Late Race Pit Gamble Leads Ryan Newman to End Winless Drought in Phoenix

Avondale, AZ – Kyle Busch appeared to have Sunday’s Camping World 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway well in control. Inside of 10 laps-to-go, Busch held a commanding lead in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the 1.022-mile Arizona oval.

But, today was just another reason to show that you can’t turn off the TV early.

Busch, held a 3.23-second lead over second place Kyle Larson with six laps left, but unfortunately for them, pole sitter Joey Logano blew a right front tire on the front stretch and got into the outside SAFER barrier hard in Turn 1. That would bring out the eighth and final caution of the day.

It would also make a dramatic turn in the finishing order.

The leaders hit pit road for the final time under caution with four laps left, as Larson this time beat Busch off pit road for what we thought then was for the lead. Instead of them restarting 1-2, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. would gamble and stay out and take over the top three spots in the running order. They’d restart first, second and third respectively while Larson and Busch would now restart fourth and fifth.

On the restart on Lap 313, Newman would pull away while Larson and Busch challenged Stenhouse and Truex for second and third. They’d finally get by on the last lap, Larson and Busch didn’t have enough time, as the gamble paid off for Newman in reaching victory lane for the first time in nearly four years.

Newman, won Sunday’s Camping World 500 at PIR, ending his 127 race winless drought that dated back to July 28, 2013 in the Brickyard 400. It was also his first victory with Richard Childress Racing, as Newman won in 2013 with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Coincidentally enough, 2013 was also the last time that RCR went to victory lane and it was at this very track too when Kevin Harvick won the November race at PIR. To make things even weirder, Harvick replaced Newman at SHR and Newman replaced Harvick.

Newman, was running seventh when the yellow flag flew with six to go, and there he was in victory lane. It was Newman’s first top 10 of the year too as his other finishes were 21st, 35th and 17th respectively.

Larson, would earn his third straight second place finish and fourth in his last five starts dating back to the season finale at Homestead in November.

Busch, despite leading a race-high 114 of the 314 laps on Sunday came home third in his No. 18 Toyota.

Stenhouse, earned his best finish of the year in his No. 17 Ford with a fourth place effort while Brad Keselowski earned his third straight top five finish and second straight fifth place finish in his No. 2 Ford.

Logano, led 82 laps and won the first stage, but he lost his brakes in the final stages. Factor that and his crash, and he’d finish a disappointing 31st. That was his first finish outside the top six all year long.

Chase Elliott won the second stage today and looked like he’d be the one in victory lane instead, but his car didn’t adapt well with the heat as the race went on while the Hendrick Motorsports driver finished 12th. He led 106 laps.

The series finishes the west coast swing next weekend at the Auto Club Speedway.

Camping World 500 Results:

  1. 31 Newman
  2. 42 Larson
  3. 18 KyBusch
  4. 17 Stenhouse Jr.
  5.  2 Keselowski
  6.  4 Harvick
  7. 19 Suarez R
  8. 77 Jones R
  9. 48 Johnson
  10. 11 Hamlin
  11. 78 Truex Jr.
  12. 24 Elliott
  13. 14 Bowyer
  14. 88 Earnhardt Jr.
  15.  1 McMurray
  16. 13 Dillon R
  17. 43 Almirola
  18.  3 Dillon
  19.  6 Bayne
  20.  5 Kahne
  21. 27 Menard
  22. 10 Patrick
  23. 21 Blaney
  24. 95 McDowell
  25. 41 KuBusch
  26. 47 Allmendinger
  27. 37 Buescher
  28. 34 Cassill -1
  29. 32 DiBenedetto -1
  30. 15 Sorenson -2
  31. 22 Logano OUT
  32. 51 Hill -7
  33. 55 Cope -7
  34. 72 Whitt OUT
  35. 38 Ragan OUT
  36. 23 Gaulding R OUT
  37. 20 Kenseth OUT
  38. 83 LaJoie OUT
  39. 33 Earnhardt OUT

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