Ryan Newman rockets to SRX Stafford victory

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Credit: Stafford Speedway

Tony Stewart‘s “family talk” with the Superstar Racing Experience grid about driver etiquette after last week’s temper-filled South Boston round seems to have paid off. Unlike the feuding seen in SoBo, Saturday’s Stafford Speedway races were relatively benign in terms of not having petty retaliation and every driver completed all 132 combined laps, though contact was aplenty as virtually everyone suffered some sort of body damage.

By the end, Ryan Newman was an SRX winner for the first time. He and Stewart—his former NASCAR Cup Series boss at Stewart-Haas Racing—are the only drivers to win races in SRX and its spiritual predecessor International Race of Champions.

While Ryan Hunter-Reay and Bobby Labonte won the two heats, Marco Andretti landed on the pole for the feature and looked to be the early favourite even with contact from Greg Biffle. Stewart joined the picture for the second half of the race.

Andretti and Stewart looked to have a classic battle to the finish before the infamous “fun flag” competition caution came out with ten laps left. Newman pounced on the ensuing restart to take second from Stewart before forcing his way past Andretti with six circuits remaining. Andretti and Paul Tracy rounded out the podium.

The victory comes with some sentimental feeling, especially among fans who watched Newman nearly die in the 2020 Daytona 500, only to make a recovery just weeks later before resuming his career. Although departed from the Cup Series since, he now has an SRX championship to chase.

“Really special night to win here at Stafford,” began Newman“Amazing night for me in the SRX Series.

“[…] To have my daughter here was so special. To beat the best between Marco and Paul and Tony and all the guys that are a part of this field, it’s so special to be a part of it and to beat them.”

Hailie Deegan finished fifth in her first SRX start of the season, while Justin Marks was ninth in his series début as a replacement for Five Flags winner Hélio Castroneves. Local star Matt Hirschman placed eighth.

The next round is at the Nashville Fairgrounds. Chase Elliott won there in 2021, but will not return to defend his victory as he is instead running the season finale at Sharon on 23 July.

Race results

139Ryan Newman75Running
298Marco Andretti75Running
33Paul Tracy75Running
414Tony Stewart75Running
518Bobby Labonte75Running
65Hailie Deegan75Running
71Ryan Hunter-Reay75Running
860Matt Hirschman75Running
999Justin Marks75Running
1069Greg Biffle75Running
119Bill Elliott75Running
1215Michael Waltrip75Running

Heat #1

11Ryan Hunter-Reay28Running
25Hailie Deegan28Running
369Greg Biffle28Running
498Marco Andretti28Running
560Matt Hirschman28Running
63Paul Tracy28Running
739Ryan Newman28Running
815Michael Waltrip28Running
914Tony Stewart28Running
1099Justin Marks28Running
1118Bobby Labonte28Running
129Bill Elliott28Running

Heat #2

118Bobby Labonte29Running
214Tony Stewart29Running
315Michael Waltrip29Running
43Paul Tracy29Running
598Marco Andretti29Running
639Ryan Newman29Running
769Greg Biffle29Running
89Bill Elliott29Running
960Matt Hirschman29Running
105Hailie Deegan29Running
111Ryan Hunter-Reay29Running
1299Justin Marks29Running
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About author
Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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