NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Newman steals win at Martinsville



Martinsville, VA (Sports Network) - Ryan Newman denied Hendrick Motorsports its milestone 200th win in NASCAR's premier series by taking Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Newman bounced back from an early-race pit-road speeding penalty and then benefited from a crash involving Hendrick drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon after the restart of the first green-white-checkered finish.

Johnson and Gordon dominated the race by leading a combined 440 laps. Johnson held the top position when a caution came for David Reutimann's car that stalled on the track. NASCAR had already black-flagged Reutimann and ordered him to pit for his slow pace. The caution set up the first two-lap overtime finish.

After the restart, Clint Bowyer dipped below Johnson and Gordon and made it three-wide for the lead in turn one, but all three drivers made contact and spun around, allowing Newman to move to the front. A.J. Allmendinger slipped into second. Newman had bumped Bowyer from behind while they were heading into turn one.

Newman held off Allmendinger during the second and last green-white-checkered attempt to claim his 16th career Sprint Cup Series win but his first since last July at New Hampshire. He also scored his first victory at this 0.526- mile, paperclip-shaped racetrack.

"No doubt an impressive day for us," said Newman, who led just the final 12 laps. "For me to take us out of the game, and we ended up going a lap down because of my speeding penalty, the guys did an awesome job in giving us the car to make the changes.

"We were not a dominant race car today, but we put ourselves in contention. The way the strategy and everything worked out, coming in for two tires [during the final round of pit stops] and Clint kind of clearing out turn one for us, we were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time."

Allmendinger, who continues to seek his first Sprint Cup win, finished 0.3 seconds behind Newman.

"I knew I had a shot, but Ryan had been really good all day," Allmendinger said. "I knew being on the bottom, and as tight as I was anyway on new tires, it was going to be tough to get around. But he ran me really clean. He didn't shove me up the racetrack like he could have. He gave me the opportunity to beat him on the outside there. We just were not turning good enough in the center there on the restart. But we had a shot at it. That's all you can ask for."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the highest finisher among the four Hendrick drivers with his third place run. Earnhardt Jr. led three laps right before the halfway point. His winless streak in Sprint Cup is now 135 races.

"It's disappointing for everybody to run as good as we did today and not finish up there," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I know Jeff is especially disappointed, because of the way his year's been going. And I've got a real good idea of what his opinion is about that."

Earnhardt Jr. finished second to Kevin Harvick in last year's spring race at Martinsville. Harvick passed Earnhardt Jr. for the lead with just four laps remaining in that event.

Gordon led 328 laps in this race, which was extended to 515 laps due to the last two cautions. He ran out of fuel during the final caution and ended up finishing one lap behind in 14th.

"It was not like [Bowyer] to do that," Gordon said about the first green-white checkered attempt. "He said he got a hit from behind from [Newman]...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. [Johnson] couldn't go anywhere, and I couldn't go anywhere. He was just coming with so much speed."

Johnson finished 12th in what he had hoped would've been the 200th win for team owner Rick Hendrick.

"It's just unfortunate with something stupid, last-ditch effort, dive-bomb or something along those lines wipes you out," he said. "But when you race long enough, you know that stuff happens. My frustration and certainly Jeff's 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. We wanted to get this 200th win for Rick real bad, and we could have been 1-2 easily."

Matt Kenseth finished fourth, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

Tony Stewart, who won last weekend's race-shortened race at California, finished seventh. Stewart also won the fall event here last October.

Aric Almirola placed eighth and Brad Keselowski took the ninth position. Bowyer completed the top-10.

"Three of those Hendrick cars were the class of the field all day long," Bowyer said. "I don't know what the hell the 10 car [Reutimann] was doing. He drove around there for 10 laps with no brakes and finally just stopped. That was ridiculous."

Reutimann was ordered to the NASCAR hauler to discuss the incident with race officials.

"I would have limped it around there and come to pit road, which is what I was trying to do," he said. "The thing quit going down the back straightaway, and it shut off."

Kasey Kahne, the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick, started on the pole but suffered engine failure at the mid-point. He finished 38th in what has already been a frustrating start to his first season with Hendrick.

Despite a 13th-place finish, Greg Biffle remained atop the point standings. Biffle holds a six-point advantage over Earnhardt Jr. Four drivers -- Stewart, Kenseth, Truex and Harvick -- are each 12 markers behind the leader.

Harvick finished two laps down in 19th.

04/01 19:42:28 ET