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Newman picks up NASCAR victory

The Sports Xchange
March 19. 2017 11:19PM

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Pit strategy put Ryan Newman up front for an overtime restart in the Camping World 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, and he held off Kyle Larson to win on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Newman earned his first victory in four years and also the first for Richard Childress Racing since 2013, the year before Newman joined the team.

“I’ve lost count, that’s how long it’s been,” Newman said.

Larson finished second and Kyle Busch was third. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.

Busch was the race leader when the yellow flag waved for the final time, but Busch and the other front-runners pitted while Newman, Stenhouse and Martin Truex Jr. stayed out. Larson, who took two new tires, got off pit road ahead of Busch but couldn’t catch Newman.

“What a gutsy call by Luke (Lambert, crew chief),” Newman said. “I called for two tires, and he called for none. I’ve won more races (on) 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.”

After the caution that signaled the end of the second stage of the race on lap 150, Busch restarted fourth. With 122 laps remaining, he got by Larson for second.

Busch then took the lead from Chase Elliott by getting off pit road first during a caution for his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth with 121 laps remaining. Busch ran up front until the final caution of the race.

Elliott was the leader at the end of the second 75-lap stage, with a nearly three-second lead on second-place Larson. It was the first stage win of the year for Chevrolet.

Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Keselowski were third through fifth, respectively, at the end of stage two.

Finishing sixth through 10th were Kevin Harvick, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin.

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