Newman Ends Winless Drought
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on March 19, 2017 | 6:50 P.M. EST
"We had a good car all day. We kept it out of trouble and collected in the end." (Photo: Getty Images)
Ryan Newman ended a 127-race winless streak with his victory in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway.
Newman stayed out when a late race caution flew to inherited the lead. On a green-white-checkered restart he got the jump on Kyle Larson and was able to take his first checkered flag since 2013.
“I’ve lost count; that’s how long it’s been,” Newman said. “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.”
It was the first victory in Cup for RCR since Kevin Harvick at Phoenix in November 2013. Newman, who joined RCR in 2014, hadn’t won since the July 2013 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Stewart-Haas Racing.
Larson has now finished runner-up in four of the last five races, including the last three.
“Dang it,” Larson said. “I wish I wouldn't have gotten sideways in 1 and 2 ... I would've gotten close to him. This one stinks." (Read More)
Kyle Busch (Read More), Ricky Stenhhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. (Update: No. 2 Ford Fails Post-Race Inspection)
Harvick, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin completed the first 10 finishers.
Logano and Elliott won the first two stages of the day.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series completes the west coast swing next Sunday with a visit to Auto Club Speedway.
How Newman Won: Kyle Busch looked like he would run away to the win until Joey Logano blew a tire and hit the wall to bring out the caution. That allowed Newman to make the decision to stay out rather than pit and take the lead, which turned out to be the winning move. When the green flag reappeared, Newman got a great restart on Larson and pulled away for the win.
Who Had a Good Day: Larson finished runner-up in four of the last five races including the last three, last driver to finish runner-up in three straight races was Carl Edwards in November 2011...Stenhouse scored his first top-10 finish since he finished fifth at Talladega in October 2016 (Read More)...Rookies Suarez and Jones scored their best career finishes on Sunday (Read More)…Hamlin came back from a flat tire earlier in the race to finish inside the top-10.
Who Had a Bad Day: Matt Kenseth was heading toward the front of the field until he blew a tire and made hard contact with the wall. He was knocked out of the race and credited with a 37th-place finish...David Ragan also cut a tire and spun into Gray Gaulding sending both cars into the wall and out of the race…Kurt Busch battled battery problems again this year and limped home to a 25th-place finish…Ryan Blaney started outside the front row but brake and handling issues doomed him to a 23rd-place finish.
What Else Happened: The race had a lot of the same characteristics as last week’s stop at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There was some exciting racing at the end of each segment but once drivers got in front in the final stage, with Kyle Busch leading the way, they stretched the lead. But also like last week in Vegas, a late turn of events changed the complexion of the race and this week it was Newman seizing the opportunity.
Quotable: "Everything's great ... Overall we should be proud of our run today," Kyle Busch, repeating a portion of his Friday media availability.
Notable: Newman scored the 106th career Cup win for RCR…Keselowski has finished top-five in each of the last three races of 2017…Harvick scored his eighth straight top-10 finish at Phoenix.
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