SHR’s Dynamic Duo rolls with Momentum into New Hampshire

By Fan4Racing

What happens when you combine momentum with a dynamic duo? 
In one word – Anticipation

Owner Stewart celebrates Newman’s Victory
New Hampshire July 2011 – Stewart finished 2nd
Photo – NHMS/HHP
For those without it, they work harder to make gains on the track every week. But when momentum is working, great things happen, seemingly with less effort. So will fans see momentum continue it’s roll this weekend?

For Stewart Haas Racing drivers Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, their return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway – where this dynamic duo celebrated in victory lane twice in 2011 – offers a lot of anticipation for this weekend’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301 – Going The Extra Mile.

Ryan Newman won the pole for both 2011 races at the track, with Newman winning in the July race followed by Stewart in second. Then Stewart won five of the ten Chase races, which includes a fall win at NHMS, on his way to winning his third championship. Couple that momentum with Stewart’s third win of the 2012 season at Daytona last weekend, and the excitement translates to a great deal of anticipation leading up to the checkered flag on Sunday. 

On Friday, Stewart was asked about momentum on his side coming off his win at Daytona and a pretty good practice to start off the weekend.

“We’re decent I think. We have been pretty good here both races last year so I’m pretty excited about coming back here. We definitely have a good start to the day for sure.”

Sounds like momentum is still rolling in Tony’s favor, and the other half of the dynamic duo, Ryan Newman was also excited and confident as he reflected a bit more on their 2011 success.

“It was awesome for us here last year,” said Newman. “It was a time when Tony (Stewart) was struggling a little bit too, so, to have the one-two start and one-two finish, that was awesome. Then for him to back it up, and us to win the Spring race, and him to win the Fall race, I wish we could have backed it up and finished in at least second in the Fall race. But it was an amazing place for us here, … in Loudon. We’ll try to do it again. There’s no reason that we can’t.”
When asked about why they’re so good and can they carry any of last year’s success over to Sunday’s race, apparently Stewart’s not sure but isn’t concerned about that, because his team is picking up where they left off despite a different tire for this year’s race.

#39-Newman & #14-Stewart up front at NHMS
Photo – Getty Images
“I wish I knew, but it seems like where we were last year it’s continuing on so far even though we’ve got a little bit different tire it sounds like. I’m pretty happy with it. I mean the car right off the first lap felt like it had really good balance to it. Just got to keep working with it and see if we can keep making it better all weekend.”
Qualifying on Friday netted Newman a sixth-place starting spot and Stewart in tenth. Yet the team remains confident they will perform well on Sunday.

“I think our cars are good, there’s no doubt. I think the Hendrick engines, I mean everything’s clicking. I like the track because I think you have to feel the tires and be on the edge,” says Newman. “I was thinking about it last week. I think (Tony) Stewart might have a similar answer, it kind of reminds us of our old IRP – Indianapolis Raceway Park – days. This kind of drives like that kind of race track where your car is on top of the race track, and you get everything you can. There is really 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 here. I think just a little bit of our past. A little bit of our time. A little bit of us as far as the way we drive race cars.”

Currently, Ryan Newman is 15th in the point standings with one win to his credit. Both Kyle Busch and Joey Logano also have one win each, but are ranked 12th and 14th respectively, giving them the current wild card spots. With Newman on the bubble, if his past success here does translate to another win, it would be a huge boost for him to take over a wild card spot for the Chase. 

“This is our place to shine and statistically I’ve run really well here on Friday’s and Sunday’s. It’s a crunch time period for us in the season to need to do that again. Hopefully, we can deliver, I feel like our cars are pretty good. The US Army ROTC Chevrolet was good in practice; I didn’t get a perfect lap in practice so I’m hoping I get that perfect lap in qualifying. I just kind of caught the seams wrong just a little bit down in (turns) three and four. It’s crunch time no doubt and we will go out there and see if we can have fun today and the rest of the weekend.”

And with Stewart tied with Keselowski for most wins – three – in 2012, Tony could use another win to put him solidly in the lead spot to start the Chase at Chicagoland. With the race on Sunday, there are only eight more chances for all the drivers to better their position going into the Chase. 

So with the competition heating up in the Race to the Chase, will the  dynamic duo continue their momentum with another win this weekend? Or will it be another driver in victory lane? 

Anticipation awaits all fans on Sunday and we’ll know the answer when the checkered flag waves in New Hampshire.

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