Ryan Newman on Friday continued to insist the No. 31 team did not deserve the hefty penalties handed down by NASCAR for tire manipulation at Auto Club Speedway on March 22.
“That’s why we feel like we had a compelling case to win, and I’ll leave it at that,” Newman said Friday at Kansas Speedway.
As a result, Newman lost 50 driver points, Richard Childress lost 50 owner points, crew chief Luke Lambert was fined $75,000 and suspended for six points races (which also includes the non-points Sprint All-Star Race), as were tire technician James Bender and team engineer Philip Surgen. They can return for the July 5 race at Daytona International Speedway.
“I’m obviously disappointed,” Newman said. “I don’t believe at all in the outcome of it, but in the end it doesn’t really matter. We’ve got to be focused on this weekend and obviously the Chase for the Championship. It’s as simple as that. It’s all behind us now and we’ll go on.”
Veteran crew chief Todd Parrott will replace Lambert during his suspension.
“The focus at the track changes a little bit without having Luke and a couple of other guys here; but at the same time we’ve established a good ‘B’ team that we have a lot of confidence in and we’re focused on that,” Newman said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the race car is going to be just as competitive as it ever has been, and we obviously have guys back at the shop that are paying more attention than they every have now. So, we’ll just do our business as usual; as usual as it’s ever been.”
Newman was 17th fastest in Friday’s first Sprint Cup practice and 15th fastest in the final practice later in the afternoon.
“Having the continuity of the same group or people is important, but who knows?” Newman said. “We might learn a few things the way that this whole thing unfolds and works out.
“My focus is still to do everything I’ve always done inside the race car and communicate with the guys on the team, and we’ll go from there.”