2011 RESULTS 1 win, 9 top fives, 17 top 10s
2012 OUTLOOK After a consistent showing last year, Newman should be on the bubble to make the playoffs.
NEWMAN had one of the best seasons of his career in 2011. His success was easy to overlook—especially late in the year when his teammate, Tony Stewart, dashed to the title—but Newman, 34, piloted his number 39 Chevy to more top 10s (17) than he has had since '03. Like Stewart, Newman excels at driving a loose race car (meaning the back end slides up the track through the corners). Because they have similar driving styles, Newman and Stewart are constantly swapping ideas about lines around the track, which was one of the secrets to the success of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2011. Newman, who finished 10th in the final standings, should contend for at least a few wins.