STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT. — Ryan Newman ended Saturday night with tears in his eyes, likely relieved he survived five winless years.
Standing in the SRX victory lane Saturday night at Stafford Motor Speedway, Newman was joined by his two daughters who were alongside him when he miraculously walked out of the hospital two days after his infamous final-lap, tri-oval wreck from the lead in the 2020 Daytona 500.
This time, Newman and his daughters celebrated his first major-league win since the March 2017 NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix.
“A really special night to win here tonight at Stafford,” Newman said. “I’m just really proud of everybody’s efforts collectively. To have my daughters here was so special.”
Newman finished seventh and sixth in the heats – and ran midpack in the 75-lap feature, saving his tires after starting ninth, until halfway when he began picking off drivers.
Finally, with five laps to go in the feature, Newman made the winning pass on Marco Andretti – whose fierce battle with Tony Stewart caused their tires to fall off quicker than Newman’s and handed the win to him.
“To beat the best between Marco (Andretti) and Paul (Tracy), Tony (Stewart) and all the guys that are a part of this deal. It’s so special to be a part of and then to beat them. I’m so honored to be a part of it and look forward to three more.”
“For Bruton Smith and his family, this is special. For Bryan Clauson and his family, we got to park it in victory lane,” Newman added.
Marco Andretti and Tony Stewart combined to lead all but the final five laps – yet finished second and fourth, respectively, with Paul Tracy in the middle, in third.
“Ryan did the bump, the same thing that everybody is going to try to do to win the race. He did it with the perfect amount of laps left,” Andretti said. “I was screaming on the radio because I was driving blind, I didn’t know how many laps left to go, so I mistimed that, overdrove and wheel hoped it at the end, but I’m learning so much from these Cup guys.”
“A third for me felt like a win. It finally felt good to get a good result all night and I’m looking forward to next week in Nashville,” Tracy said. “I ran good there last year, so I’m excited for next week.”
Bobby Labonte finished fifth while nursing a hand injury he suffered during a Wednesday night modified race at Caraway Speedway. During the first heat, he slid and braked to avoid the wall. Although he finished 11th in that heat, he won the second heat after starting second.
Ryan Hunter-Reay had the opposite night, as he won the first heat but only finished 11th in the second heat. He started sixth in the feature and stayed midpack as he finished seventh.
“I had a good first heat, won that one – and in the feature, I got stuck in second gear and couldn’t get up to third gear for the start. I had to do the start in the second gear and sat on the chip. Unfortunately, lost all the spots there,” Hunter-Reay said. “Kind of threw the night away getting stuck in gear but, man, it was a blast. This is definitely my favorite racetrack so far on the schedule.”
Rival Michael Waltrip started fourth in the feature after finishing eighth and third in the heats. Waltrip ran top 5 in the feature but lost his speed after contact with Paul Tracy sheered Waltrip’s fender off. Waltrip finished 12th in the feature.
Greg Biffle also ran inside the top 5 throughout the feature until contact with Paul Tracy nearly turned Biffle exiting turn two. He saved the car and went through the grass but was unable to run higher than 10th – his final finish.
Hailie Deegan finished 6th in her SRX return. Ringer Matt Hirschman finished 8th ahead of Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks, in 9th.
The full results were:
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Hailie Deegan, Greg Biffle, Marco Andretti, Matt Hirschman, Paul Tracy, Ryan Newman, Michael Waltrip, Tony Stewart, Justin Marks, Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott
Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Paul Tracy, Marco Andretti, Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle, Bill Elliott, Matt Hirschman, Hailie Deegan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Justin Marks
Ryan Newman, Marco Andretti, Paul Tracy, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Hailie Deegan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Matt Hirschman, Justin Marks, Greg Biffle, Bill Elliott, Michael Waltrip
SRX heads to Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway where INDYCAR guys Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves will return to excite the SRX debuts of fellow INDYCAR guy Josef Newgarden, NASCAR’s Matt Kenseth and ringer Cole Williams. They will face regulars Paul Tracy, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Marco Andretti, Michael Waltrip, Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart.
SRX at Nashville: 8 p.m. ET; TV: CBS/Paramount+