Ryan Newman won Sunday’s Brickyard 400 for the first time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career, fulfilling the childhood dream of many race car drivers who grew up in Indiana.
Newman, who hails from South Bend, ended a 49-race losing streak at the storied track, beating out Jimmie Johnson to do so. He also set a NASCAR track record during qualifying, knocking Johnson out of the top spot.
But the pole win wasn’t quite enough to keep Jimmie Johnson from catching up. Thankfully, Ryan Newman’s crew stepped in to help, delivering a fast final pit stop to the No. 39 driver.
Yahoo! News notes that Newman and Johnson battled all day long and led a combined 118 of the race’s 160 laps. While Johnson’s race car was arguably slightly better than Newman’s, the Hendrick Motorsports driver suffered a slow final pit stop while under the green flag.
Newman was composed while speaking with reporters in Victory Lane after the race. But, as the driver admitted, it’s probably out of shock. He explained:
“I don’t realize it yet. It’s a dream come true. It can’t hit you all at once, it’s not good enough. It will take a week or so for it to sink in.”
The win comes as Ryan Newman is looking for a new team, reports ESPN. The veteran NASCAR driver was informed by Stewart-Haas Racing that Kevin Harvick will be taking over the No. 39 car next year. But despite the loss of a job, Tony Stewart and Newman appeared in high spirits.
Stewart, who also races in the Sprint Cup, appeared in Victory Lane and gave Newman a huge hug to congratulate him. The co-owner also stated, “He just had an awesome weekend. 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.”
But for Johnson, Sunday’s race was a disappointment. Despite winning at the Brickyard four times previously, the Hendrick driver commented that he wanted to tie Formula One’s Michael Schumacher as the only five-time winners in Indy’s history. Maybe next year.
Are you glad to see Ryan Newman won the Brickyard 400 this year?
[Image by Cameras in Action via Wikimedia Commons]