Less than 48 hours after learning he will drive without three of his team members for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, Ryan Newman emerged from his No. 31 hauler Friday morning calm and composed.
There was no blowup reaction to final appeals officer Bryan Moss’ ruling late Wednesday, which cited a “preponderance of evidence” that Richard Childress Racing was justly punished for a tire violation in March.
But even without any visible anger, Newman made it clear he wasn’t happy with the decision.
“I was obviously disappointed. I don’t believe at all in the outcome of it,” Newman said. “But in the end, it doesn’t really matter. I’ve got to get focused on this weekend and the chase for the championship. It’s as simple as that. That’s all behind us now.”
Newman’s crew chief, Luke Lambert, along with tire technician James Bender and race engineer Philip Surgen, will begin serving six-race suspensions Saturday and therefore miss the Sprint Cup Series SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Newman was also docked 50 points — which drops him to 14th place in the Sprint Cup Series standings. NASCAR took tires from his team following a March race at Auto Club Speedway in California and ruled they had been manipulated.
Newman said Friday that his crew had done nothing improper.
“That’s why we feel like we had a compelling case to win” the appeal, Newman said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Instead, Newman will be driving Saturday with Todd Parrott as his interim crew chief.
“My focus has always been on the track. Obviously the focus changes a little bit without having Luke and a couple of the other guys there, but we’ve established a good B-team that we have a lot of confidence in, and we’re focused on that,” Newman said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the race car company is just as competitive as it’s ever been.”