Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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15. Ryan Newman

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Ryan Newman has a reputation as one of—if not THE—most difficult drivers in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field to pass. It is well deserved. His average finish was 15.83 in 2017, which would likely have been significantly higher for any other driver in the same equipment.

While that was worth starting him a number of times last season, it is notable that his three-year averages are much better on the majority of tracks NASCAR visits. The conclusion that can be drawn here is 2017 was a disappointment for Newman and the No. 31 team, despite their qualification as one of the 16 playoff contenders.

Newman became playoff relevant because of a victory in the fourth week of competition, but like several of the drivers already profiled, he failed to string top-10s together with enough frequency to be a place-and-hold pick for the majority of the season.

After winning the Camping World 500k at Phoenix International Raceway, he struggled through eight races with only three top-10s and no top-fives. He snapped that streak with a fourth at Dover International Speedway—the first time all season that he was able to record consecutive top-10s. That race was notable for another reason: 400 laps at Dover continue to be one of NASCAR’s endurance events and no one can run consistently well on the high-banked, concrete tracks without the strength of a bulldog.

Tough drivers tend to excel during the summer months. Newman began a streak of seven complete races in late July when he finished on the lead lap in third in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He failed to crack the top 10 in his next two starts at Pocono Raceway and Watkins Glen International, but went the full, scheduled distance—and then a switch flipped for the No. 31 team.

From his fourth-place finish in the Pure Michigan 400 through a third at Richmond International Raceway in the regular season finale, he swept the top-seven positions and entered the playoffs with more momentum than he experienced all year. That should have meant something; but unfortunately for fantasy owners, it did not. Newman scored only two top-10s during the playoffs and one of these came on the wild card, Talladega SuperSpeedway.

The 2018 season should be better than last year as Richard Childress Racing scales back to a two-car operation that will allow them to allocate their resources better. Newman should continue to be watched on tough tracks like Dover or Darlington Raceway, where he currently has his best three-year average of 9.33.

2017 Victories: Phoenix (spring)
Average Finish: 15.83
Top-fives: 7 (.194)
Top-10s: 13 (.361)
Top-15s: 22 (.611)

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Career
Attempts

Career
Top-5s

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Darlington Raceway

9.33

11.68

19

7

13

7

 

Sonoma Raceway

10.67

12.50

16

2

7

15

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

11.00

16.18

17

4

8

17

 

Auto Club Speedway

11.33

16.57

23

5

9

15

 

Bristol Motor Speedway

12.00

15.97

32

2

17

14

6

Michigan International Speedway

12.17

16.24

33

6

9

15

4

Martinsville Speedway

13.67

14.78

32

8

15

8

14

Charlotte Motor Speedway

14.00

17.74

34

5

15

9

40

Phoenix International Raceway

14.33

17.19

31

10

12

1

20

Richmond International Raceway *

14.50

11.81

32

7

18

7

3

Dover Downs International

14.50

13.63

32

7

14

4

13

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

14.67

13.94

32

7

18

27

13

Talladega Superspeedway

14.67

19.72

32

6

12

25

2

Kentucky Speedway

15.00

14.29

7

3

3

22

 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

15.00

16.82

17

3

4

3

 

Chicagoland Speedway

15.33

14.69

16

4

9

23

 

Daytona International Speedway

16.83

19.63

32

5

8

21

5

Homestead - Miami Speedway

17.00

16.73

15

2

5

10

 

Texas Motor Speedway

17.83

18.69

29

3

6

26

20

Watkins Glen International

18.67

17.81

16

1

3

25

 

Kansas Speedway

18.83

18.21

24

3

7

40

33

Pocono Raceway

19.00

12.81

32

9

14

14

14

Atlanta Motor Speedway

23.00

17.92

25

2

9

35

 

 

* Top-10 sweeps

2018 Top-25 Fantasy Values

16. Busch, Kurt 
17. Almirola, Aric 
18. Dillon, Austin 
19. Stenhouse Jr., Ricky 
20. Menard, Paul 
21. Bayne, Trevor 
22. Dillon, Ty 
23. Buescher, Chris 
24. Allmendinger, AJ 
25. Kahne, Kasey

 



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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