NASCAR driver Ryan Newman started Sunday's race at Bristol Motor Speedway searching for his first win of the season. However, he nearly wrecked his No. 6 Ford Mustang near the beginning of the Supermarket Heroes 600. He spun out on the eighth lap and narrowly avoided a massive collision with other drivers.
The incident occurred when Newman took the inside lane on one of the short track's corners. He did not touch any of the other vehicles but started to slide sideways down the straightaway. Newman was able to maneuver his car out of the danger zone while other drivers zoomed by. He also brought the Mustang to a halt short of the concrete wall and avoided taking any damage.
Early trouble for Ryan Newman! pic.twitter.com/TBkKa19Kao— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 31, 2020
According to commentator Jeff Gordon, Newman spun due to the "traction compound" on the track. Bristol Motor Speedway uses something called PJ1 traction compound to give a better grip during the early portions of the races and provide opportunities for more passes. Additionally, driver Kyle Busch explained that the traction compound gives the inside lane a "groove" and helps the cars go two-wide. The outside lane isn't inherently faster than the inside.
Newman was able to avoid major issues stemming from the "Bristol Bite" and continued fighting for position after the yellow caution flag. He made his way to 15th place while competing against Austin Dillon and several other drivers. By lap 51, he dropped back to 17th.
Bristol Motor Speedway is known for exciting and hectic races due to it only being 0.533 miles long. This is one of NASCAR's shortest tracks and features constant fights for position among drivers. Some have explained that there is "no room for error" on Bristol due to its length and close-quarters racing.
The veteran in Newman avoided major damage during his early spin, but a collision between other drivers caused some issues. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. bumped into Ryan Blaney's car on another early lap. He caused some damage to the other vehicle, but the two drivers avoided a caution flag or a major wreck. Although the fans continued to refer to Stenhouse as "Wrecky."
The incidents occurred prior to 50 laps, leaving plenty of time for future action. The Supermarket Heroes 500 features 500 laps around the short track and several competition cautions. With Newman avoiding a race-ending crash early, he put himself in a position to fight for a top spot.