Driving Force: Ryan Newman Powers To Camping World SRX Series Win At Stafford

Ryan Newman celebrates victory in the Camping World SRX Series feature Saturday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – A native of Indiana, Ryan Newman’s rise through the ranks of racing came through glory on short track’s of the Midwest.

But during his career with the NASCAR Cup Series, Newman developed a strong delight in competing with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

And those efforts helped him grow an appreciation for the places where Modifieds are king, like Stafford Speedway.

Saturday night the native of South Bend, Indiana reveled in getting to add his name to the record book at one of the most historic short tracks in America.

Newman, who competed in a Modified race Friday at Stafford, used a late pass of Marco Andretti to score his first SRX Series victory and first career win at Stafford in Saturday’s 75-lap main event.

“It’s pretty special no doubt,” Newman said of getting his name into the record books as a winner at Stafford. “It’s big. Even though I’m a Midwest guy, I just know it’s really special to win at Stafford. I know what the [NASCAR Whelen] Modified Tour means in this area. I had the chance to come race here last night. But to race with the best in the world and come out on top is really special.”

Andretti was second and Paul Tracy third.

“This is so special,” Newman said. “I got choked up the last couple laps. … I’m so proud of being part of racing with the best drivers in the world. It’s extremely special.”

Longtime Modified driver Matt Hirschman, who earned a starting spot in the SRX field at Stafford by virtue of his win in the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler in April, ended up eight in the 12-car field Saturday.

It was the second consecutive year that the SRX Series has run at Stafford. Saturday’s event was the third of six series events this year. Last year the SRX Series debut and ran their inaugural event at Stafford with former track regular and six-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby scoring victory.

Newman saw the half-mile Stafford oval for the first time in Friday’s GAF Roofing Open Modified 80. He ended up eighth in the event and said he learned some things that carried over to Saturday with the SRX Series.

“It helped me quite a bit,” Newman said of racing Friday. “I think I was able to find some grip on the race track that other people didn’t know about. That’s their fault for not racing here [Friday].”

The bulk of the race was saw Andretti and Tony Stewart battling at the front of the field, with Greg Biffle joining the fray at times.

Caution flew late with Andretti leading Stewart and Newman up to third. Following a restart with 10 laps remaining, Newman was able to get by Stewart for second place.

Newman quickly closed on Andretti. With seven laps left Newman was able to get a nose under Andretti and the pair banged body panels coming to the start/finish line side-by-side. Newman was able to complete the pass of Andretti into turn one with six laps left and never trailed again.

“Restarting on the inside was the first time I had that all night on that last restart,” Newman said. “I just knew that was the place to be. I knew what Marco was going to do to Stewart was run him up a little bit and I was fortunate enough to get second on the restart and then worked him for a few laps. I got a good [run] in the middle of [turns] three and four. I learned yesterday that it’s easier to pass in [turns] three and four than in [turns] one and two. So that’s where I put my effort and we were able to pull it off.”

Said Andretti: “He did the bump. The same thing that everybody is going to do to try to win the race. He did it with the perfect amount of laps left. … I’m learning so much from these Cup [Series] guys. They’re just too good. I’m just trying to learn and trying to put it all together.”


  1. IDK how to put my finger on it, but SRX just doesn’t have “it” this year. Really think they need to re-imagine themselves a bit if they want a third season. The big ratings drop they have seen makes me think I’m not alone, either.

  2. I watched both years on TV. I’m very happy what this does for Stafford Speedway, as anything that draws people and dollars to my favorite local oval will prevent it from becoming Speedway Meadows Condos anytime soon.

    The actual SRX racing? Not so exciting to me… The cars seem slow and the format built to manufacture drama. I did enjoy Willie T’s trip to the mineral springs!

    Hopefully, the SK race will draw lots of new and hopefully young faces to Friday nights out of that huge crowd, and hopefully another sellout if they do it next year.

  3. Congrats to “Rocket Man” Ryan Newman on his SRX win!

  4. In complete agreement.
    If Stafford can get exposure and maximize their opportunity with the SRX series I’m just tickled pink. Otherwise the racing just doesn’t hit a chord at all for me.
    It’s big expense reality series. It hits big time like Survivor and takes on a life of it’s own. Or struggles, the expense too great and fades away..
    Do you care about the remaining races and will you make a point to watch them is the question. Most I’m thinking the answer is perhaps if I think of it but no promises.

  5. Preliminary ratings show an average viewership of ~950,000.

    thats 347,000 off of last years race at stafford.

    385,000 off of last years 3rd race at eldora.

    55,000 off of last years race on 4th of july weekend at IRP

    Anyway you look at it, it doesn’t paint the series in the best of health.

  6. Like I said – SK race would be the best race of the day… SK race was also better than the open mods on Friday…. Half the open mod drivers are stafford regulars- SK’s been the success of Stafford since the early 80’s

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