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2016 Season in Review: Ryan Newman

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 - Practice

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 14: Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 14, 2016 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Ryan Newman

CREW CHIEF: Luke Lambert

TEAM: Richard Childress Racing

POINTS: 18th

WINS: 0 (last win was 2013 Brickyard 400)

LAPS LED: 24 (second fewest of his Cup career)

TOP 5s: 2 (tied with 2006 and 2008 for career single-season low)

TOP 10s: 10 (third lowest of career)

POLES: 0 (last pole came in 2013)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: From a statistical standpoint, not much went right for Newman in 2016. … While he slightly improved his overall starting average (from 15.2 in 2015 to 14.1 in 2015), his average finish dropped from 13.5 in 2015 to 15.7 in 2016. … His best finish was third at Kentucky and fourth in the fall race at Charlotte.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Newman never could seem to get on track during the 2016 season. He rarely challenged for the lead and failed to finish three races (all due to crashes), up from one DNF in 2015. … Finished on the lead lap 24 times, the fewest in a season since 23 in 2012. … Newman earned the nickname “Rocket Man” for his proficiency at winning pole positions earlier in his career. While he has 51 overall, he has not earned a pole since the fall Chase race at Loudon in 2013 (118 consecutive races). … Failed to make the Chase for the first time since 2012. After finishing a career-best second in the 2013 standings, Newman has plummeted since, finishing 11th in 2015 and 18th in 2016.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2017: Unless something spectacular happens, Newman’s fourth season with Richard Childress Racing will likely be very similar to 2016. The team and entire organization continue to struggle for speed and track position. … The South Bend, Indiana native, who turned 39 on Dec. 8, will enter his 16th fulltime season in the NASCAR Monster Series. He’s still seeking his first championship, with his best finish to date being second in 2014.

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