New­man’s gam­ble pays off

Driver ends 127-race win­less streak by skip­ping pit stop.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Bob Baum

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 race.

The 39-year-old New­man, who broke a 127-race win­less streak, held off Kyle Larson, the sec­ond-place fin­isher for the third straight race.

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.

Once 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 Fri­day.

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 crash.

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 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.

El­liott 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.

Logano’s woes: Logano started on the pole and won on the same track in the nextto-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.

Up next: The Cup’s “NASCAR Goes West” tour heads to Fon­tana, Calif., this Sun­day for the fi­nale of its three-race spring trip to the West.


Ryan New­man leans on the tro­phy Sun­day af­ter win­ning at Phoenix In­ter­na­tional Race­way, his first vic­tory since the 2013 Brick­yard 400.

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