Ryan Newman ended his winless drought at Phoenix International Raceway. Newman stayed out while most of the front runners pitted for two tires after Joey Logano blew a right front tire that brought out the final caution flag of the day with six laps remaining. Newman held off Kyle Larson on the two-lap overtime restart to win his first race since 2013 on Sunday in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500.
Gambling on old tires, Newman and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) end their long winless streaks. Newman ended a 127-race winless streak and the victory is the first for the RCR in 112 events.
“I’ve lost count; that’s how long it’s been,” Newman said. “I’ve got to thank Grainger, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Monster Energy for supporting our series, and Chevrolet. The list goes on and on. What a gutsy call by (crew chief) Luke (Lambert). I called for two tires and he called for none. I’ve won more races 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.”
Defending race winner Kevin Harvick finished sixth.
“We just didn’t ever get it exactly how we wanted all weekend,” Harvick said after the race. “Luckily it is a good race track for us and we were able to battle and use all the tricks of the trade we know to get ourselves up in contention. We definitely need to do some work on this style race track with our Jimmy John’s Ford but it was a heck of a battle all day.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a strong run and finished fourth. Despite being on older tires, Stenhouse was able to capture a fourth-place finish, scoring his first top-five of the season.
“That was a great run,” he said. “I think we made a lot of changes overnight that really helped us turn. It was really nice for us. Everything stayed together. This is a big test for Doug (Yates) and Roush Yates Engines. They did their job and did their research from our test here when we had some issues. I am really proud of the whole team.”
Kyle Larson’s second-place finish for this third consecutive race gives him the series points lead.
Larson was pleased with the finish, saying, “It’s really, really cool to be the point leader right now. That was a goal of mine going into today. So, thanks to everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing for all your hard work. We’ll hopefully continue to have this speed in our race cars and maybe close some of these races out.”
Logano did not have to make contact with Kyle Busch this weekend to stop Busch from winning. Busch was in control of the race when Logano blew a tire, bringing out the overtime caution. Busch had to settle for third place while Logano finished 31st.
“The brakes are fine, we just blew a right front. Probably just overheated the bead. I am sure that is what it was. There is not much you can do when the right front blows out,” a disappointed Logano said after the race.
Brad Keselowski drove another competitive race, claiming points in each stage and scoring his third consecutive top five this season. He is currently second in the points standings, only six points behind Larson.
“We were all real close there. Whoever got the track position was going to run away,” he explained. “The clean air was so important which was a bit frustrating. There was a lot of parity today and of course the crazy finish there at the end with the yellow coming out when it did and all the different strategies.”