Sunday, July 28, 2013

Late strategy helps Newman capture first Brickyard 400 win

Newman third driver to win from the pole 
Indiana native Ryan Newman and his team made a gutsy call Sunday to outsmart Jimmie Johnson and win the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Newman, who started on the pole and had the only car that could run with Johnson, grabbed the advantage by taking just two tires on his last green-flag pit stop while Johnson took four. When the rest of the leaders pitted, Newman held a 3.5-second lead over Johnson.

Newman, a Purdue graduate and native of South Bend, Ind., then held off the hard-charging Johnson to win for the first time at Indy.

Johnson, who won at Indy last year, finished second, followed by Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon.

The win was the first at Indy for Stewart-Haas Racing and the first as a car owner for Tony Stewart, who has won the race twice as a driver.

It is the first win of the season for Newman, who already has been told that he will not return to Stewart-Haas next year and is looking for a ride for 2014.

Beating Johnson, a four-time Brickyard 400 winner, should help.

"Thank you guys," Newman told his team after taking the checkered flag. "This is an awesome weekend. Thank you."

The win was the 17th of Newman's career and his fourth at Stewart-Haas. It also put him in contention for a Chase wild-car spot.

Johnson held the lead when the leaders pitted for the final time under green with 27 laps to go. Johnson pitted for four tires, but had a slow stop, spending just over 17 seconds in his pit stall.

Indiana natives both have Indy wins now 
Newman, who was running second, took just two tires and came back onto the track about seven seconds ahead of Johnson.

But with six drivers who still had to pit running ahead of them, Johnson began steadily cutting into Newman’s lead, trailing by just 3.6 seconds with 16 laps remaining.

Polesitter Ryan Newman led the first 29 laps of the race, but Johnson was faster on pit road during the first cycle of green-flag stops to take the lead.

Johnson then pulled away, stretching his lead to 3.5 seconds at one point. He was in command until a caution flag on Lap 80 prompted some drivers to stay out while others took just two tires on pit road.

Johnson moved back to the front during the next series of green-flag stops, however.

- Sporting News

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