Texas: Newman takes victory

Ryan Newman converted his third position on the starting grid into a win in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The Penske Racing Dodge driver chased down crowd favourite Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 10 laps to go and became the seventh winner out of seven Winston Cup races this season. This was Newman's second victory the first coming last autumn at New Hampshire

Texas: Newman takes victory

Newman took the lead when Jimmy Spencer crashed on Lap 226 (of 334), causing a caution in the middle of a green-flag pit cycle. Newman was one of only eight who had not pitted when the caution flew. He then survived what appeared to be a strategic gamble during the final caution stops on Lap 285, taking two tyres and one can of fuel to go the distance. Nearly all of the remaining lead-lap drivers took four tyres.

Earnhardt got the jump on Newman at the restart. It took 20 laps for the DEI Chevrolet driver's tyres to wear in and Newman's mismatched sides to grow even. But soon after that Newman's gamble proved the smart move and he ground down Earnhardt's advantage. Newman would end the race nearly two seconds clear.

"Tyres and track position were key, for sure," said Newman. "We didn't think four tyres were going to make that much of a difference and we needed to get to the front some way."

Multiple Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon also chased down Earnhardt in the final stages. He tried three times to slip down the inside of the Budweiser car, twice drawing even, but Earnhardt beat him to line by half a car's length.

"We had a good car, but not good enough," said Earnhardt. "My car was junk there at the end. I tried to hold (Newman) on the bottom and make his car push, but he still got by me. Then I had a real good fight with Gordon."

Jerry Nadeau was fourth and Mark Martin fifth. Points leader Matt Kenseth continued his consistent run to finish sixth but could have done better had he not lost out on the Jimmy Spencer-caution when leading.


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