AVONDALE, Ariz.-- With a gutsy call to stay out on old tires, Ryan Newman went to claim victory in the Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway to snap a 127 race winless streak. This is his first win since 2013 at Indianapolis and Richard Childress Racing’s first victory since Phoenix in 2013 with Kevin Harvick.
“I’ve lost count; that’s how long it’s been. I’ve got to thank Grainger, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Monster Energy, for supporting our series, and Chevrolet. The list goes on and on. What a gutsy call by (crew chief) Luke (Lambert). I called for two tires and he called for none. I’ve won more races no tires than I have with four. I’m just proud of these guys. We had a good car all day. We kept it out of trouble and collected in the end,” said Newman post-race.
The first stage of the race was dominated by Logano. Logano continued to stay up in the front through much of the first stage. As he entered into lapped traffic, Kyle Larson inched closer and closer. But Logano was able to win the stage with Larson in second, Brad Keselowski third, Chase Elliott fourth, and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-five.
The second stage saw the dominance of Logano fade away. Logano was passed by Elliott and Larson on lap 84, but it was Elliott who would take the lead and dominate the stage. Logano stayed in the top-five, but was caught speeding on pit road and had to start at the tail end of the field after the caution flew on lap 117. On the restart, Elliott and Larson battled for the lead, but Elliott prevailed to win the stage. Larson finished second, Kyle Busch finished third, Jimmie Johnson finished fourth, and Keselowski rounded out the top-five.
Elliott started the stage as the race leader. As the caution came out for a hard hit coming off of the fourth turn by Matt Kenseth, the leaders pitted. Ky. Busch won the race off pit road and went on to lead the most laps in the round. The caution flew three more times. The final caution of the day was caused by Logano who blew a tire on the frontstretch with four laps remaining, sending the race into NASCAR Overtime. Ky. Busch and the other leaders pitted, but Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Martin Truex Jr. stayed out on older tires while many guys behind them had two. On the final restart, Larson tried to make a move on Newman, but went sideways stacking up the field behind him giving Newman the advantage and the ultimate victory. Larson finished second, Ky Busch finished third, Stenhouse Jr. finished fourth, and Keselowski rounded out the top-five.
For Larson, this was the fourth time finishing in the second position since Homestead last year. Larson talked about his move on the final restart post-race.
“Yeah, my spotter said ‘clear’ and I started turning down. I guess I just didn’t anticipate him driving in as far as he did. Maybe I should have just run the middle lane there just to be safe. But all in all, it was a good effort for our Credit One Bank Chevy. And dang it, I wish I wouldn’t have gotten sideways there in (Turns) 1 and 2; and I would have stayed close enough to Newman and I probably would have got him down in (Turns) 3 and 4 coming to the white,” said Larson. “You never know though. That’s how the races play out. Maybe I made a mistake there. This one stings because I feel like I was in the best spot out of anybody there to line up fourth on two tires. But, it’s really, really cool to be the point leader right now. That was a goal of mine going into today. So, thanks to everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing for all your hard work. We’ll hopefully continue to have this speed in our race cars and maybe close some of these races out.”
It was all but Ky. Busch’s race to lose, but the last caution and pitting cost him five playoff points.
“Everything’s great, we got a top five and that’s what we set out to do today and we got a third so we should be pumped about that and how good this Skittles Camry ran today. It was awesome there at the end and the guys made some really good calls there at the end – Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys did a good job being able to make some good adjustments and make it feel better once we got out front,” said Busch. “Thanks to my pit crew – the car really liked clean air. We just got caught up in traffic a little bit early in the race, but we were mindful of that and just kind of bided our time and got up to the front when we did, but we had a little miscue there on pit road with Kurt (Busch) and from there it was just too many cars that stayed out. If it was just two that stayed out maybe, but we really needed the outside like (Kyle) Larson had. Overall we should be proud of our run today and we will move on.”
The caution flew eight times for 45 laps. There were 15 different lead changes among eight different drivers.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is the final installment of the West Coast Swing with a trip to Auto Club Speedway for the Auto Club 400. FOX and Motor Racing Network will have live coverage next Sunday beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST.