|Hoosier Ryan Newman wins Brickyard 400 at Indy|
|Monday, July 29, 2013 12:20 AM|
INDIANAPOLIS — A born and bred Hoosier, Ryan Newman spent his childhood racing everywhere from Anderson to Winchester and every short track he could find in a state mad about racing.
He graduated from Purdue and landed a summer job working in Jeff Gordon’s old race shop in Pittsboro. One of the perks? He got to live in the shop and sleep alongside the cars.
And like many Indiana kids, he revered Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track he first visited in 1986 and later accidentally stumbled upon NASCAR’s inaugural 1992 test while out buying tires with his mother.
A win at the famed Brickyard? That would be a dream come true for the South Bend native.
Newman made the boyhood dream a cool reality, taking the checkered flag Sunday to end a 49-race winless streak in front of his home state fans. His parents, who fueled his love of racing and took him to the 500 as a kid, joined him for his biggest win in Indiana.
Newman was as cool and collected in Victory Lane as he was on the track when he held off Jimmie Johnson. There were no tears, no quiver in his voice and no need to collect himself as Newman was strangely stoic.
“I don’t show a lot of emotion; I think everybody knows that,” said Newman, who likened the victory to his 2008 win at the Daytona 500. “I had the same emotion, the same thankfulness I did when I won the Daytona 500 because I feel everybody that has been a part of my racing career — from people that bought my racing uniform, bought me a right rear tire, given us a credit card to get to some race track at some point in my career — those are the people that helped me get to where I am today.
“To me, it’s awesome to be here at Indy. It’s awesome because it’s my home state. I’ve raced go-karts at pretty much every go-kart track around here, been kicked out of half of them. Those are the things that make it special. I think about those things more than I carry the emotion on my cheeks.”
So the emotion was seen in father Greg, who spotted for Newman on Sunday, and his mother, Diane.
Newman kept it together during his celebratory burnout and the drive to Victory Lane, a hallowed area that he twice had to ask his crew over the radio for directions how to get there. He took the customary ride in a convertible around the track with his wife and two young daughters and happily bowed again and again to kiss the Yard of Bricks.
Sure, he smiled and shared some tender hugs with one of his daughters. But that was the most anyone was getting out of Newman, who had admitted to getting emotional after winning the pole on Saturday but seemed almost numb following Sunday’s win.
Newman beat Johnson twice on this Brickyard weekend, first when he set a NASCAR track record in knocking Johnson off the pole in qualifying, then Sunday with a fast final pit stop to snatch the win from the 4-time Indianapolis winner.
The two were the class of the field — they combined to lead 118 of the 160 laps — but it was Johnson who dominated the race and appeared to be just a bit better. But Johnson pitted from the lead with 27 laps remaining and it was a slow final stop for the Hendrick Motorsports crew.
Newman pitted after that and took only two tires to move into the lead after the green-flag stops cycled through the field. The closest Johnson would get to him again was when he paid a congratulatory visit to Newman in Victory Lane.
The victory comes as Newman is looking for a job.
Stewart-Haas Racing has signed Kevin Harvick to join the team next season and team co-owner Tony Stewart informed Newman two weeks ago he won’t be brought back in 2014. It didn’t change the post-race mood, as Stewart hustled to Victory Lane, lifted Newman from behind and the two shared a long embrace.
“He just had an awesome weekend,” Stewart said. “I kept looking up the board and watching and I was scared to ask where he was at and how big of a lead he had. I didn’t want to jinx him. Just really proud of him — he’s a great teammate and an even better friend.”
Johnson, the Sprint Cup Series points leader who was hoping to tie Formula One’s Michael Schumacher as the only 5-time winners in Indy history, finished 2.657 seconds behind Newman in second.
Kasey Kahne, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, was third and Stewart was fourth as Chevrolet swept the top four spots. All four cars were also powered by Hendrick Motorsports.
Matt Kenseth was fifth in a Toyota and followed by Hendrick’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, as all four Hendrick entries landed inside the top seven. Earnhardt rallied from a loose wheel on the opening run of the race to grab his top-10 finish.
Joey Logano was eighth in a Ford and followed by Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch, who picked up his first career win at the Brickyard in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race.
NASCAR’s 20th running at the historic Brickyard wasn’t the most exciting race — there were three cautions, for stalled cars or debris, and no accidents or spins — and the field spread out into single-file racing and passing wasn’t easy. Montoya complained at one point over his radio that attempting to pass another car only cost him position on track.
The in-race intrigue came via varied strategies among the teams as they all tried different methods to steal a good finish in a race that logged as the fastest Brickyard in history at 2 hours, 36 minutes and 22 seconds.
Capps wins again at Somoma
SONOMA, Calif. — Ron Capps raced to his second Funny Car victory of the season Sunday for his fourth career win in the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
The Californian powered his Dodge Charger to a 4.085-second run at 307.79 mph to hold off 15-time season champion John Force in the final. Capps moved to second in the season standings.
Shawn Langdon won the Top Fuel final, Vincent Nobile topped the Pro Stock field and Hector Arana Jr. won in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Langdon raced to his fourth victory of the season and fifth of his career, beating Morgan Lucas with a 3.920 at 240.47. Langdon extended his points lead to 102 over second-place Spencer Massey.
Nobile had a 6.572 at 208.58 in a Dodge Avenger to edge 4-time series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. Nobile has two victories this season and seven overall.
Arana claimed his fourth win of the season, riding his Buell to a 6.878 at 195.45 to beat Matt Smith.
Ranger wins again in New Jersey
MILLVILLE, N.J. — Canada’s Andrew Ranger won the ARCA Racing Series’ event at New Jersey Motorsports Park for the third straight year Sunday, passing Chase Elliott with 10 laps to go and holding off Tom Hessert.
Ranger started from the pole and led 30 of the 67 laps in the No. 53 Dodge.
Hessert had his best career finish on a road course.
Elliott finished third after leading 34 laps on the 2.3-mile Thunderbolt Raceway circuit.
Ranger had a race-record average speed of 81.753 mph in the event slowed by only three cautions.
Frank Kimmel, tied with Iggy Katona for the ARCA career victory record with 79, was fifth.
Hamilton wins in Hungary from pole to end drought
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Lewis Hamilton broke his drought on a swelteringly hot Sunday, winning the Hungarian Grand Prix to match Michael Schumacher’s track record of four wins.
Not that the Mercedes driver expected to win his first race since the United States GP last November, saying beforehand he would need “a miracle” despite qualifying in pole position for the third time in a row.
Hamilton beat Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus by 10.9 seconds and finished 12.4 ahead of Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, who moved further ahead in his quest for a fourth straight Formula One title.
Mercedes has been quick in qualifying all season but has struggled with its tires during race day. However, they held up on a Hungaroring track that got up to 123 degrees.
Vettel was frustrated at failing to overtake Raikkonen late in the race.
Vettel headed into the weekend 34 points clear at the top and added four more to his lead as the race enters its mid-season break. The next race is the Belgium GP on Aug. 25.
The German has 172 points, 38 in front of Raikkonen and 39 ahead of Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who finished fifth to slip behind Raikkonen overall. Hamilton has 124 to sit fourth.
Hamilton managed his tires wisely to earn his 22nd win. Coming into the race, he had been third three times. But he also won from pole in Hungary last year and kissed his Mercedes car and hugged team boss Ross Brawn following Sunday’s victory.