Ryan Newman Docked Points as Chase Approaches

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Ryan Newman was already in a tough position. The Richard Childress Racing driver has not registered a win in 2016. Therefore, in order to qualify for NASCAR’s Chase playoff system, he needs points. After the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington, Newman’s No. 31 car failed post-race inspection. NASCAR has issued the team a 15-point penalty for the infraction. A similar penalty was handed down to Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kyle Larson. However, Larson has a victory in 2016 and therefore a guaranteed Chase berth with his points standing. With Ryan Newman docked points for failed inspection, the No. 31 team’s Chase chances are in jeopardy.

Ryan Newman Docked Points as Chase Approaches

Before the Penalty

Ryan Newman finished eighth in the Bojangles’ Southern 500. This top-10 finish was exactly what the team needed, moving the No. 31 team closer to Jamie McMurray for a Chase berth. The finish had Newman just outside of the Chase looking in, seven points outside of the last spot. The final race before the Chase takes place in Richmond. Newman historically performs well in Richmond. Not only Newman, but the entire Richard Childress organization appears to shine at this racetrack. Being so close to a Chase berth with only Richmond remaining was the best position that Newman could put himself in. Having Ryan Newman docked points has changed the entire dynamic of the 2016 Chase.

Newman’s Chase Chances

When fighting for the final Chase spot, 15 points is a devastating blow. With this distance put between himself and Jamie McMurray, having Ryan Newman docked points leaves the team few options. Since the penalty came from failed post-race inspection, the team could file an appeal to have the penalty lifted. The team has faced serious points penalties before, and were quick to appeal. A successful appeal would return the 15 points to Newman’s team and put him back within striking distance to McMurray.

Otherwise, Newman’s chances are considerably slim. As previously mentioned, Newman is strong at Richmond. If Newman could muster up his first victory of 2016 at Richmond, he would clinch the final spot in the Chase. However, Newman’s performance has not been that of a serious contender. His eighth-place finish in Darlington put him in a good spot, but unfortunately NASCAR’s rulebook has taken him out of it.

Ultimately, it is unlikely that Ryan Newman will qualify for the Chase. This isn’t necessarily a direct result of his penalty. That said, the penalty did take away the ability to race his way into the Chase on points. In order to qualify for the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup, Ryan Newman must win Richmond. Going into one of NASCAR’s most notorious short tracks needing a win is far from a conservative approach.