Ryan Newman made his highly-anticipated return to stock car racing on Sunday during The Real Heroes 400. He was in the driver's seat of the No. 6 Ford Mustang once again, and he was thankful. Newman reflected on his day at Darlington Raceway with a simple tweet on Sunday evening.
The veteran driver posted a photo that showed the sun setting over The Lady in Black. He wrote that it was a "great day in America" and that he was thankful to get back to the track with his fellow drivers. Newman's return coincided with NASCAR's following a 10-week postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he had been out of action since crashing during the season-opening Daytona 500.
"It was a joy to see you back in the car [heart emoji]" one racing fan wrote in response to Newman's tweet. A multitude of others agreed and proclaimed that they were delighted that Newman had taken part in The Real Heroes 400 and that he had finished without incident. There was some initial concern among racing fans about how he would perform after so much time away, but Newman quickly proved that he was ready.
While he didn't finish in the top-10 drivers, Newman remained in contention throughout the race. He battled with peers such as Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano and Matt DiBenedetto and ultimately finished 15th, although there was one moment that caused racing fans to hold their breath briefly.
Newman was fighting for positioning with 40 laps remaining when his car went into a slide between Turns 3 and 4. He was able to regain control of the No. 6 Ford but lost all of his momentum, as well as multiple spots. According to commentator Jeff Gordon, Newman's car "got loose" on the turn.
This slipping was a common issue for several drivers during the afternoon's race due to Darlington Raceway being a "low-grip" track. Several prominent drivers such as William Byron, Martin Truex Jr. and Newman all had to make constant adjustments throughout the 293-lap event. Alex Bowman, who finished in second place, has built a reputation for succeeding on similar tracks, but he even experienced a slight issue with his car getting loose as he tried to secure the top spot.
The track caused issues for several drivers, but they will have a second opportunity to perform better on Wednesday night. NASCAR returns to Darlington Raceway for the second Cup Series race of the week, and Newman will start in prime position. He will begin the race in the sixth position. He will line up next to Blaney in lane three.