Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 9/1/14

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 10: Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway on October 10, 2009 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images for NASCAR)
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Be in the right place at the right time for opportunity, and success will find you. It sounds simple enough. In fact, Ryan Newman found himself in that very position at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway one year ago, and found his way to victory lane. However, it’s never really that easy, is it? In a race that saw the Quicken Loans driver experience more downs than ups, many, including Newman himself, wrote off the No. 39 team as a contender. While entering the pits during the first caution of the day on lap 99, Newman was dinged for a pit-road speeding penalty that forced him to restart the race from the end of the longest line, in 21st place. On lap 218, Newman fell victim to the rapid race pace, losing a lap to leader Jeff Gordon. However, Newman and the No. 39 team refused to give up, fighting for every spot on the racetrack. The team made adjustments to dial in the balance of its racecar and, as the laps wound down, they realized they had a chance, after all. In the waning stages of the race, Newman moved as high as sixth, quietly stalking the leaders. A late-race caution on lap 498 – two laps from the scheduled finish – set off the events that led to Newman’s first win at Martinsville. Under the caution flag, Newman opted to hit pit road for right-side tires. He restarted fifth on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish on lap 504. On the ensuing restart, Clint Bowyer tried to make it three-wide as the field raced toward turn one. But an ambitious move by Bowyer led to contact between his car and those of Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Newman quickly dove to the inside of the spinning trio to take the lead as the caution was displayed on lap 505. He was able to hold off A.J. Allmendinger on the final restart to pull away on the last lap for the victory. So, it wasn’t exactly a Sunday drive for Newman. In fact, it was quite the opposite. But he still had to be at the right place at the right time not only to contend for the win, but to actually do it. It certainly was not given to him. With that being said, it would be expected Newman feels confident about his chances in Sunday’s STP Gas Booster 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville. He’s always pointed at the No. 39 team’s short-track program as its strong suit. However, Newman is quick to point out that, just because you’re the defending race winner, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll easily repeat the feat. RYAN NEWMAN, Driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing: Talk about winning this race one year ago. “We were way off early in the race, we weren’t a winning car. But, once we got our lap back, we were good. I went to go past (Clint) Bowyer, he blocked and I gave him room and he clipped the curb. If he hadn’t clipped the curb, he may have won, but it gave me an opening and I took it. I knew I had track position and the bottom line. My biggest goal was to keep (Dale Earnhardt) Junior three-wide and me on the inside. I knew if I could keep the 22 (A.J. Allmendinger) on the outside, I knew it would be better. Then we drove away. It was a win, and that’s what we’re here for.” From a driver’s point of view, what does it take to be successful at Martinsville? What do you go through in the car and what is your thought process?  “Martinsville is very much a finesse racetrack – from a braking standpoint, but also the acceleration part of it, too. You can really chew your tires up on the concrete before you get to the asphalt getting back to the gas, and you have to get back to the gas, but how you do it can make a really big difference in how good your car is for a whole fuel run. A fuel run there is roughly 110 to 120 laps, and you only get three or four times to do that. Tires are important but, if the race goes green for a long time, you can go a lap down by not managing your racecar. For me, I’m thinking about who’s around me, what to expect at the start of the race, how good the car is, what we need to work on, those kind of things. Sometimes your competition is more you than anybody else.” The No. 39 team has a history of doing well at short tracks. What is it about short tracks that you like?  “I like using the middle (brake) pedal. In all seriousness, I think it adds another parameter of a driver’s input when you have to modulate that third pedal. We have to go to places like Las Vegas and you’re using very little brake. When you are using a little bit, it’s hard to screw it up. I think our team has done a really good job with the brake package we have. I like the short tracks. I like having the character added to the program of modulating the brake. In my opinion, the driver has a little more of an impact on the end result at short tracks than some of the bigger racetracks, and I like that. The more the drivers are involved, the more I think you get to race and, from that standpoint, I think it’s more fun.”

Minor league salaries challenged in antitrust lawsuit

Joseph Fauria tweets that Russell Wilson stole his gal?

Brady: 'Blame CBS and NBC' for putting in-game swearing on air

Big 12 may look to expand, hold football title game

LeBron may wear 'I Can't Breathe' shirt for royal visit

Jeff Fisher trolls Robert Griffin III during coin toss


Jim Harbaugh chats with Raiders owner before game

Report: Singletary expected to get head coaching job

TCU players furious about College Football Playoff snub

Ex-Redskin London Fletcher blasts Jim Haslett

Report: Ngata took Adderall to keep up with his kids

Brian Hoyer unlikely to be with Browns in 2015

S.I. names Madison Bumgarner 'Sportsman of the Year'

Quit whining and just enjoy the College Football Playoff

10 takeaways from NFL Week 14

WATCH: Refs fist-bump after Broncos TD

WATCH: Revolution player helps Galaxy keeper up, tosses him

WATCH: Steve Smith gets into it with Dolphins fan

WATCH: Manziel has classic reaction to Hoyer overthrow

WATCH: Elton John falls out of chair during tennis match

WATCH: Joseph Fauria twerks after scoring touchdown

WATCH: Chris Baker does 'hands up, don't shoot' after sack

Five reasons Oregon can win the College Football Playoff

WATCH: Jets WR makes great catch while being tackled

Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Russell Wilson stole Joseph Fauria's gal?

Brady blames TV for airing his swearing

10 takeaways from NFL Week 14

Jeff Fisher trolls RG3 with coin toss

Steve Smith gets into it with Dolphins fan

WATCH: Joe Fauria twerks after TD

TCU players furious over playoff snub

London Fletcher blasts Jim Haslett

Bush wears 'I Can't Breathe' shirt

Saints, Panthers get into scrum

Report: Haloti Ngata reveals reason for Adderall use

Here's why Derrick Rose is the man

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.