Newman steals win at Martinsville
April 1, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Ryan Newman denied Hendrick Motorsports its milestone 200th win in NASCAR's premier series by taking Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Newman bounced back from an early-race pit-road speeding penalty and then benefited from a crash involving Hendrick drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon after the restart of the first green-white-checkered finish.
Johnson and Gordon dominated the race by leading a combined 440 laps. Johnson held the top position when a caution came for an incident involving David Reutimann in the closing laps, which set up the first two-lap overtime finish.
After the restart, Clint Bowyer dipped below Johnson and Gordon and made it three-wide for the lead in turn one, but all three drivers made contact and spun around, allowing Newman to move to the front. A.J. Allmendinger moved into second. Newman had bumped Bowyer from behind while they were heading into turn one.
Newman held off Allmendinger during the second and last green-white-checkered attempt to claim his 16th career Sprint Cup Series win and his first since last July at New Hampshire. He also posted his first victory at this 0.526- mile, paperclip-shaped racetrack.
Allmendinger, who continues to seek his first Sprint Cup win, finished 0.3 seconds behind Newman.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. placed third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. Bowyer settled for 10th.
Johnson ended up finishing 12th, while Gordon wound up in 14th place. Gordon, who led the most laps with 328, ran out of fuel during the last caution and finished one lap behind.