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Jul 29, 2013 - 06:47 PM
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A Memorable Brickyard 400 Victory for Indiana's Ryan Newman
Posted by: BGerhart on Jul 29, 2013 - 06:46 PM
Feature Articles
A Memorable Brickyard 400 Victory for Indiana's Ryan Newman

Ryan Newman celebrates victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ryan Newman celebrates victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Credit: PaddockTalk / Paul Hurley

By Brad Gerhart

Every racer wants to win every time they compete on the track.

Indiana natives always dream of basking in the glory of victory at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

On Sunday 35 year-old Ryan Newman, a native of South Bend, IN won at Indy.

“Amazing, this is awesome,” Newman said as he crossed the famed finish line of bricks at the historic 2 mile track. His celebratory doughnuts were so thick of smoke from the tires his vision became rather foggy in the cockpit of the No.39 Quicken Loans/The Smurfs Chevrolet. “Man, I can’t see where I am,” he said over his team radio.

He became only the third driver in 20 NASCAR Brickyard 400 events to win from pole position, as he joined Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.


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Johnson, who led 73 laps, and was in the same car he won with at Indy a year ago, looked like the clear favorite to win again. However, on his final pit stop the team struggled with the back rear tire and he lost a significant amount of time. Matt Borland, Crew Chief of Newman’s No.39 made a bold move in going with a two tire stop on their final stop, but insisted it had nothing to do with Johnson’s misfortunes. “We knew we had to do something to win the race, put ourselves in the best tire position,” Borland said. “We looked at what the guys did earlier on in the race, taking two tires, taking no tires, and we looked at how many laps we needed to run before we pitted to put ourselves in that good spot.”

The strategy sure paid off, with no further cautions and Newman easily beating Johnson to the finish line by a comfortable 2.657 seconds for his 17th Cup career victory

Although a few weeks ago it was announced that Newman would no longer drive for Stewart-Haas Racing following the current season, driver/owner and fellow native of Indiana, Tony Stewart showed lots of love and appreciation for his teammate's victory in their home state. “Real Proud of him,” Stewart said of Newman. “He’s a great teammate and an even better friend.” Oddly enough Newman and Stewart are in fact the only Indiana born drivers to win a Cup race at Indy. “We knew what Daytona was, but this was the place for us as Hoosiers here,” Stewart said. “To see him get one, I'm glad our last trip to the Brickyard together as teammates, you know, we're sitting here watching him kiss the bricks today.”

Newman raced in several different Midget series and his 100 victories put him into their Hall of Fame, before he moved onto the USAC in the mid 1990’s, before his eventual break into NASCAR with Penske. “I grew up racing around here, Winchester, Salem, IRP, little tracks like Anderson. That makes it special,” Newman said. “Most people don't know, I lived out in a shop in Jeff Gordon's old shop before I ever made it in NASCAR. I slept with the race cars.” There’s no question Newman paid his dues to get to the top stock-car series in the world.

Now, in his 12th full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup competition Newman needs to secure a ride for the 2014 season, the 2008 Daytona 500 winner, knows a big win at Indy should draw some more interest from several well established teams. “It makes it better looking for something for 2014,“ Newman said. “There's a lot of questions to be answered. But today we're celebrating a victory.”

Again, Stewart stated what a great accomplishment this victory is for his teammate.

“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. That's a big deal to us being from here”

The two Indiana boys may be done as teammates come year’s end, but the memories of this weekend will be etched forever in their minds.

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