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From the Marbles

2012 season in the rear view: Ryan Newman

Vitals: 14th in the points standings. 1 win, 6 top 5s, 14 top 10s. 5 DNFs.

Moment to remember: Ryan Newman, king of the stealth victory. His only win in 2010 came when he held off a race dominating Jeff Gordon after a late two-tire pit stop for track position at Phoenix. And his only win in 2012? Well that was even stealthier.

Newman was third on the inside line after a late-race caution for David Reutimann, and he made contact with Clint Bowyer's bumper before they dove into turn one. Bowyer was committed to the inside line and had a ton of momentum. Too much, in fact. There was no room for he and Gordon and Jimmie Johnson side-by-side-by-side in Martinsville's tight corners, and the three went around, opening the door for Newman to take the lead and hold on for the win.

Moment to forget: With three races to go in the race to the Chase, Newman was ahead of both Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch for the final Wild Card Chase berth. But then Newman crashed at Bristol after contact with old nemesis Juan Pablo Montoya and finished 36th.

And then, to add insult to injury, Newman crashed the following week at Atlanta.

The wrap: Those two races -- two of Newman's three worst finishes on the season -- couldn't have come at a worse time, as they dropped him from 13th to 17th in the points standings. Newman was never a true title threat all season, but in typical Newman style, racked up enough top 10 finishes to stay in the Chase conversation for most of the season.

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