May 9, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
Currently sitting in the Top 10 in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points, Ryan Newman believes that the performance from himself and his No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team has been solid.
But he also believes that something’s been missing. He calls it the “follow-through.” Some may call it “execution,” but not him.
“We haven’t been the fastest and we’re not leading the most laps or anything like that, but we’re putting ourselves in contention,” he said today at Kansas. “What we haven’t done is seal-up the contention that we were holding; just that follow-through.
“I don’t want to call it ‘execution’; I want to call it the ‘follow-through’ of where we are. And finishing it off hasn’t been 100 percent or as good as I think it should or could be. So, when we’re running seventh, we finish 10th. And when we’re running fifth, we finish seventh.”
Newman’s claimed four Top-10s this year but only has a top finish of seventh, which he’s turned in twice already at Phoenix and Las Vegas back in the early spring. On the other side of the coin, he’s only had one finish outside of the Top 20.
However, with a win effectively meaning “You’re in” as far as making the Chase for the Sprint Cup, consistency won’t be enough.
Hence, Newman’s need to get that “follow-through” starting with tomorrow’s 5-Hour Energy 400.
“We just need to shine-up the performance a little bit with respect to finishing it and not just how we’re running in the middle of the race,” he said.
As for what he’s expecting in Kansas’ first-ever Sprint Cup night race, Newman is hoping for the track’s groove to widen out but isn’t sure that tonight’s 250-mile Camping World Truck Series race will be enough to do the job.
However, he feels that with the early evening start time for tomorrow’s race, there will be an opportunity to help the groove get farther up the track and provide himself and the other drivers with more room to race.
“With a 6:30 p.m. [CT] start time, the sun will still be out and there is a chance to put a little bit of rubber on the track and hopefully that will make a big difference,” he said. “When we’re out there, it’s barely two grooves wide now. I’m saying two car widths, not two grooves.
“So it’s really going to be dictated by that. Once we widen out the race track and have double-file restarts and that part of it – I just don’t see the Trucks really making the track that much wider just because of their speed and the quantity and quality of the trucks that are out there.”