Ryan Newman had the car to beat on Sunday. After claiming the pole ahead of teammate and owner Tony Stewart the South Bend born Newman crossed the line ahead of him on lap 301.
Newman led the most laps on the day, and while there were other drivers who looked strong throughout the day he never lost sight of them. Pit strategy with a strong tire (take two, take two etc etc) and confusing announcing from he play by play booth of TNT made watching this race more like watching an event at Sonoma or Watkins Glen.
Newman was able to hang on to the win even as Stewart closed the gap in the closing laps. Much was made about Newman pitting earlier then Stewart for gas but there were few cars who ran out of gas at the end of the event and one (Juan Pablo Montoya) was one who had pitted for gas later.
Carl Edwards moved back into the points lead on the back on Kyle Busch cutting a tire and hitting the wall early on. Busch would return to the race but was many laps down. When asked if contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr may have caused the tire to go down Busch said that that was not the cause and that the media could forget about that.
The win helps Newman’s chances of finishing inside the top-10 as the “regular season” grids to a close, it also gives him added breathing room if he should need to rely on a wild card spot.
The series is off next week but heads to Indianapolis in two weeks.