Newman Finds Gold at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Ryan Newman outran teammate Kurt Busch and edged the lead pack of cars to win Sunday's 50th running of the Daytona 500.
Newman was fourth on the race's final restart with three laps to go and was able to move to the front with his Penske racing teammate Busch in tow to score the historic win.
It was the first Daytona 500 winner for car owner Roger Penske and Newman's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win since 2005.
Tony Stewart wound up finishing third with Kyle Busch and Reed Sorenson rounding out the top five.
Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, Robby Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Greg Biffle completed the first ten finishers.
"Kurt Busch and Penske Racing, without Kurt Busch this wouldn't have been possible," Newman said. "This was just a great effort. The guys on this team deserve it for sure. Roger Penske and the whole organization can celebrate this for sure.
"To get this car to victory lane was awesome but I couldn't have done this without Kurt Busch. When Kurt pushed me we just stuck together."
Busch played the ultimate teammate by getting behind Newman and giving the assist to the winner.
"I was very emotional at the start/finish line pushing Ryan Newman to the checkered flag," Kurt Busch said. "I'm very happy and satisfied that I could help my teammate win.
"At least we finished second and pushed my teammate to the win. I'm excited to help him win. For us to finish second, no worries. To come back from starting 43rd, this is great. If Newman stayed on the bottom to go with the 20 (Stewart) I could have won this race. It was emotional at the start finish line to finish 1-2 for Roger Penske."
The three-lap dash to the checkered flag after the race's final caution had Jeff Burton in the lead but a draft of cars lined up to work their way around to the front led by Stewart, who took the white flag as the leader.
But things were shuffled down the backstretch with Newman and Busch able to hook-up and draft their way to the lead.
At the checkered flag it was Newman's ALLTEL Dodge pushed across the finish line by his teammate Busch's Miller Lite Dodge.
"I just ran the race of my life and just couldn't pull it off," Stewart said after having yet another victory at Daytona snatched away from him. "I don't think too many people would like taking the white flag and finish third. I tried to win the Daytona 500, what can I say?"
Busch started 43rd in the field after being forced to take a former champion's provisional to make the race.
It wasn't a good day for Hendrick Motorsports, who outside of Earnhardt, Jr.'s top ten finish had problems plague its other three drivers - Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears.
Gordon had a suspension break around the midway point of the race to knock him from contention while Johnson and Mears were both involved in accidents that ended their days.
The Sprint Cup Series now heads to California Speedway on Sunday, February 24th.