By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
A five-year stint with Richard Childress Racing came to a quiet end for Ryan Newman at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran ended one of his worst career seasons with a top-15 finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400.
On the final restart, Newman’s No. 31 E-Z-Go Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 hovered just outside the top-10. In the chaotic scramble, as the focus was on the Championship Four competitors, he had his own battle with Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Newman’s fight to try to cap off the season with a top-10 ended as he slid backwards. When the checkered flag waved, he was 15th on the running order.
Throughout the first two stages of the race, Newman hovered just outside the top-10. He briefly took control of 10th-place before relinquishing the position to Matt Kenseth. The lack of speed in his Chevrolet was apparent as fellow Chevy Racing driver, Kyle Larson was a threat throughout much of the race to play spoiler.
The 15th-place finish leaves Newman 17th in the Championship Points Standings. 2018 marked the fifth time he has finished outside the top-15 in Points. Only twice has he finished worst at seasons’ end. Newman never earned a top-five finish in 2018, ending a 16 straight year stretch of earning at least one top-five finish each season. He ends the season with nine top-10 finishes.
Newman’s five-year stint with RCR ends with the combination earning one victory, 19 top-five and 63 top-10 finishes. Only three times did the South Bend, IN native make the Playoffs with RCR. Next year, Newman will take over the No. 6 Ford Mustang at Roush Fenway Racing.