|Ryan Newman celebrates a Victory at Martinsville
Photo – Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR
Ryan Newman executes a pass on the first green-white-checker to secure first place on the following restart and holds off A.J Allmendinger for the win.
The race today at Martinsville featured hot tempers and drivers blaming each other for the results.
Early in the race Kurt Busch blew a tire, limped down pit road, ending his chances at winning today.
Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick dominated early; Gordon led 328 laps today and ended up finishing sixth. Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick was looking for his 200th cup win today. Early in the race, all four of his teams looked strong all running in the top ten.
The first caution of the day came out when Kyle Busch made contact with the wall after something broke on his car. Kyle Busch continues to have bad luck to start out the season which will affect his shot at the championship this year.
After long green flag runs, Kasey Kahne brought out the caution after he blew an engine. Kahne’s luck appears to be lost after a very disappointing start to his Hendrick Motorsports career.
At lap 361 Travis Kvapil spun his Burger King Toyota bringing out the caution with 139 laps left in the race.
Around lap 401 Clint Bowyer began his charge to the front by passing Denny Hamlin and closing in on the leaders. When drivers needed to step up their game for a shot at the win, drivers friends soon became their enemy’s for a chance at winning today.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. started making moves in an intense battle with Brad Keselowski, who used to drive for JR Motorsports. Brad wasn’t going to pull over and let Jr pass. They bumped a few times and when Keselowski got out of shape exiting a corner, Jr. took advantage and stormed by Keselowski.
With 43 laps to go Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed Clint Bowyer for third, making the top three all Hendrick Motorsports cars. With 43 laps to go Rick Hendrick was all smiles in anticipation of his 200thvictory in the cup series. Jeff Gordon now has the leader Jimmie Johnson in his sights, with four laps to go they were racing side by side making contact.
After crossing the start finish line side by side with three laps to go, the caution flew for David Reutimann who came to a halt on the front straightaway.
A few laps prior to the caution, Reutimann had cut down a tire and was headed to pit road. After a few laps of riding around he cut down another tire and stayed on the track. Eventually Reutimann came to a stop and caused a caution. Reutimann later tweeted that his engine blew which caused his car to stop on the track. Reutimann stopping on the track also caused Rick Hendrick his shot at winning his 200th win today at Martinsville.
Coming up on the green-white–checker finish every car pitted except the two leaders – the No.48 and the No.24. The top five coming to the restart are, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman. The green flag waves and Clint Bowyer dives down the track making it three-wide with the leaders. Then with little room Bowyer squeezed up into Jeff Gordon and caused Gordon to bump teammate Jimmie Johnson and Johnson spun out into the wall.
This incident ended Johnson’s chance at getting team owner Rick Hendrick win number 200. Then with quick reaction, Jeff Gordon spins Clint Bowyer up into the wall causing both cars to pit to repair damage. With all the action up the track, Ryan Newman sneaked by under the wreck and took the lead.
With tempers flailing another restart is eminent. The restart order is as follows: Ryan Newman, A.J Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt Jr. is Rick Hendrick’s final shot at winning number 200 today. A caution free end to the race featured Ryan Newman and A.J Allmendinger battling it out and when Ryan Newman cleared Allmendinger and didn’t look back.
Ryan Newman won his first ever race at Martinsville Speedway and gave his team, Stewart-Hass Racing their third win out of the first six to start the season. Newman was ecstatic in Victory Lane which is understandable. Newman commented “An awesome day for the Outback Chevrolet.”
A classic short track race left tempers flailing and one happy driver.