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Newman Scores Surprise Win at Phoenix

by Brian Carroccio
Sunday, March 19, 2017

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Ryan Newman scored his 18th career NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series victory today at Phoenix
Ryan Newman scored his 18th career NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series victory today at Phoenix
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Opting to not come to pit road following a late-race caution, Ryan Newman was able to score a fortuitous win in today's Camping World 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The victory snapped a 127-race winless streak for the driver of the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet who lasted visit victory lane in the 2013 Brickyard 400. It was also the first victory for Richard Childress Racing since Kevin Harvick won the 2013 fall race at Phoenix.

Kyle Larson came home second in the No. 42 Credit Bank Chevrolet. Kyle Busch, who led 114 laps and seemed a sure bet for victory before a blown tire for Joey Logano brought out a caution with 8 laps remaining was third. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who also didn't pit following the late caution came home fourth, with Brad Keselowski fifth.

The early part of the race was dominated by pole sitter Joey Logano, who took the early lead and captured the opening Stage. However, following the restart at the beginning of Stage 2, Chase Elliott charged past Logano with an outside pass into Turn 1. The driver of the No. 24 Napa Chevrolet would go on to win Stage 2.

Shortly thereafter, Kyle Busch was able to move past Elliott in the pits. From there the No. 18 Skittles Toyota seemed to be in control of the proceedings. However, on a day in which a number of drivers suffered tire failures, the Goodyear on the right front of the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford would send Logano into the Turn 1 tire barrier with 8 laps remaining.

Busch and all but three drivers on the lead lap would come to pit road for fresh right-side tires for the restart, with Newman, Stenhouse and Martin Truex, Jr. opting to stay on the track.

“I’ve lost count; that’s how long it’s been. I’ve got to thank Grainger, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Monster Energy, for supporting our series, and Chevrolet," said Newman.

"The list goes on and on. What a gutsy call by (crew chief) Luke (Lambert). I called for two tires and he called for none. I’ve won more races no tires than I have with four. I’m just proud of these guys. We had a good car all day. We kept it out of trouble and collected in the end.”

“Trust me, I went into (Turn) 3 looking at my mirror. I knew he was down there; but it took my car forever to get going. I’m spent, man. I had the chills on lap 150. I’m done.”

“Everything’s great, we got a top five and that’s what we set out to do today and we got a third so we should be pumped about that and how good this Skittles Camry ran today," said Busch.

"It was awesome there at the end and the guys made some really good calls there at the end – Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys did a good job being able to make some good adjustments and make it feel better once we got out front.

"Thanks to my pit crew – the car really liked clean air. We just got caught up in traffic a little bit early in the race, but we were mindful of that and just kind of bided our time and got up to the front when we did, but we had a little miscue there on pit road with Kurt (Busch) and from there it was just too many cars that stayed out. If it was just two that stayed out maybe, but we really needed the outside like (Kyle) Larson had. Overall we should be proud of our run today and we will move on.”

“The guys gave me a great Skittles Camry today, that thing was fantastic there on the long runs and was really, really good and it had good speed to it, especially when we got out front. We kind of struggled a little bit in traffic, but the car liked the clean air and we were sitting pretty, but that’s racing.”

Logano wrecked - both his car and Kyle Busch's race
Logano wrecked - both his car and Kyle Busch's race
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

“My guys gave me an awesome Skittles Camry and there’s nothing else I could ask for from them. We were in the right position and we were in a great spot to win the race today, but unfortunately just didn’t happen for us and that’s racing.”

“We had a good car and that’s what it takes. When you have a good car you can run up front like that and we kind of missed it a little bit at Atlanta and we rebounded and tried to rebound a little bit at Vegas and had a shot for a top five there, but we weren’t able to capitalize on that, but we were today thankfully. It seems like every finish that’s destined for us it seems to end in a worse finish that day.”

With the advantageous outside line on the ensuing restart, Newman was able to hold the lead for the final two laps to score his 18th career NASCAR Monster Energy Series Cup victory.

After qualifying a disappointing 23rd, 8-time Phoenix winner Harvick came home sixth. Joe Gibbs Racing rookie Daniel Suarez earned a career best finish, placing seventh.

Fellow rookie Erik Jones validated an impressive day running consistently in the top-10 finishing eighth. Defending series champion Jimmie Johnson was ninth, while Denny Hamlin ended an up-and-down day coming home tenth.

The final leg of the three-race NASCAR Goes West stretch will be next Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Johnson, the 2016 winner, will look to score his sixth win at ACS.

Results

PosNo.DriverManuBehindGapLaps
131Ryan NewmanChevy0.0000.000314
242Kyle LarsonChevy0.3120.312314
318Kyle BuschToyota0.7680.456314
417Ricky Stenhouse JrFord1.2710.503314
52Brad KeselowskiFord1.2860.015314
64Kevin HarvickFord1.5340.248314
719Daniel SuarezToyota1.9060.372314
877Erik JonesToyota2.0190.113314
948Jimmie JohnsonChevy2.10.081314
1011Denny HamlinToyota2.2010.101314
1178Martin Truex JrToyota2.4770.276314
1224Chase ElliottChevy2.4880.011314
1314Clint BowyerFord2.7030.215314
1488Dale Earnhardt JrChevy2.7280.025314
151Jamie McMurrayChevy2.8020.074314
1613Ty DillonChevy2.8430.041314
1743Aric AlmirolaFord3.0040.161314
183Austin DillonChevy3.1090.105314
196Trevor BayneFord3.1830.074314
205Kasey KahneChevy3.2010.018314
2127Paul MenardChevy3.2820.081314
2210Danica PatrickFord3.5940.312314
2321Ryan BlaneyFord3.8730.279314
2495Michael McDowellChevy3.8990.026314
2541Kurt BuschFord3.9850.086314
2647AJ AllmendingerChevy4.0040.019314
2737Chris BuescherChevy9.6995.695314
2834Landon CassillFord-1-10.699313
2932Matt DiBenedettoFord-10.000313
3015Reed SorensonChevy-2-1.000312
3122Joey LoganoFord-7-5.000307
3251Timmy HillChevy-70.000307
3355Derrike CopeChevy-70.000307
3472Cole WhittChevy-58-51.000256
3538David RaganFord-110-52.000204
3623Gray GauldingToyota-113-3.000201
3720Matt KensethToyota-124-11.000190
3883Corey LaJoieToyota-199-75.000115
3933Jeffrey EarnhardtChevy-305-106.0009

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