[media-credit name=”Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images” align=”alignright” width=”228″][/media-credit]Ryan Newman holds off AJ Allmendinger on the final green-white-checkered restart on Sunday to win the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
The win was Newman’s first of the season, first at Martinsville and the 16th of his Sprint Cup career.
“We were not a dominate race car. Clint kind of cleared out turn one for us and we were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.” Newman said.
“It was just circumstances with the No. 10 there doing what he did. I’m not sure what happened or if he ran out of fuel or had a problem whatever happened.” Newman added.
A late caution flag came out for the stopped No. 10 car driven by David Reutimann. Trying to keep the team in the top-35 in the standings, Reutimann stayed out on the track until the car just quit. NASCAR had already black flagged him he was planning on pitting the next time around, but it was too little to late.
“The thing quit going down the back straightaway, and it shut off. I just didn’t stop there intentionally.” Reutimann said.
Teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were in a door-to-door battle for the race lead with 4 laps remaining when the caution flag came out. It appeared to be a sure bet that one of them was going to bring team owner Rick Hendrick his 200th Cup Series win, but circumstances did not allow it.
Gordon and Johnson did not pit under the final caution. On the first green-white-checkered restart both Gordon and Johnson were on old tires while the other lead lap cars behind them had new tires due to pitting for fuel and tires. Going into turn-1, Clint Bowyer dive bombed underneath Gordon as a result of a hard hit from the then fifth place Ryan Newman. The two cars bumped and moved up the track into Johnson who was on the outside. All three drivers spun and Newman dived low and took over the race lead. Newman then held off AJ Allmendinger for the win during green-white-checkered flag.
Johnson finished 12th and Gordon finished 14th.
“Clint is a friend of mine. He is a great race car driver. It was not like him to do that. He said he got a hit from behind from the No. 39. I didn’t get the best restart. The tires are really old. I spun the tires a slight bit. When I saw him go down to the inside of me I knew we were all in trouble. All I could do was just hold on tight.” Gordon said.
“We just restarted and got going. That inside lane is awfully inviting at times to dive-bomb on people. The No. 15 (Clint Bowyer) threw a dive-bomb in there. I’m sure once he got in there and realized it wasn’t the best idea. It turned me around. It turned the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) around. But it is what it is. It’s short track racing.” Johnson said.
“My frustration and certainly Jeff’s (Gordon) is to be the class of the field all day long and be up front and have something stupid like this take us out is frustrating and we want to get this 200th win for Rick real bad and we could have been 1-2 today easily.” Johnson added.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third, Matt Kenseth fourth and Martin Truex Jr. finished fifth.
“The No. 15 dove to the bottom and it’s his right. He was doing what he wanted to do to try and win the race. It’s a green-white-checkered and that’s what you’re going to get here. So I think Clint did what he had to do. It just caused a little bit of trouble on the outside down there and we ran into the No. 24. But I just don’t know what the No.10 was thinking with a broken sway bar and driving around there at 15 mph for two or three laps. Come on pit road; hell, how many laps down are you? Get on pit road. Get out of the race. It shouldn’t have ended like that. It was unfortunate.” Earnhardt Jr. said.
“Those two guys were on 100-and-some-lap tires, so I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty honestly. I just tried to watch what was going on and I slowed way up for the wreck and I think that’s maybe how AJ got there, but I didn’t want to get caught up in a wreck at the end. I knew they were going to restart it.” Kenseth said.
Greg Biffle finished 13th and holds a six point lead over Earnhardt Jr. in the series standings.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|Goody’s Fast Relief 500, Martinsville Speedway|
|3||14||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||42|
|5||13||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||39|
|41||30||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||3|