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Late Race Gamble Pays Off As Ryan Newman Ends 128 Race Winless Drought


In the scorching desert heat, Ryan Newman quenched the thirst for victory Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway. This was his first win since July 2013 at Indianapolis while with the Stewart-Haas Racing team. Kyle Larson finished second, followed by Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski rounding out the top 5.

Joey Logano started from the pole and led 82 of the first 84 laps to capture the first stage. The only incident during that span was Corey LaJoie finding the wall on lap 29. The second stage saw Chase Elliott flat out run away from the field, winning Chevy’s first stage win of the season. Kyle Larson also finished second in both the first two stages. Also, Corey LaJoie again found issues during the second stage and his day ended shortly after.

The third and final stage however saw heavy action despite Kyle Busch took the lead and flat out ran away from the field. His teammate Matt Kenseth meanwhile cut down a tire with 119 laps to go and ended up in the wall, ending his day. Meanwhile, Kyle Busch was dominating the field and looked as if he was going to collect his first win of 2017.

But, his rival Joey Logano found the wall with 6 to go after blowing out a left front tire. The caution came out and most of the leaders came in for fresh tires and fuel. But, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. rolled the dice and stayed out. Meanwhile, Kyle Larson beat out Kyle Busch out of the pits.

On the Green White Checkered attempt, Stenhouse spun the tires causing the field to scramble. This gave the advantage to Newman despite the older tires. Kyle Larson tried to put on a last minute charge on fresher tires, but it wasn’t enough. The South Bend, Indiana native found victory lane for the first time in 128 races as Larson was bridesmaid once again.

Newman didn’t waste time crediting his crew chief Ryan Lambert after the race for the decisive call. “What a gutsy call by Luke.” Newman said to FOX Sports. “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.”

NASCAR’s West Coast swing concludes next week at Auto Club Speedway with the Auto Club 400.

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