PHILADELPHIA — Ryan Newman is about out of time to make the Chase for the Championship field.
Newman is 15th in the Sprint Cup standings, 118 points behind Clint Bowyer for the final spot with two races left to qualify for the 12-driver, 10-race Chase. Jamie McMurray is 13th (100 points behind Bowyer) and Mark Martin is 14th (101 back) heading into Sunday night's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The field will be set after the Sept. 11 race at Richmond.
"It's a legit shot," Newman said, "But it's not the shot we would have preferred."
Newman won in April at Phoenix to snap a 77-race Cup winless streak but has not had a top-five finish since, putting the Stewart-Haas Racing driver in precarious position.
He finished sixth on Aug. 21 at Bristol and likely needs at least that type of finish — plus misfortune for the drivers ahead of him — to get to 12th. As for history, Newman has one win and six top fives in 34 career races at Atlanta and Richmond.
But if the pressure is building inside the driver of the No. 39 Chevy, Newman won't show it.
"I don't change the way I race because of it. I don't change my approach," Newman said.
He sure won't change his car, though it was tempting to pluck one of the more than 60 racing sports cars Wednesday on his tour at a Philadelphia museum. Newman, a classic car collector, showed great appreciation and knowledge at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. The museum boasts it has the "rarest and most significant racing sports cars ever built."
"You've got the sickness, too," a smiling Newman said to collector and retired neurosurgeon Frederick Simeone.
Simeone led Newman on a tour of cars that range from a 1909 American Underslung to a 2002 NASCAR Dyno Mule.
Newman perked up when he saw a Triumph TR5 — a 1974 Triumph TR6 was his first car.
"Anyone can have a '57 Chevy," he said.
Newman rattled off a list of antique cars he keeps at his personal garage, like a 1928 Ford Roadster.
And he would love to add his 2008 Daytona 500 winning car, from when he drove for Roger Penske at Penske Racing, to his collection. Newman left Penske's team at the end of that season.
"I think R.P. is going to have controlling interest in that one for a while," Newman said. "Hopefully at some point in my career, I can acquire it."
The site of his biggest career win might have derailed his Chase chances this season. He was 34th and 26th at Daytona; add in a 35th at Talladega and it's no wonder that Newman says he'd be jostling down the stretch for a high seed in the Chase were it not for the three restrictor-plate races.
Newman also said he hasn't spoken to Joey Logano since the two tangled on the track in August at Michigan. Logano's car got loose and tapped the left rear fender of Newman's car, causing Newman to spin out with 53 laps left. Newman confronted Logano after the race, but NASCAR officials stepped in before the situation escalated.
"When somebody crashes you and tells you you're to blame, that's the end of the story," Newman said. "What else do you say? … When somebody crashes you, you just say, 'Hey, man, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get into you.' He never said that."