Loudon, NH--Penske's top rookie contender Ryan Newman grabbed his first career Winston Cup win on Sunday in the rain shortened New Hampshire 300. Newman, who started his No. 12 Taurus from the pole, led a dominating 143 of the 207 ...
Loudon, NH--Penske's top rookie contender Ryan Newman grabbed his first career Winston Cup win on Sunday in the rain shortened New Hampshire 300. Newman, who started his No. 12 Taurus from the pole, led a dominating 143 of the 207 laps.
The race began nearly an hour late and was then halted for rain only 22 laps into the event. The red flag was lifted an hour and 48 minutes later. After running only 207 of the scheduled 300 laps, the rain began to fall yet again and NASCAR was forced to call the race due to wet track conditions and darkness.
The question regarding a Newman victory wasn't if, but when. He entered the Loudon event with four career poles and five career second place finishes, four of which came this season. He also won the all-star non-points event, "The Winston," in May.
Clearly, Newman was excited over his first "official" win. "That was awesome. A great effort all day by the guys. I gotta thank Kurt Busch, he raced me extremely clean."
"It's a lot of fun, it's awesome for us. First win for me, it's definitely a dream come true."
Newman held off hard charges from second place finisher, Roush Racing's Kurt Busch during the final 25-30 laps. Just as the 97 of Busch would pull alongside the 12, Newman was able to regain the lead on the straight-aways. Lapped traffic also played a role in the way Busch handled his pass attempts on the 12.
"He was able to maneuver better than us," Busch commented regarding Newman's lead. Although he was disappointed with the runner-up spot he added, "That was the most fun I've had in a while."
A major key in Newman's victory came on lap 157 when Newman's Matt Borland led pit crew pulled out the fastest pitstop after taking on four tires and fuel. After the pit stop sequence circled around on lap 168, Newman was in the lead for the duration.
Ganassi Racing's Sterling Marlin, who had held on to the points lead since the second race of the season, is the points leader no more. Marlin ended the race 21st in his Dodge while Roush's Mark Martin overcame a flat tire on lap 145 to finish 16th. Martin now leads the points battle by six over Marlin.
Joe Gibbs Racing's Tony Stewart led the Pontiac charge and finished a strong third. Johnny Benson led his Grand Prix around the 1.058 mile track for 53 laps and pulled out a fourth place finish. Stewart's Gibbs teammate, Bobby Labonte closed out the top five.
New England native, ppi's Ricky Craven finished sixth. Followed by Dale Jarrett, and the highest finishing Chevrolet driven by Michael Waltrip in seventh and eighth. Newman's fellow rookie contender, Jimmie Johnson and Richmond winner, Matt Kenseth close out the top ten.
Newman's Penske teammate Rusty Wallace has seen better days. But then again, it could have been worse. Wallace was involved in a lap 75 incident with Petty Enterprises Kyle Petty. Petty's Dodge collided with Wallace and his No. 2 climbed the nose of Petty's No. 45. Wallace, who sits sixth in points, ended the race in a not-so-bad 19th. Petty ended the event 39th.
On lap 149, another Petty car, John Andretti's No. 43, collided with Bill Davis Racing's No. 22 of Ward Burton. Both cars spun and were able to drive away, allowing NASCAR to keep the field under green flag conditions.