August 07, 2013NASCAR drivers Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart have raced each other in a variety of cars all over Indiana and the Midwest since they were young boys. On the last day of the Super Weekend at the Brickyard, the pair went into Victory Lane together as driver and owner, respectively, as Newman earned his first Brickyard 400 win. Thousand of fans from Indiana and other states had a standing ovation waiting for the engineering grad from Purdue University when he got back to the finish line on the front straight-away.
"To me, it's awesome to be here at Indy, to be here in my home state," Newman said after his win on July 28. "I grew up racing around here at Winchester, Salem and IRP, even the little tracks like Anderson and places like that. That makes it special. Most people don't know I lived in Jeff Gordon's old shop in Pittsboro even before I made it to NASCAR. I slept with the race cars. That was my summer job, working on race cars. I've raced every go-kart course around here, and (got) kicked out of half of them. Those are the things that make it special."
Ryan Newman celebrates in Victory Lane after winning his first Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the pole position. The day before, Newman broke the track record for the series to earn the front starting position.
"I don't know how you could ask for a better week on our side," Stewart, who met Newman in a midget race, said. "The first half of the week was great. Yesterday, Ryan going out, last car out, getting the pole then being in the race today, watching the battle him and Jimmie (Johnson) had all day just was impressive to watch."
"When we were little, this was the place," Stewart said. "This was where we wanted to be. We knew what Daytona was, but this was the place for us as Hoosiers here. To see him get one, I'm glad our last trip to the Brickyard together as teammates, you know, we're sitting here watching him kissing the bricks." (Newman will leave the Stewart-Haas team at the end of the season.)
Newman took the lead at the drop of the green flag and pulled ahead of Johnson by more than three seconds 22 laps into the race. The first green flag pit stops started on Lap 25 when Denny Hamlin came in for service. After everybody had cycled around, Johnson was in front with plans on staying there for a while.
The first yellow came out on Lap 60 when Timmy Hill slowed on the track. That sent a host of cars onto pit road for service. Johnson was still in front, with Newman in second place, when the green came out. Carl Edwards, however, made a charge and moved into the second position a few laps later. Johnson was still dominating, leading Edwards by more than three seconds on Lap 77.
Two more yellows came out, on Lap 82 for Jeff Burton, who slowed on the track, and again on Lap 115 when Hill had more problems. Johnson was still in front with Joey Logano second, Dale Earnhardt Jr. third, Newman fourth and Stewart fifth. On Lap 126, Newman passed Logano for second on the back straight-away and set his eyes on Johnson.
"We had a great race car and great performance," Johnson said. "Track position was really important, especially the way my car was driving. Although it had plenty of speed, it wasn't the easiest thing to drive."
Newman cut Johnson's lead to 1.675 seconds with 29 laps to go. Two laps later, Johnson came in for service, taking four tires in an 18-second stop. Newman came in on the following lap for just two tires, seven seconds faster than Johnson's stop. Once the cycling was done, Newman was back in front by 3.718 seconds.
"We made our decision the second to last stop of what we were going to do," Newman crew chief Matt Bourland said of the final stop. "We knew we had to do something to win the race and put ourselves in the best position, the best tire position. … We looked at how many laps we needed to run to put us in that good spot."
"Including the Daytona 500 that I won in 2008, every win I've had since then has been on a two-tire strategy on the last pit stop," Newman said. "Track position is so huge."
Newman held the lead for the remainder of the race, beating Johnson by 2.658 seconds. Kasey Kahne was third, Stewart fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth.
"I had an awesome race car, probably the best race car I've had in my entire life," Newman said. "I kind of sat there for a while and watched Jimmie and I kept quiet on the radio. I wanted to wait and see who I was racing and played the old (David) Pearson role. I just knew I had a really good car. I didn't want to have a really good car and not win the race."
"When I saw him at the end, I knew I was going to have my hands full with him," Johnson said. "His car had a lot of pace. He did an amazing job."
"I came up here and wanted to win," Kahne said. "That was something that our team, we really shot for this weekend. … The last two runs we did a lot of passing, made up a lot of ground, but we never got to the front. We were too far back the whole race."
Stewart was asked about what it would take to increase the passing at the track. That drew the ire of the Columbus driver who sternly shot back that they needed to look up the words "passing" and "racing" in the dictionary.
"If you want to see passing, we can go out on (Interstate) 465 and pass all you want," Stewart said. "If you can tell me that's more exciting than what you see at IMS, the great race car drivers that have competed here. This is about racing. This is about cars being fast. It doesn't have to be two- and three-wide racing all day long to be good racing."
"For some reason, everybody is on this kick that you have to be passing all the time," he said. "It's racing, not passing. We're racing."
The question didn't dampen Stewart's spirits of being the owner of a winning car at the Brickyard.
"It's a dream," he said. "It's a dream to be where he's standing right now at the end of the race. We know the history of this place. Ryan can tell you more stats about here than I can, but we know, we understand, we appreciate the history of this sport, the great drivers and teams that have raced and won here."
"It's an amazing feeling," Newman said. "I'll say, honestly, I was more emotional yesterday after I won the pole coming off Turn 2 than I was the entire two laps afterward, doing my donuts and everything else today. I'm not sure why. I think it's something I realized yesterday, how special it was. I think I took an emotional hit yesterday. But it was an awesome day."
1. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 160 Running
2. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 160 Running
3. Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 160 Running
4. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 160 Running
5. Matt Kenseth Toyota 160 Running
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 160 Running
7. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 160 Running
8. Joey Logano Ford 160 Running
9. Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 160 Running
10. Kyle Busch Toyota 160 Running
11. Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 160 Running
12. Paul Menard Chevrolet 160 Running
13. Carl Edwards Ford 160 Running
14. Kurt Busch Chevrolet 160 Running
15. Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 160 Running
16. Maros Ambros Ford 160 Running
17. Aric Almirola Ford 160 Running
18. Denny Hamlin Toyota 160 Running
19. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 160 Running
20. Clint Bowyer Toyota 160 Running
21. Brad Keselowski Ford 160 Running
22. AJ Almendinger Chevrolet 160 Running
23. Mark Martin Toyota 160 Running
24. Greg Biffle Ford 159 Running
25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.* Ford 159 Running
26. Austin Dillon Chevrolet 159 Running
27. Casey Mears Ford 159 Running
28. Trevor Bayne Ford 159 Running
29. David Reutimann Toyota 158 Running
30. Danica Patrick* Chevrolet 158 Running
31. Travis Kvapil Toyota 158 Running
32. Michael McDowell Ford 157 Running
33. Landon Cassilli Chevrolet 157 Running
34. David Ragan Ford 157 Running
35. David Gilliland Ford 157 Running
36. Bobby Labonte Toyota 157 Running
37. Dave Blaney Chevrolet 156 Running
38. Josh Wise Ford 156 Running
39. J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 156 Running
40. David Stremme Toyota 151 Running
41. Joe Nemechek Toyota 146 Running
42. Timmy HIll* Ford 121 Running
43. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 110 Running
Time of Race - 2 hours, 36 minutes, 22 seconds
Average Speed - 153.485
Margin of Victory - 2.657 seconds
Cautions - 3 for 14 laps
Lead Changes - 20 among 12 drivers