The owner-employee dynamic was just teammate-teammate for 301 laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Newman held off Stewart, his boss and teammate, to pick up his first win of the season Sunday and make it a 1-2 start and ending for Stewart-Haas Racing. Newman said, “This is huge for our team, even bigger for our organization.”
Newman and Stewart completed it the first front-row start for SHR in qualifying Friday and they followed that with first- and second-place ends for the first time on race day. Newman and Stewart have pushed themselves into position to qualify for the Chase for the
Sprint Cup championship.
He said, “This was a perfect weekend.” Since April 2010, Newman won for the first time in Phoenix and Stewart got only his second top-five of the season. Stewart said, “It’s no secret we’ve been struggling this year, but it actually shows me the depth of the people we’ve got in our organization. It’s been one of the weirdest years as far as weird things and bad luck happing to both of us.”
Rounded out the top five were Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and the five-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson and Jeff Gordon, who ended 11th, both rallied from major setbacks for strong finishes. Kyle Busch, who begun the event as the points leader, has tire issues and ended 36th. Carl Edwards ended 13th and retook the points lead.
Seven events stay until the Chase field is set. The top-10 drivers automatically gained a spot. Two of the spots in the Chase will go to the winningest drivers ranked between 11 and 20. Stewart looks outside the competitors in the 11th place. Newman is in the eighth.