It was another solid points day for Ryan Newman and his #31 Richard Childress race team at Sunday’s Gobowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway. It is true a “solid points day” may not mean as much as it used to in the Sprint Cup Series, with so much emphasis put on winning over consistency in the Chase format, but it was a strong seventh place showing regardless.
The Indiana native now sits fifth in points, making him the second highest rated driver in the standings without a victory this year, behind Matt Kenseth, who is 4th.
It may come as a surprise to some fans that Newman is so high in the standings, for he has truly managed to fly beneath the radar most of the year.
He’s been anything but spectacular, but he has been steadily consistent. In all but three races this season the Rocket Man has finished inside the top-20.
He also has zero DNFs, which has placed him in front of multi-winners Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, and Carl Edwards in the points standings. On top of their multiple wins, Johnson, Logano, and Edwards also have multiple DNFs.
In the last six races, Newman has finished 11th, third, 24th (at the Daytona wreck-fest), fifth, 11th, and eighth at Pocono. Minus the 24th place finish at Daytona, which was largely out of the teams control, the #31 crew have looked very strong in the past two months.
With such strong recent performances, there is a good chance Newman will find himself in victory lane in one of the five remaining races before the Chase. But even if he doesn’t win, Newman and his team have put themselves in a great position to make the Chase with their consistent finishes and zero DNFs. It will be a spot in the Chase well deserved, with or without a victory.