Indiana native Ryan Newman, who grew up 2 ½ hours north of the Speedway, drove his #39 Quicken Loans/ The Smurfs Chevrolet to victory for the 20th Annual Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at The Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com. This is Newman’s 17th victory in 424 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races; his last victory came at Martinsville on April 1, 2012.
Newman started his weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his win for the Coors Light Pole Award on Saturday with a track qualifying record lap of 47.992 seconds with a speed of 187.531 mph, making this his 50th pole in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Before the race, Newman said, “To come to Indy racing a stock car was my goal, and to achieve that with our Quicken Loan Chevrolet, get that pole and beat Jimmie Johnson in the style we did was really amazing.”
Both Newman and Johnson seemed to be the cream of the crop, leading a combined 118 of the 160 laps, but Johnson dominated the day with 73 laps, over the 45 laps led by Newman. Johnson pitted with 27 laps remaining, for an ill-fated stop at 17.2 seconds by the Hendrick Motorsports crew, who’s usually flawless, and with that Johnson’s fate was sealed.
Newman came into the pits just after Johnson, for 2 tires and fuel, and with Matt Borland’s (crew chief) call was able to move into the lead after the green-flag pit stops cycled through the field. With 11 laps to go, Newman regained the top spot being chased by Johnson, who was in second, but was unable to get close, being 3.3 seconds behind Newman with 5 laps to go.
And for the second time this weekend, Newman once again pushed Johnson out of the top spot as he won with a margin of victory of 2.657 seconds, to gain his first victory at Indy. Newman joins fellow drivers Kevin Harvick (2003) and Johnson (2008) to win from the pole position.
“I don’t realize it yet,” Newman said in victory lane. “It’s a dream come true, if it hits you all at once it’s not good enough, it’ll take a week for this to set in.”
Teammate and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart, also an Indiana native, who finished fourth, said, “I can’t wait to give him a hug, and congratulate him,” as he was walking to victory lane, looking for Newman. “He did an awesome job all weekend, getting on the pole, he was in the hunt all day, he lad early and he knows it was down to him and the 48.” Stewart continued saying, “He is a great teammate and an even better friend.”
Stewart went on to say during the post race interviews, why this win was special to both he and Newman, “When we were kids, every day school got over about the 25th of May, you’d get done with school at 3:30 and you got on your bike and rode as fast as you could to get home and turn on your TV to watch.” “It’s a dream. 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. That’s a big deal to us being from here.”
Johnson who finished second said, “Came up a little short, definitely not what we watned, We win as a team, we lose as a team.”
Next week the Sprint Cup Series heads to Pocono, to race the tricky triangle, coverage for the race will be on ESPN at 1:00 pm eastern time.