News & Media

Behind the Wheel: Newman looks to Daytona to regain stride

July 05, 2012, Ryan Newman, Special to NASCAR.COM,

I know I'm not the only one who finds it hard to believe it's July. Besides that it's hot, July means we have a pretty busy few weeks ahead of us.

We have two races on the plate and for me, personally, it's about time to start "baby watch" for Baby Girl Newman. She's due right before Indy so, hopefully she'll cooperate and come during the week off following New Hampshire.

"For me, [Daytona] has been like that box of chocolates Forrest Gump talks about -- you never know what you are going to get. "


Since Brooklyn was a week early, we feel pretty good that she'll come during that week. But, then again, everyone tells us that every baby is different. So, just in case she doesn't make her arrival on our schedule, we do have someone on standby that can jump in the No. 39 Chevy. Hopefully, that won't be an issue, but it's better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.

But before the newest addition to our family arrives -- and no, we don't have a name for her, just yet -- I head to Daytona this week and New Hampshire next week.

My wife, Krissie, will stay back at home, which I know is tough for her. She says it's hard to watch a race and not be at the track. For me, well, I miss not having her and Brooklyn with me.

So, I will head to Daytona alone. For me, that track has been like that box of chocolates Forrest Gump talks about -- you never know what you are going to get. I have had the ultimate high there when I won the Daytona 500 in 2008, and I have suffered plenty of lows there, too. We won't even talk about them.

I know we always have a good superspeedway car. So, for our No. 39 Aspen Dental team, this weekend is all about luck. And, hopefully, we will finally have some luck in our favor. We definitely need it right now.

It's been a while since we have had a top-10 finish, and I sure would like to get that turned around this weekend. We had a good rebounding weekend last week in Kentucky up until we lost our motor. Had that not happened, I'm fairly confident we would have had a top-10 finish, at the very least.

But instead, we're headed to Daytona this weekend still looking for that elusive top-10.

From Daytona, it's on to New Hampshire where the No. 39 team is the defending winner. That day last year was one of the best of my career.

We started on the pole and our teammate started there right beside of us in second, and that's exactly how we finished. To accomplish that feat -- for our Stewart-Haas Racing team to start 1-2 and finish 1-2 -- was amazing. It was also something that hadn't been done since 1957.

For us to make history that day was really something to celebrate. And it's funny to me to think New Hampshire used to be one of my least-favorite racetracks.

Hopefully, we can have another good day like that when we get back to Loudon.

We all know what's at stake. We know we are fighting tooth-and-nail to make this Chase -- whether we get back in the top-10 or take one of the wild card spots. While we aren't focusing on the points, we are fully aware of what needs to be done.

So we have work to do on track. And, speaking of work, I need to head back out to the farm.

Behind the Wheel with Ryan Newman runs twice a month on NASCAR.COM as he shares his experiences throughout the season, both at and away from the track. Follow him on Twitter at @RyanNewman39 and online at and The opinions expressed are solely those of Newman.