When just about everybody else decided to take a tire-changing pit stop in the final few laps on Sunday, Newman figured he’d be going in with them.
His crew chief Luke Lambert thought otherwise. It was a decision that earned Newman a victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, ending his 127-race winless streak.
“Just a heck of a gutsy call by Luke Lambert,” Newman said. “It’s his first win as a crew chief in the cup series and I think making a gutsy call like that makes it that much more special for him.”
While the leaders were in the pits, Newman moved from seventh to first and for the final two laps held off Kyle Larson, the second-place finisher for the third straight race.
Kyle Busch, the leader for nearly all of the final stage of the race, was third on a day when the temperature soared to 97 degrees at Phoenix International Raceway.
Like nearly all the rest of the field, Larson and Busch went to the pits on the late caution caused when Joey Logano’s car blew a right tire and slammed into the wall six laps from the finish.
Newman won his 18th Cup race but his first since the 2013 Brickyard 400. He gave Chevrolet its first victory of the season and ended a 112-race losing streak for Richard Childress Racing.
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