At one of the most historic tracks on the NASCAR circuit, the Coca-Cola Racing Family had one of its best collective showings of the season.
At the forefront was Ryan Newman, collecting his first victory of the season and 17th of his career in his hometown state. His Stewart-Haas Racing teammate (and owner), Tony Stewart, himself finished fourth while Joey Logano rallied from two poor outings to take 15th.
All in all, it was a great day for the group, which now heads to Pocono Raceway.
A roundup on the Coca-Cola Racing Family in order of how they finished at Indianapolis:
Ryan Newman (No. 39)
Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet
Recap: Newman's win was emotional in many ways. It came in his home state, at a historic track, for one. And it came weeks after Stewart-Haas Racing announced Newman would not return for the 2014 season. For a guy without a job right now, Sunday's win goes a long way to ensuring Newman's Cup career will continue somewhere. He won the 50th Coors Light Pole of his career the day before the race and asserted himself as a legitimate contender for Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Quotable: "I know it's an amazing feeling. I was more emotional (Saturday) after winning the pole than I was two laps after doing my donuts and everything else today. I'm not sure why. I took an emotional hit. Just an awesome day. ? Probably the best racecar I have ever driven in my entire life. I watched Jimmie (Johnson), kept quiet. I wanted to see who I was placing. Thank Quicken Loans, Chevrolet, Sprint, all the sponsors we have. Tony Stewart, Stewart Haas Racing, they gave us all the tools we needed all weekend and all year."
His standing: Newman is 16th in the standings with 534 points.
Outlook: There's a few different ways Newman can get into the postseason. The practically guaranteed way is to win another race, which would give him two for the season and vault him to the top of the Wild Card standings. If Jeff Gordon (currently in 10th) slips out of the top 10 and either Tony Stewart or Martin Truex Jr. climb into that spot, then Newman would also be in the postseason -- provided no one ranked higher than him outside the top 10 steals a victory.
Tony Stewart (No. 14)
Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet
Recap: Stewart didn't capture his third career win at the Brickyard, but he did finish fourth to creep closer to the top 10 in the standings. Perhaps more than that, 'Smoke' watched good friend Ryan Newman celebrate in Victory Lane. The two remain close, even though Newman won't be retained by the team Stewart owns.
Quotable: "Oh my God, what a dream. I've been waiting for the day we could get Ryan in victory lane at a big one like this. Man, it's just awesome. Ryan did an awesome job getting on the pole and an awesome job all day. He and Matt Borland (crew chief) and everyone on the Quicken Loans team executed perfectly. I'm proud of all of our guys because we had a solid day too. Our Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy was quick. We had great Hendrick horsepower. You look up at the board there and see six cars in the top-seven that are Hendrick engines. That pretty much tells you where the power is."
His standing: Stewart is 11th in the standings with 558 points.
Outlook: As new drivers continue to win, it might behoove Stewart to get into the top 10 in the standings. Certainly, that's the goal -- along with picking up another win or two. Maybe it'll come this week. Stewart typically does well at Pocono and has three consecutive top-fives at the Tricky Triangle. You can, at the least, expect a good finish. In his 29 starts, Stewart has 21 top-10s.
Joey Logano (No. 22)
Penske Racing, Ford
Recap: No pesky tire issues for Joey Logano this week. As a result, the young driver finished eighth at Indianapolis after consecutive 40th-place finishes due to blowing tires in consecutive races. He needs to continue to gain points, and almost certainly needs to win. He has a win at Pocono, where the Cup Series heads this week.
Quotable: "We just weren't quite as fast as we needed to be. We led some laps but the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was just so fast plus he had new tires. We lost a little there and then we had some issues on pit road today that cost us about three or four spots. I feel like we could have finished in the top five and am proud of the effort the guys put into this car. We weren't really sure how we were going to be. I am glad we got a decent finish again and hopefully we get these troubles out of the way and get back on a top-10 streak and make up the points we've lost the last two weeks."
His standing: Logano is 18th in the standings with 524 points.
Outlook: Yes, Logano is 18th in the standings right now. The standings are tight, though. He's less than 40 points behind 10th-place Jeff Gordon and just 10 points behind 16th-place Ryan Newman. A win, and Logano is right back in this thing.
Denny Hamlin (No. 11)
Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota
Recap: Hamlin can't catch a break. He finished 18th at Indianapolis despite starting fourth and having what appeared to be a quick No. 11 Toyota. But it didn't take long for Hamlin to slide back through the field. On a positive note, the finish was Hamlin's best in the past six races. Then again, that's not very good at all.
Quotable: Hamlin was unavailable for comment.
His standing: Hamlin is 25th in the standings with 388 points.
Outlook: Hamlin has repeatedly said he won't have season-ending back surgery. Expect the No. 11 team to try and grind out this season, and perhaps steal a win along the way.
Greg Biffle (No. 16)
Roush Fenway Racing, Ford
Recap: The Biff has a win in his back pocket, but he still can't slide too far down the standings. He remained eighth place in the overall points race following a 24th-place effort, but many thought this could be a race where Biffle moved up in the standings. He usually runs well at Indianapolis, but his team just missed it this week. While Biffle didn't lose ground in his position, he's only seven points ahead of 11th-place Tony Stewart, his Coca-Cola Racing Family teammate.
Quotable: Biffle was not available for comment.
His standing: Biffle is eighth in the standings with 565 points.
Outlook: The No. 16 team should welcome the circuit's return to Pocono. Biffle's runner-up finish at the Tricky Triangle halted a six-race skid, and he followed that up by winning at Michigan.
Danica Patrick (No. 10)
Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet
Recap: Patrick had great success at Indianapolis while driving for IndyCar, but that didn't translate over to Cup competition -- at least not on her first attempt. Danica finished 30th and was never really in the race.
Quotable: "I just kind of kept with it and hoped to catch a break somewhere, or that the car would get a lot better, and it just kind of stayed real steady. We took two tires on one of the stops and we got track position out of it but, unfortunately, it just didn't run very well. So, we tried something, it just didn't work, and that's that. It just was what it was. When we came into this weekend, I said 'OK, I'm not going to try to take anything from the car that it doesn't really have' and, unfortunately, that's what we had today. Or, that's what I had today. I said it all week, that this is a special place and always will be. It would have been nice to have a better day than this and be able to march forward. We just didn't. And that's just all there is to it. Sometimes, these are just the days you have. So, that's all right. We'll roll on to Pocono and hope for better."
Her standing: Patrick is 26th in the standings with 364 points.
Outlook: Danica returns to Pocono with a notebook full of information from her first trip there, where she finished 29th.
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