John D Harlow
LOUDON, N.H. – Ryan Newman has been the driver of the U.S. Army Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing for almost three seasons on the Sprint Cup circuit. On Sunday, Newman took the Army to Victory Lane for the first time since 2004.
“From my standpoint personally, it’s great to win,” Newman said. “We had fought so hard over two and a half years to get (sponsor) U.S. Army in victory lane.”
It was a weekend of rarities for the South Bend, Ind., native. Newman was joined on the front row by teammate and car owner Tony Stewart for the first time in the history of Stewart-Haas racing. He finished right ahead of Stewart, making the first time the front row finished in the same position since 2006 at Pocono.
As Newman celebrated the victory by doing donuts on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway front straightaway, he said, “This one is for the Soldiers – thank you guys.”
Before the race, Newman, along with Brig. Gen. John McGuiness, senior commander of the Natick Soldier Systems Center; Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Moore, senior enlisted adviser of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command; and Sgt. Christopher Rice spoke to educators, community leaders and business operators.
“People are what make our Army,” McGuiness said. “We went to a couple different extremes today: Ryan (Newman) goes and qualifies on the pole for the race, and Sgt. Rice, who talked about his experiences in Afghanistan.”
The general took time to talk about some of the equipment used in today’s Army that came through collaboration with NASCAR.
“The tearoffs that you see on a race car when they make a pit stop are now used on our Apache and Blackhawk helicopters,” McGuiness said. “The graphite lubricants that are in the drive trains of these vehicles are used in our Chinook and Apache helicopters. Those are just a couple examples of how the Army and NASCAR work well together.”
Newman led 110 of the 301 laps to collect his 15th career victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It was his second win driving for Stewart-Haas and first sporting the Army colors.
“We’ve been so close so many times this year; we’ve finished in the top five but just haven’t been able to win,” an emotional Newman said in Victory Lane.
Before the race, team owner Tony Stewart and Newman joined Col. Derik Crotts, G-7 of U.S. Army Accessions Command, as they thanked the colonel for his service by placing a decal on both cars. July 17 was Crotts’ last day of service to the nation, and he finished his day in Victory Lane.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series takes the week off before returning to action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400.