Feature: Along Pit Road

Newman Nixes Hendrick Victory

Author: Mickey Mills
Published: April 01, 2012 at 3:18 pm
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MARTINSVILLE, VA — Ryan Newman played the spoiler role and snatched victory away from Hendrick's champions in the Goody's Fast Relief 500 Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson reigned most of the days action for 497 laps. A caution flag flew when David Reutimann stalled on the frontstretch with three laps remaining setting up extra laps.

Gordon and Johnson stayed out while the remaining lead-lap cars behind them came in for tires and fuel. On the lap 504 restart, Clint Bowyer, Johnson and Gordon, tried running three-wide into the first corner resulting in a tri-car spin, ending the Hendrick's shot at their 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup victory.

On the second lap of a green-white-checkered-flag restart Ryan Newman cleared runner-up AJ Allmendinger and held on to win by .342 seconds. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr.

It was Newman's first win this season and his first at Martinsville. It was the third win of the year in six events for a dominating Stewart-Haas Racing.

Gordon led 322 laps before Johnson passed to take the lead on Lap 356. That brought Johnson all the way back from a pit road speeding penalty incurred on Lap 100 under the first caution of the race. Johnson was flagged for speeding on exit and restarted at the tail end of the field.

But with 80 percent of the race ahead of him, the five-time champion had plenty of time to work his way back to the front of the field.

Denny Hamlin beat both Johnson and Gordon off pit road on Lap 363, during pit stops under caution for Travis Kvapil's spin in Turn 2, but Johnson regained the lead on Lap 393, passing Hamlin to the inside through Turns 1 and 2 after dogging the No. 11 Toyota for more than 10 circuits.

Gordon regained the lead on Lap 497 moments before caution slowed the race. The eighth caution for the Bowyer/Gordon/Johnson wreck extended the race to 515 laps, 15 past the scheduled distance.

After a week off Sprint Cup heads to Texas.

7:00 pm EST
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Source: NASCAR Wire Svc 

 
 

About this article

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Article Author: Mickey Mills

Mickey is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association and began covering NASCAR in the late 80s where he spent weekends at places like Darlington, Talladega, Daytona, and other speedways, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip and the late Benny Parsons. …

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