Ryan Newman’s winless drought that stretched over 100 races came to an end at Phoenix International Raceway, thanks to an overtime restart involving Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Newman took the lead by electing not to pit under the final caution of the race with six laps to go. On the restart in overtime, he got out in front of Larson going into Turn 1. Larson came down across the nose of Stenhouse and got loose. This allowed Newman to drive away and win the Camping World 500.
“What a gutsy call by (crew chief) Luke (Lambert),” he said in victory lane. “I called for two tires and he called for none. I’ve won more races with no tires than I have with four. I’m just proud of these guys. We had a good car all day. We kept it out of trouble and collected in the end.”
It’s Newman’s 18th career victory and ends a 127-race winless streak.
“I’ve lost count; that’s how long it’s been,” he said when asked how good it felt being back in victory lane.
Larson finished runner-up for the third week in a row. Kyle Busch rounded out the podium after leading a race high of 114 laps. Stenhouse and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five.
Kevin Harvick, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin round out the top-10.
Chase Elliott finished 12th after leading 106 laps. Joey Logano finished 31st, out for an accident, after leading 82 laps.
Logano led the race from the start to the end of the first stage, of which he won. It was only interrupted by Corey LaJoie slamming the wall in the dogleg on lap 26.
He lost the lead on the restart to Elliott, who himself kept it all the way through the second stage. It too was only interrupted by a LaJoie wreck in Turn 1 on lap 118.
Matt Kenseth suffered a right-front tire blowout and slammed the wall in Turn 4, bringing out the fifth caution with 120 to go. Busch exited pit road with the race lead. He maintained the lead all the way through the next 114 laps.
Aside from a two-car wreck in Turn 1 involving David Ragan and Gray Gaulding with 108 to go, and Cole Whitt slamming the wall in Turn 2 with 55 to go, it was smooth sailing from the time Busch took the lead to the closing laps.
With six to go, however, Logano suffered a tire blowout and slammed the wall in Turn 1, bringing out the final caution and setting up the overtime restart.
“The brakes are fine, we just blew a right front. Probably just overheated the bead,” he said. “I am sure that is what it was. There is not much you can do when the right front blows out. We had a good car in the beginning of the race and then just fell off and got a pit road speeding penalty and it was hard to get back up there. We were getting closer but out long run speed was off. We have to figure out how to get faster here on the long run.”
The race lasted three hours and 41 seconds at an average speed of 104.271 mph. There were 15 lead changes among eight different drivers and eight cautions for 45 laps.
Larson leaves Phoenix with a six-point lead over Keselowski.C1704_UNOFFRES