Ryan Newman snatches Phoenix victory with strategy gamble
Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman secured victory at the NASCAR Cup’s visit to Phoenix Raceway after a late strategy gamble.
Newman stormed to his and the team’s first win in the series since 2013 after opting to stay out during the final caution with five laps to go.
Joey Logano triumphed in the opening stage of the three-part race, leading 74 of the 75 laps, but caused the late caution with a blown tyre and collision with the barrier at the first corner.
Leaders Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson - who spent most of the final stage at the front of the pack - both pitted at the final caution for new tyres, alongside several others.
But the likes of Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex all took the risk of staying out on worn tyres for the final run to the flag.
The racing went into overtime and resumed with two to go, with Newman getting a good jump on the field at the restart and holding on to give RCR a surprise win.
Larson and Busch both gained places in the final laps, having swapped round following their respective pit stops, to finish second and third. It is Larson's third runner-up finish in a row.
Stenhouse was unable to keep them behind and fell to fourth, with Brad Keselowski in fifth having spent much of the final segment near the sharp end of the field.
Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones, both rookies in the Cup series this year, were seventh and eighth. Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin completed the top 10.
Chase Elliott won the second phrase but lost ground in the final segment, finishing behind Truex in 12th place.
It was a race of high drama, with eight cautions in total - including crashes for Matt Kenseth, Gray Gaulding and David Regan.