LOUDON - Much of Ryan Newman's success on NASCAR's Sprint Cup circuit has come at New Hampshire Speedway. Why, Newman isn't exactly sure.
"That's actually kind of funny, because I used to say New Hampshire was my least favorite race track," said Newman, who has three career victories at the rural track, where the Camping World RV Sales 301 is set for today. "But it's far from that now. It's always been a good place for me. I'm not 100 percent sure why."
Part of Newman's uncertainty stems from the nature of the racing at New Hampshire. Although the track is 1.058 miles, it has some short-track characteristics - its corners are very tight - that make it difficult to pass.
"Loudon has just always been a difficult track to pass on," said Newman. "And from a driver's standpoint, you want to go out there and say that, 'If I have a good car, start last and win this race.' And you can't always do that there. That's just a rule of thumb and generic explanation for why it's not perfect. Other than that, it's short-track racing. It's fun but it's really difficult to pass there at times."
That's where Newman's previous success could work for him.
"New Hampshire kind of drives like that kind of track where your car is on top of the racetrack and you get everything you can," said Newman, who also has six poles at New Hampshire. "There is nothing to really make it go any faster. It's not like you are pushing the car on the banking to make it grip better. There's none of that really to speak of there, I think, other than just a little bit of our past, a little bit of our time and a little bit of us as far as the way we drive race cars."
Newman is winless this year, and is 16th in the Cup standings. But he's just 17 points out of 10th place - occupied by his boss at Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart - and a berth in the Chase for the Cup. Newman moved up two spots Saturday with a 10th-place finish at the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.
And thanks to his previous success at New Hampshire, Newman thinks he can continue to move up the ladder.
"I feel like I'm competitive as a driver at all the tracks but, obviously, it takes a good crew that understands the car and the track and strategy and everything else," said Newman. "We've just done well there. It's clicked."