Newman Back In Victory Lane

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Ryan Newman returned to Victory Lane for the first time in 77 races on Saturday night after he took advantage of a late race caution and a two-tire pit stop to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Kyle Busch appeared to be cruising to a victory and a sweep of the Phoenix weekend after his Nationwide Series win on Friday night, but a caution came out when Scott Riggs slammed the Turn 3 wall and set up an overtime green-white-checkered finish.

As the leaders ducked into pit road, several opted for two tires including Newman and Jeff Gordon. Busch took four and lost several positions in the process.

On the final restart, Newman edged ahead of Gordon and stayed there for the final two laps to score his first win since joining Stewart-Haas Racing.

“I saw the white flag and I said, ‘I don’t have that far to go,’" said Newman, who last scored a win in the 2008 Daytona 500. “It’s the most emotional victory I’ve had in my career."

The two-tire stop helped Newman jump six positions in the standings to 16th with the win.

"Track position was real important," Newman said of the pit call. "I think the two tires were a good call because the track cooled off there was a little more grip with two tires. Two tires earlier in the day weren't good enough. But (crew chief) Tony Gibson and everybody did a great job. We've come so far as a team. To get to this point obviously is a great thing."

Gordon was forced to settle for second after coming up short on the restart.

“I just spun my tires on the restart and Ryan got inside of me on Turn 1,” Gordon said. “After that, it was just game over.”

Jimmie Johnson led 113 laps en route to a third-place finish that helped him maintain his series points lead.

Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya, who led 104 laps, rounded out the top five.

Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Busch, Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano completed the first ten finishers.

The race got off to a rough start for Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin on lap 15 when the trio tangled in turns 1 and 2. The damage knocked all three from contention.

"I thought I gave him lots of room, and I'm pretty sure he just got loose and came up," Kahne said. "Basically he hit me as he was spinning sideways.

Hamlin, making his first start after ACL knee surgery ten days ago, was able to continue and finished the entire race despite having Casey Mears standing by as a relief driver. He finished 30th.

“I knew that if I got out of the car, I was going to hear all kinds of stuff from everyone else saying I gave up on the team. That’s one thing I’m not going to do, is give up on these guys,” Hamlin said.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Texas Motor Speedway for next Sunday's Samsung Mobile 500.

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