It all came together for the US Army team on Sunday as Ryan Newman posted a solid seventh-place finish in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
After suffering through a series of misfortunes in the first four races of the season, the gremlins disappeared for the Stewart-Haas team over the Bristol weekend, culminating in Newman qualifying the #39 Army Chevrolet on the outside of the front row.
The momentum continued in the 503-lap overtime race at the high-banked half-mile, as Newman led 25 laps early and ran in the top ten for virtually the entire race to claim his best finish of the season so far.
"This is huge for team morale," he offered, "We got the monkey off our back. We knew that we were capable of this type of performance going into Daytona, but ran into a string of bad luck. It was a strong performance."
The rock-solid performance was truly a team effort according to the 31-year old driver.
"The guys on pit-road did a great job and [crew chief] Tony Gibson made good calls," he said, "We were strong off the truck on Friday and continued to make the car go faster and faster. We took advantage of what we had and that's exactly what we needed to do."
Gibson, who orchestrated the team's strategy, was obviously relieved with the overdue finish.
"Sooner or later, you know the luck is going to change and, when it turns around, you need to be ready for it," he explained, "We always had our heads up and nobody got down. Hopefully, this is the spark we need to get rolling."