Newman strategy simple

He puts pedal to medal to win race

Associated Press

LONG POND, Pa. -- Ryan Newman used the oldest tactic in auto racing once his team assured him he had enough fuel to take him the distance.

"I just put the pedal to the metal, and did the best job I could, which was apparently good enough," he said.

Late caution flags helped Newman stretch his gas to the end, allowing him to barely hold off hard-charging Kurt Busch and win Sunday at Pocono Raceway.


Newman was asked to go the final 46 laps without stopping. Save gas, he was told earlier, and do it without letting anybody pass.

"Those two things are contradictory, and hard to do," Newman said.

But Newman has a degree in engineering from Purdue, and a knack for solving problems. Newman also played the fuel card two weeks earlier and won at Chicagoland Speedway.

This time, he needed some help -- plenty of it -- to complete the race.

That aid came in the form of crashes involving rookie Casey Mears and Bobby Labonte that slowed the field for a total of 12 laps late in the Pennsylvania 500.

"Those cautions played to our favor for sure," Newman said. "I think in hindsight we wouldn't have been able to make it if we hadn't had those cautions."

While teammate Rusty Wallace, who finished 11th, was berating his crew, Newman was praising his.

"It was a matter of going for a gutsy call," Newman said.


Wallace's team decided to bring him in for a late stop, infuriating the 1989 Winston Cup champion whose career-worst losing streak reached 82 races.

"We were so damn conservative on our pit calls," he said. "We were basing everything on the race going green the rest of the way and we wouldn't have enough fuel.

"Ryan said the heck with that, we hope we have some cautions and we hope we can make it on fuel. They gambled and it paid off. I love my guys, but when I've got to hit pit road, it scares me."

Busch never let up in a battle between the biggest winners this season on the circuit.

Newman parlayed his series-leading fifth pole of the year into his fourth victory of the season and fifth overall. He and Busch came in leading the circuit with three wins apiece.

Newman's Dodge beat the Ford of Busch by .307 seconds.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. also conserved fuel and lasted to be third in his Chevrolet, followed by teammate Michael Waltrip and the Chevy of two-time Pocono winner Terry Labonte.

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