Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Ryan Newman had always dreamed of winning
a race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Newman, who grew up roughly 150 miles north of this historic 2.5-mile
racetrack, won the Brickyard 400 after benefiting from a two-tire pit stop
late in the race and then outrunning Jimmie Johnson in the closing laps.
With 26 laps remaining, Newman pitted for just two new right-side tires.
Johnson, who had led 73 of 160 laps, made his last stop one lap before Newman,
but the five-time Sprint Cup Series champion and four-time Brickyard 400
winner opted for a four-tire change, which took 17.2 seconds and cost him
valuable track position.
After the cycle of green-flag stops was completed with 12 laps to go, Newman
grabbed the lead for good, holding a three-second advantage over Johnson at
the time. Newman went on to beat Johnson at the finish by 2.7 seconds for his
first Brickyard 400 victory in his 13th attempt.
"I don't realize it yet. It's a dream come true," said Newman, who is in his
fourth and final season as driver of the No. 39 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas
Racing. "If it hits you all at once, then it's not good enough. It will take a
week or so for this to set in...Just a great run today. Happy it stayed green
(in the closing laps). We needed that. Jimmie did a good job, and he had a
Newman became the third driver to win this prestigious 400-mile event at Indy
from the pole, joining Kevin Harvick (2003) and Johnson (2008). On Saturday,
he won the top starting position with a new track qualifying record. Johnson
held the provisional pole until Newman, who was the last driver to qualify in
the 45-car field, topped him with a lap at 187.531 mph.
Newman led the first 29 laps before he made his first pit stop.
It was the 17th career Sprint Cup win for Newman but his first since April
2012 at Martinsville (50 races ago).
"Starting on the pole and winning the race is just an awesome day for us," he
said. "(Crew chief) Matt Borland made an awesome call. I've won more races
with him on old tires, I guess, than I have with four new tires and the best
Johnson, the current points leader, was attempting to win at Indy for the
fifth time and tie Formula One legend Michael Schumacher for most victories at
this track. His lead has now stretched to 75 points over Clint Bowyer, who
"It's definitely a disappointment there," Johnson said. "But this is racing
and stuff happens. We win as a team and lose as a team."
Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kasey Kahne, finished third, while
Newman's team owner, Tony Stewart, also an Indiana native, took the fourth
"He did an awesome job all weekend, getting on the pole," Stewart said. "It
was down to him and the 48 car (Johnson). That was easy to see. I didn't know
what the strategy was going to be at the end, and I just kept looking up at
the (scoring) board. I was scared to ask where he was at and how big of a lead
he had. Finally with three (laps) to go, I couldn't wait any longer. I asked
and wanted to know. I didn't want to jinx him."
Matt Kenseth finished fifth, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. bounced back from a one-
lap deficit early in the race to finish sixth. Earnhardt had to pit
unexpectedly on lap 13 when he experienced a loose wheel. He got back on the
lead lap during the first caution, which occurred on lap 60.
This race featured three cautions but none for accidents. Rookie Timmy Hill
lost power and slowed on the track on two separate occasions, while Jeff
Burton stopped on the backstretch when he suffered a broken rear gear. Both
drivers returned later on. All 43 competitors finished the race.
Jeff Gordon was seventh, followed by Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle
Busch, who started on the pole and won Saturday's Nationwide Series race here.
Danica Patrick, who is Newman's teammate at SHR, finished two laps down in
30th in her first Brickyard 400 start.
With the win, Newman moved up three positions to 16th in the point standings.
He is presently third in the wild card rankings. Stewart and Martin Truex Jr.,
who finished 11th, hold the two wild card spots, as six races remain before
the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins. Stewart won at Dover and
Truex scored the victory at Sonoma last month.
"We still have the championship to go after, and we still have the Chase to
chase," Newman said. "There's still plenty of racing left. It's a great day
for us in points."
The Sports Network