Newman scores Brickyard 400 stunner as pit road snafu costs Johnson
Indiana native and Stewart-Haas Racing lame duck driver Ryan Newman used a two-tire pit stop and to defeat the dominant Jimmie Johnson and win his first Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Johnson led 73 of 160 laps, but a disastrous 17-second final pit stop snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the five-time champion and four-time Brickyard winner.
At the end, Newman won for the 17th time in his career and the first time since Martinsville (Va.) in April 2012. Johnson held on for second, coming home ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne. Newman’s boss and teammate Tony Stewart was fourth, followed by Matt Kenseth.
Newman started from the pole and led the first 30 laps, until the first round of green-flag stops.
Second-place Johnson took the lead then on the basis of a 12.8-second pit stop. And once out front, Johnson easily pulled away, before a caution for Jeff Burton’s stalled car on Lap 81. Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. stayed out to lead over Carl Edwards and Johnson.
Logano took the lead from his Penske teammate Logano on the restart, with Johnson quickly moving to third behind Earnhardt.
On Lap 98, Logano pitted, which left Johnson and Newman 1-2. And as the laps wore on, Newman, the first driver on four fresh Goodyears, kept the heat on Johnson.
Johnson pitted from the lead on Lap 109, putting Jamie McMurray and Denny Hamlin out in front. Then, on Lap 114, the caution came out for Timmy Hill’s stalled car.
But the race was lost for Johnson on pit road. He came in on Lap 134 and his four-tire stop took an agonizing 17 seconds. Newman took just two tires when he stopped on the next lap and came out 7 seconds ahead of Johnson, with nine cars ahead of them both.
And that was the race, with Johnson cutting into the gap, but unable to make up the 10 seconds he lost on pit road