(AP) Hoosier Ryan Newman wins Brickyard 400 at Indy
By JENNA FRYER
AP Auto Racing Writer
Ryan Newman fulfilled the childhood dream of so many who grew up in Indiana–winning at storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Newman, from South Bend, ended a 49-race losing streak with Sunday’s victory at the Brickyard, and he did it by beating Jimmie Johnson.
Newman set a NASCAR track record in knocking Johnson off the pole in qualifying, then used a fast final pit stop Sunday to snatch the win from the four-time Indianapolis winner.
The two were the class of the field _ they combined to lead 118 of the 160 laps _ but it was Johnson who dominated the race and appeared to be just a bit better. But Johnson pitted from the lead with 27 laps remaining and it was a slow final stop for the Hendrick Motorsports crew.
Newman pitted after that and took only two tires to move into the lead after the green-flag stops cycled through the field. The closest Johnson would get to him again was when he paid a congratulatory visit to Newman in Victory Lane.
Newman was remarkably composed as he took the checkered flag and in Victory Lane.
The victory comes as Newman is looking for a job.
Stewart-Haas Racing has signed Kevin Harvick to join the team next season, and team co-owner Tony Stewart informed Newman two weeks ago he won’t be brought back in 2014. It didn’t change the post-race mood, as Stewart hustled to Victory Lane, lifted Newman from behind and the two shared a long embrace.
Johnson, the Sprint Cup Series points leader who was hoping to tie Formula One’s Michael Schumacher as the only five-time winners in Indy history, finished 2.657 seconds behind Newman in second.
Kasey Kahne, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, was third and Stewart was fourth as Chevrolet swept the top four spots. All four cars were also powered by Hendrick Motorsports.
Matt Kenseth was fifth in a Toyota and followed by Hendrick’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, as all four Hendrick entries landed inside the top seven. Earnhardt rallied from a loose wheel on the opening run of the race to grab his top-10 finish.
Joey Logano was eighth in a Ford, and followed by Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch, who picked up his first career win at the Brickyard in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race.
NASCAR’s 20th running at the historic Brickyard wasn’t the most exciting race _ there were three cautions, for stalled cars or debris, and no accidents or spins _ and the field spread out into single-file racing and passing wasn’t easy. Montoya complained at one point over his radio that attempting to pass another car only cost him position on track.
The in-race intrigue came via varied strategies among the teams as they all tried different methods to steal a good finish in a race that logged as the fastest Brickyard in history at 2 hours, 36 minutes and 22 seconds.