“I don’t know what much else to say,” Ryan Newman said in the media center on Saturday after the Whelen NASCAR Modified Tour race at New Hampshire. “If you didn’t like that, then you need to find another hobby.”
With two laps to go, it looked as if another win at the Magic Mile was in the bag for the Cup Series veteran. The pole-sitter had just made a daring, three-wide pass for the lead that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
But a wild last lap, which saw Bobby Santos oust Chase Dowling by a bumper, sent Newman back to third by the finish.
“I was hoping [Santos and Dowling] were gonna wad each other up coming to the checkered, but nobody turned left hard enough and nobody turned right hard enough,” Newman added. “We were in a good position pretty much the whole race… Just good, hard racing.”
Still, it was refreshing for Newman to race in a series he feels is closer to the heart of short track racing.
“You watched it,” said Newman when asked why he chose to race a modified at New Hampshire. “That’s good racing. Good drivers. It’s fun, it’s simple. There ain’t a guy on the team that’s got a computer. It’s just racing the way it’s supposed to be, in my opinion.”
Newman is by no means on a mission to save short-track racing, but does enjoy giving it exposure when he is able to start in a ground pounder. His primary goal was simply to win.
“I don’t get in the race car and put my helmet on because I feel the responsibility to grassroots racing, but I want to know that I’m doing my best and it makes a difference for grassroots racing,” Newman said. “That makes me feel a little bit better, but it’s not my goal. My goal is to win.”
While he came up a bit short in that regard, The Rocket certainly made the Eastern Propane & Oil 100 a must-see affair.