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Newman holds off Gordon in 1-5 Chevy sweep

NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix
Sunday, April 11, 2010

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Ryan Newman takes the checkered flag ahead of Jeff Gordon
CIA Stock Photo
Capitalizing on a late caution that extended Saturday's Subway Fresh Fit 600 three laps past its scheduled distance of 375 laps, Ryan Newman and crew chief Tony Gibson snatched victory from Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch with a two-tire call under the final caution.

Both Busch and Johnson took four tires on Lap 373, under caution for Scott Riggs' blown tire in Turn 4 one lap earlier. Gordon, who took two tires and left pit road with the lead, spun his tires on the decisive restart on Lap 377, allowing Newman to surge into the top spot.

After two circuits under green at the flat one-mile track, Newman crossed the finish line .130 seconds ahead of Gordon to win his 14th NASCAR Sprint Cup race and his first since the 2008 Daytona 500—a 77-race drought.

Johnson charged from seventh to third during the green-white-checkered-flag finish. Mark Martin, also on two tires for the final restart, ran fourth, one position ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya. Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano completed the top 10.

Johnson extended his lead in the series standings to 36 points over Kenseth in second and to 96 over third-place Greg Biffle, who finished 22nd Saturday.

"I've got to throw Gibson under the bus—he wanted to go four, and I said, 'Just give me two,' Newman said. "I liked the track position. I'd rather block than have to boot. I was in a good position there, obviously.

"I had restarted on the bottom side earlier tonight and could not get going. On two tires, I was kind of impressed—but there were a lot of cars behind us with two tires. It was a good situation to be in. It was just the right time, right place."

Busch and Johnson had dominated the two long green-flag runs that preceded the two-lap dash to the finish. In fact, Busch, who tied Johnson for most laps led with 113, stayed out front from the time he passed Johnson on Lap 262 until Riggs' accident 110 laps later.

"I can't freaking believe this," Busch lamented on the radio to crew chief Dave Rogers when the ninth and final yellow flag flew. "What do you want to do?"

Busch and Rogers opted for four tires. Johnson made the same call for his No. 48 team.

"I was excited to see the caution come out, because it was an opportunity to win," Johnson said. "I decided—I made the call for four tires. It's the first time that I can remember in a long time that I actually said what I wanted for a pit stop, with the way Martinsville played out and Bristol and last night's (Nationwide) race (where four-tire calls proved successful). I knew with the green-white checkered there weren't a lot of laps, but I felt we might get a caution with everybody racing so hard.

"So I made the call for four and made the most of it. We got from seventh to third and just did what we could. So, not a bad night at all. Excited to see us stretch out the points a little bit and get another top-five finish here."

Racing for the first time since March 31 surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, Denny Hamlin completed the race in 30th place, two laps down.

Asked after the race if he was in pain, Hamlin replied, "More than I can tell you. I'm pretty sure I didn't do any damage or anything like that, but I'm absolutely exhausted right now."

Hamlin had Casey Mears standing by as a relief driver, but opted not to use him.

"I got a lot of encouragement from the team," said Hamlin, who fell three spots to 18th in the standings. "Through thick and thin, we're a team. I feel like they'd give their left leg for me and do everything they could do to make sure we were successful, and I felt like it was my duty and my job and that's what I'm hired to do, is to try to do the best I can and keep this team as good as we can."

Notes: Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 12th and held on to 10th in the Cup standings. … A one-lap penalty for pitting outside his box dropped Jeff Burton to 25th at the finish. … Polesitter AJ Allmendinger came home 15th. … Kyle Busch, Logano and Edwards supplanted Paul Menard (29th Saturday), Kurt Busch (35th) and Brian Vickers (37th) in the top 12. … Newman improved six positions to 16th in points.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 14 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Tornados 190/5 378 Running
2 10 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 175/5 378 Running
3 16 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 175/10 378 Running
4 23 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 160/0 378 Running
5 7 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 160/5 378 Running
6 27 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal Black 155/5 378 Running
7 9 99 Carl Edwards Ford Subway 146/0 378 Running
8 17 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 152/10 378 Running
9 25 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 138/0 378 Running
10 6 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 134/0 378 Running
11 4 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Kingsford / Bush's Beans 130/0 378 Running
12 5 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy 127/0 378 Running
13 24 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 124/0 378 Running
14 33 7 Robby Gordon Toyota BAMVIP.com / Blake Shelton 121/0 378 Running
15 1 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Valvoline 123/5 378 Running
16 22 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge Abyss by Mobigloo 115/0 378 Running
17 8 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 112/0 378 Running
18 3 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 109/0 378 Running
19 29 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 106/0 378 Running
20 39 00 David Reutimann Toyota Best Western 103/0 378 Running
21 2 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 100/0 378 Running
22 30 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 97/0 378 Running
23 11 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot "Greener Shipping" / Old Spice 99/5 378 Running
24 13 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 91/0 378 Running
25 15 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 88/0 378 Running
26 28 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 85/0 378 Running
27 40 71 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet TRG Motorsports 82/0 378 Running
28 35 190 Scott Riggs Chevrolet Keyed-Up Motorsports 79/0 378 Running
29 32 98 Paul Menard Ford Moen / Menards 76/0 378 Running
30 26 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office / March of Dimes 73/0 376 Running
31 38 19 Elliott Sadler Ford Stanley 70/0 375 Running
32 36 37 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 72/5 374 Running
33 42 38 Kevin Conway * Ford Extenze 64/0 371 Running
34 43 46 Terry Cook * Dodge Whitney Motorsports 66/5 367 Running
35 19 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 58/0 366 Running
36 41 34 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 60/5 309 Out of Race
37 21 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 52/0 288 Running
38 18 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota PetSmart / 21st Century "The Future of Pet Health" 49/0 281 Out of Race
39 20 9 Kasey Kahne Ford Budweiser 46/0 276 Running
40 34 13 Max Papis Toyota GEICO 43/0 214 In Pit
41 37 135 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 40/0 161 In Pit
42 31 55 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 42/5 160 In Pit
43 12 66 Michael McDowell Toyota Prism Motorsports 39/5 149 In Pit

* Denotes Rookie

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