Ryan Newman won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., is the series leader through six races.
MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Ryan Newman needed help and was running out of time. Finally, Clint Bowyer provided an opening with two laps to go in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
Bowyer’s aggressive move took out Goody’s Fast Relief 500 leaders Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson entering the first turn, allowing Newman to slide into the lead. Newman held off A.J. Allmendinger and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on another restart for his first victory in the last 23 races at NASCAR’s highest level.
“We were not a dominant race car,” Newman said. “Clint kind of cleared out Turn 1 for us and we were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.”
The reverse was true for Gordon, who led 328 laps, and Johnson, who led 112. The Hendrick Motorsports teammates seemed poised to battle it out to see which one would give owner Rick Hendrick his 200th Sprint Cup victory, but neither had a chance in the end.
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Johnson — who said Bowyer “threw a dive bomb in there” — finished 12th and Gordon was 14th. Another Hendrick driver, Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw, started from the pole but finished 38th of 43 because engine failure eliminated him after 256 laps.
Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., finished 13th. Six races into the 36-race Cup season, Biffle leads the standings by six points over Earnhardt.
Gordon angrily sought out Bowyer after the race.
“He said he got hit from behind by (Newman),” Gordon said. “I had nowhere to go. Jimmie had nowhere to go. It was pretty unfortunate.”
Power surges to victory
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Will Power won his second consecutive Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, once again holding off Scott Dixon.
Power started ninth but took the lead on a late caution and pulled back in front of Dixon on a double-file restart with 16 laps left.
• Robert Hight raced to his third straight Funny Car victory, beating Bob Tasca III in the final in the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. Other category winners were Spencer Massey (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock).