Ariz. (AP) — Ryan Newman gambled and skipped a tire-changing pit stop
to move from seventh place to the lead and held on for the final two
laps for a surprise victory in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series
The 39-year-old Newman, who broke a 127-race winless
streak, held off Kyle Larson, the second-place finisher for the third
Kyle Busch, the leader for nearly all of the final
stage of the race, was third on a day when the temperature soared to 97
degrees at Phoenix International Raceway.
Like nearly all the rest
of the field, Larson and Busch went to the pits on the late caution
caused when Joey Logano's car blew a right tire and slammed into the
wall six laps from the finish.
Newman, in his first win since the
2013 Brickyard 400, gave Chevrolet its first victory of the season and
ended a 112-race losing streak for Richard Childress Racing.
again, Logano's misfortune foiled Busch. Last week Logano's car knocked
Busch's into the wall on the final stretch in Las Vegas. That led Busch
to storm down pit row and throw a punch at Logano, creating a scuffle
with the crews and a meeting for the drivers with NASCAR officials on
Busch took the lead with a quick pit stop during a caution
flag and led for 113 laps before heading to the pits after Logano's
The series of runner-up finishes gave Larson the Cup points
lead, the first time Chip Ganassi Racing has led the points race this
late in the season since 2002.
Larson, with two new tires on his
Chevrolet, came out of the late pit stop with two new tires ahead of
Childress' Toyota and had the best chance to catch Newman. But he
couldn't find a way to get around the veteran.
Logano won the first stage and Chase Elliott the second in NASCAR's new three-stage racing system.
dominated the second stage but lost the lead after Matt Kenseth, like
Logano, blew a right front tire and slammed into the wall on the 193rd
lap of the 314-lap race. In the ensuing pit stop, Busch got out quicker
than Elliott to take the lead.
Blown tires were a common site on the hot pavement.
started on the pole and won on the same track in the next-to-last race
of last season. He was in third place coming out of the pits during a
caution flag between the second and third series but was penalized for
speeding on pit row.
The held him back a lap and he had climbed his way through about half of the field before the tire blew.
A week ago, Busch was penalized for pit row speeding.
Cup's "NASCAR Goes West" tour heads to Fontana, Calif., next Sunday for
the finale of its three-race spring trip to the West.