Monday, July 29, 2013

Newman Wins the Brickyard 400

 Originally written for CLNS Radio.

After starting on the pole, Ryan Newman won the Brickyard 400 following a mistake on the final pit stops by Jimmie Johnson's crew.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Newman had a strong car all day, and led the first 28 laps from the pole.  He didn't take the lead again until there were just 27 laps to go, when Johnson made his final pit stop under green.  Johnson had a slow stop, and it allowed Newman to get ahead of him by seven seconds after his final pit stop.  When the rest of the leaders pitted, Newman took the lead and held Johnson off by three seconds to win the race.

The win was extremely special for Newman, who is an Indiana native.  Newman, born in South Bend, Indiana, grew up dreaming of winning at Indianapolis, and he said he was glad to have a good car to race at his hometown track.

"I knew we had a good car," Newman told ESPN.  "Starting on the pole and winning the race, this is a dream come true for me.  It'll take a week or so for this one to set in."

Johnson had the dominant car all day, leading 73 of 160 laps.  But it was an error on the set of final pit stops that caused Johnson to lose precious time to Newman.  Johnson made up four seconds on Newman, but he ran out of time before he could catch the Stewart-Haas driver.  Johnson said he was obviously disappointed after the race.

"There's definitely some disappointment there," said Johnson.  "But we win as a team and we lose as a team.  I wouldn't have it any other way."

The race was very calm, with long green-flag runs separated by only three cautions.  Newman took the lead when the green flag fell, but Johnson took the lead on lap 31 after the first round of green flag pit stops.  Johnson made his next pit stop on lap 55, and the first caution of the day came out on lap 60 when Timmy Hill slowed on the track.

Johnson led the field back to the green flag on lap 65, and he led until the next caution at lap 80 for a part failure by Jeff Burton.  Johnson lost the lead under the caution, when Brad Keselowski stayed out.  Keselowski led the field to the green flag on lap 87, but his teammate Joey Logano took the lead going through Turn 2.

Johnson took the lead again on lap 97 when Logano and Keselowski made green-flag pit stops.  Johnson pitted with 52 laps to go, and Timmy Hill slowed again to bring out the final caution on lap 114.  Johnson pitted with 27 laps to go, and his team had trouble with the right-rear tire, allowing Newman to get seven seconds ahead of him.  Newman took the lead with 11 laps to go when Keselowski pitted, and he ran away from Johnson to win for the first time at Indianapolis.  

Here are the unofficial results:

1. Ryan Newman
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kasey Kahne
4. Tony Stewart
5. Matt Kenseth
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. Jeff Gordon
8. Joey Logano
9. Juan Pablo Montoya
10. Kyle Busch
11. Martin Truex Jr.
12. Paul Menard
13. Carl Edwards
14. Kurt Busch
15. Jamie McMurray
16. Marcos Ambrose
17. Aric Almirola
18. Denny Hamlin
19. Kevin Harvick
20. Clint Bowyer
21. Brad Keselowski
22. AJ Allmendinger
23. Mark Martin
24. Greg Biffle
25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
26. Austin Dillon
27. Casey Mears
28. Trevor Bayne
29. David Reutimann
30. Danica Patrick
31. Travis Kvapil
32. Michael McDowell
33. Landon Cassill
34. David Ragan
35. David Gilliland
36. Bobby Labonte
37. Dave Blaney
38. Josh Wise
39. J.J. Yeley
40. David Stremme
41. Joe Nemechek
42. Timmy Hill
43. Jeff Burton

Next week, the Sprint Cup Series returns to Pocono Raceway for the 400.  The race will be next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET, only on ESPN.

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