September 12, 2017

Ryan Newman will make his 558th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the first event in the Playoffs. In 15 MENCS events at Chicagoland Speedway, Newman visited victory lane in 2003. The "Rocket Man" also owns one pole award in 2002. In total, he owns four top-five and nine top-10 finishes. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 10.5 and average finish of 14.1. In the last 10 events at Chicagoland, Newman ranks second in most driver points earned. In the last four Cup races, Ryan ranks sixth in most driver points earned.
#B31ieve ... Newman kicks off his eighth appearance in what is now known as the NASCAR Playoffs. His highest finish in the championship standings is second place while driving in his first season for RCR and crew chief Luke Lambert. Newman currently ranks 11th in the Playoff standings, 48 markers out of first.
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You are the 11th seed starting the Playoffs.  With Chicagoland being the first race, how do you feel about the current state of this No. 31 team?
"We are not where we need to be, but we are in a spot where we have a chance. We continue to work on things ... make the cars better, work on the pit stops, qualify better and even I need to improve. It is going to take everything. Obviously finishing in third and having four top-10s in the last five races is a good streak for us, but we must win. We have to put ourselves in position to win to get that guaranteed bye to the next round."
Does the pressure amp up for you and the team now that the Playoffs are starting?
"It doesn't amp up. I've been having fun. It's been less stressful than the past few years and the last 20-some races. Either way, these next 10 races, it's sure nice to be back in the Playoffs after missing it last year. It's a heck of a rebound for us to be back into the Playoffs and have a chance to win a championship."

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