson (random) had been completed with no issues. Pocono is hosting the Windows 10 400 on Sunday (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
RELATED: Buy tickets for Homestead It's a primetime test time for NASCAR teams this week as many head to Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the Nov. 20-22 season finale Ford Championship Weekend. Four drivers will participate in a Goodyear tire test at the 1.5-mile South Florida track Monday and Tuesday with an open test scheduled for Wednesday -- NASCAR allowing each Sprint Cup Series team to be represented by one car. Trevor Bayne ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing), Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing ) and Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) are scheduled for the Goodyear test. With the increased importance on Homestead in the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup elimination format, as the track's host the final race that determines the series champion, teams will be taking advantage of the open test as well. Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), a winner last Saturday night at Bristol, is among those scheduled to test on Wednesday along with other Chase-qualified drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr . ( Hendrick Motorsports ), defending Homestead winner and series champ Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) and Denny Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). Ty Dillon ( Richard Childress Racing ) and Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing ) will also participate. "It's an opportunity for the teams to really dial in the tire and the aero package for '15," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Monday morning. "Certainly an important event for just about everybody in the series so they'll be going down there, working with Goodyear to make sure they've got the right package to be able to obviously share that data with the race teams and get ready for the final push that we see in November."
Sprint Cup veteran will pilot No. 8 Chevrolet in Toyota Tundra 250 SWM-NEMCO Motorsports announced Tuesday that Ryan Newman will make his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start since 2013 for the team this weekend at Kansas Speedway . Newman , a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular, will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet for team co-owners Joe Nemechek and Sidney Mauldin in Friday night's Toyota Tundra 250 (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). "As part of the Chevrolet family, we welcome Ryan Newman into SWM-NEMCO Motorsports to drive our No. 8 Chevrolet Silverado," Nemechek said in a release provided by the team. " Ryan has won in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series before, and will be able to provide valuable feedback for our team." Newman's last truck start was a third-place finish in the series' inaugural dirt-track race at Eldora Speedway on July 24, 2013. His lone win came in his truck series debut in October 2008 at Atlanta Motor Speedway . Newman's No. 8 truck Friday night will carry the logo of Rescue Ranch, a charity organization for humane, environmental and wildlife causes that he founded in 2012 with his wife, Krissie. SWM-NEMCO's No. 8 ranks tied for 19th place in the Camping World Truck Series team owner standings after three races this season. Father Joe Nemechek has driven the truck in two races (Daytona, Atlanta), with his 17-year-old son, John Hunter, taking the reins for the other (Martinsville). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
RELATED: Chase Grid post-Bristol No drivers clinched a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berth in the IRWIN Tools Night Race on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway. That means 10 drivers are locked into a postseason spot, provided they attempt to qualify for the two remaining regular-season races. Here's a look at the bubble for the six available Chase spots. 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Already clinched: Jimmie Johnson , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Joey Logano , Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Kurt Busch , Martin Truex Jr ., Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Carl Edwards Note: Kyle Busch has four wins and is currently second in the Chase Grid, but has not clinched a spot in the top 30 of the points standings. On the bubble Note: Positions below are for the Chase Grid, not Sprint Cup standings 12. Jamie McMurray +41 (points ahead of 16th-place) 13 . Ryan Newman +28 14 . Paul Menard +19 15. Jeff Gordon +17 16 . Clint Bowyer -- ----------------------- 17. Aric Almirola -35 (points behind 16th-place) 18. Kasey Kahne -37 19. Greg Biffle -83 20. Austin Dillon -91 Rest of top 30 21. Kyle Larson -104 22. Danica Patrick -130 23. Casey Mears -139 24. AJ Allmendinger -140 25. David Ragan -164 26. Sam Hornish Jr . -179 27. Tony Stewart -189 28. Trevor Bayne -212 29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr . -221 30. Justin Allgaier -246
Pocono incident angers Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman hinted that payback may be coming to AJ Allmendinger after the JTG Daugherty driver sent Newman's No. 31 Chevrolet into the wall on Lap 139 of Sunday's Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 at Pocono Raceway . "It's pretty obvious what happened," said Newman , who was running seventh at the time but finished 39th. "The No. 47 (Allmendinger) just ran out of talent. He has got one coming now." Allmendinger appeared to get loose in Turn 1, and he tapped Newman's left rear bumper to trigger the incident. "The 47 just dove down in there and took your ass out," Newman was told over the radio. "I'm fully aware of the piece of (expletive)," the driver of the No. 31 replied. Allmendinger took the blame for the incident over his scanner. Then, later as the JTG team was assessing the damage, said "I don't even deserve to be in the car right now." Richard Childress Racing , the team for which Newman drives, has a technical alliance with JTG Daugherty as well.
See what the No. 31 Chevrolet will look like Labor Day weekend RELATED: Buy tickets for Darlington " Buy the die-cast This year's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (Sept. 6, 7 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) will have a throwback feel to it with the track hosting the event again on Labor Day weekend. And teams are going with that throwback theme in their paint schemes. Richard Childress Racing was the latest to reveal its throwback look with Ryan Newman 's No. 31 Chevrolet for that weekend. Throwback @CaterpillarInc @TeamChevy never looked so good. @TooToughToTame @RyanJNewman #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/M0bDpHFPgI — RCR 31 Cup Team (@RCR31RNewman) July 8, 2015 Newman will be looking for his first win at Darlington. He has seven top fives and 11 top 10s in 16 starts there.
AJ Allmendinger gets into Ryan Newman in Turn 1, sending the No. 31 hard into the wall.