All was almost forgotten for Ryan Newman after winning the Crown Royal presents the “Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard powered by BigMachineRecords.com” on Sunday.
“I don't show a lot of emotion. I think everybody knows that.” But he did add there was something special for to the win at the fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “To me, it's awesome to be here at Indy. It's awesome because it's my home state,” Newman said after getting down on his knees at the start/finish line and, joined by his family, kissed the famed Yard of Bricks.
The win comes two weeks after being told by his boss, Tony Stewart, that he would be out of a ride with Stewart-Hass Racing at the end of the year, Newman went out and one of the most-prestigious races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit.
“The emotions have been an absolute roller coaster,” Newman said, describing the 15 days since the race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “Loudon was a disaster. I got fired a couple of weeks ago, come back here, win the pole and win the race.”
On this day, the win could also have special meaning for Newman as he duelled current Sprint Cup Series leader Jimmie Johnson all afternoon to win the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard. Newman and Johnson dominated the race, leading a combined 118 of the race total 160 laps. Johnson actually looked to be in control of the race, but a slow pit stop late in the race was all that was needed to give Newman the trip to Victory Lane. Johnson was gracious in the fact he was just over 2.5 seconds slower than Newman, as the winner raced under the checkered flag.
“We win as a team, lose as a team,” Johnson reflected on what might have been. An uncharacteristic slow pit stop by his crew negated any chance of Johnson getting his fifth win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “There's definitely disappointment there, but that's racing. It happens.”
Kasey Kahne finished the race in third place.
Stewart, who finished the Brickyard 400 fourth, was quick to bestow praise on the race winner and the driver who will be out of a job at Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of the current season.
“He's a great teammate and an even better friend,” Stewart said. “He just had an awesome weekend. Just really proud of him.”
Johnson continues to build on a brilliant 2013 season and widened the gap atop the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. Four wins and 14 Top-10 finishes in 20 races to this point of the season give Johnson a 75-point lead on his nearest challenger, Clint Bowyer. Carl Edwards is third in the standings.
The Sprint Cup schedule returns to Pocono Raceway, in Pennsylvania, for the GoBowling.com 400 on Aug. 4, 2013.