Newman squeezes out a win

Posted: April 02, 2012

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Ryan Newman needed help and was running out of time. Finally, Clint Bowyer provided an opening with two laps to go at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.

Bowyer's aggressive move took out race leaders Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson entering the first turn, allowing Newman to slide into the lead, and he held off A.J. Allmendinger and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on another restart for his first win in 23 races.

"We were not a dominate 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, and neither had a chance in the end.

"Jeff and I had been the class of the field so I really thought it was going to be a race between the two of us, and it certainly didn't turn out that way," Johnson said.

He wound up 12th, and Gordon was 14th.

Gordon angrily sought out Bowyer after the race, and heard the whole story.

"He said he got hit from behind by the 39 [Newman]," Gordon said. "I had nowhere to go. Jimmie had nowhere to go. It was pretty unfortunate . . . I didn't want to see that last caution. We had such a great battle with [Johnson] . . . It was going to be an interesting race.

"That's just the way our year's been going. It can't go on like this forever."

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