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Newman waiting for a call after Brickyard win
LONG POND, PA. (AP) - Ryan Newman kissed the Indy bricks, then had to deal with the Brickyard 350.
That’s the estimated number of text messages he received from well-wishers for his win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend.
Friends, family. Just about anyone who helped Newman on his path from the short tracks that dot Indiana to taking the checkered flag in one of the sport’s most prestigious races.
“The coolest part was that there were eight people, maybe, where I had to text them back and ask who it was,” Newman said, laughing.
But no team dialed up Newman and offered a ride for 2014.
No sponsor texted and said it would invest $20 million or so to follow him wherever he lands.
Newman’s future is no more settled entering Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway than it was before he snapped a 49-race winless streak. If any team’s in the market for a Brickyard winner, Newman is listening.
“The phone has not rung off the hook,” Newman said. “I didn’t expect it to and I think some people kind of expect it to. I am working on what I need to work on to be in a good, competitive position next year. The win helps, but it’s not a light switch. It doesn’t turn everything on bright.”
For now, Newman is out of work following this season. Stewart-Haas Racing signed Kevin Harvick to join the team next season, and team co-owner Tony Stewart informed Newman two weeks ago he won’t be brought back in 2014.
He wants to leave a winner _ more like, a Sprint Cup champion.
Newman is far from a title contender, but he at least forced his name into the conversation for a Chase for the Sprint Cup championship spot. He’s 16th in the standings but the victory put him in position to earn one of the two wild-card spots that go to drivers in the 11th to 20th spots. Stewart (11th) and Martin Truex Jr. (12th) hold those spots with six races left before the 12-driver field is set.
Newman would be a sure thing with another win.
“It gives us more hope. I mean we had hope in the first place,” Newman said. “We still have a chance of making the Chase. Another win would be amazing just based on the history of what I’ve seen with the wild cards. Two is pretty much going to lock you into a wild card spot. And we still have a shot.”
Newman won a staggering eight times in 2003 but has just eight wins since that season. He’s won one race each of the last four seasons. That should make him an attractive candidate to a program like Richard Childress Racing or perhaps Furniture Row Racing should Kurt Busch leave.
By Tom Fitton
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Let it snow