Ryan Newman turns mediocre start into top-five finish at Michigan

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Ryan Newman came a long way, finishing fourth in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Newman used to be known as “Rocket Man” for his prowess of earning poles – 51, to be exact.

But Newman hasn’t won a pole since 2013.

For Sunday’s race, Newman qualified 25th, the eighth time he’s qualified 19th or worse in the last nine races.

This time, however, Newman managed to work his way  through the field and was not going to be denied his fifth top-five finish of the season.

“It was just a good run,” Newman said. “(Crew chief Luke Lambert) did a great job making the call for us to stay out and caught the break there with the No. 22’s (Joey Logano) tire (went down late in the race).”

Newman is locked into the playoffs by virtue of his win earlier this year at Phoenix, and has now earned three top-fives in the last seven races.

“We got a couple good restarts and made a little bit out of nothing,” Newman said. “We were challenged all day, struggled a little bit, but it seems like whenever we have this Velveeta name on the car, we wind up with a top-five (like finishing third at Indianapolis), so we’ll keep doing it.”

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