KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – If there truly are races Ryan Newman circles on his calendar at the beginning of each season as races where he and his No. 39 Aspen Dental team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) should be the class of the field, there’s no doubt one of those is this weekend.
After all, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon has been the site of three (September 2002 and 2005 and July 2010) of Newman’s 16 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins and six of the Aspen Dental driver’s 49 career poles.
In fact, New Hampshire was the site of Newman’s first points-paying Sprint Cup victory during his rookie season in 2002. On that September afternoon, the South Bend, Ind., native started from the pole and dominated the rain-shortened race, leading 143 of 207 laps.
The second victory came three years later in September 2005. Newman, who had narrowly squeaked into the inaugural Chase for the Championship, used pit strategy to gain the lead late in the race after starting 13th. In the closing laps,...