After sweeping the front row (Newman-first, Stewart-second) for Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Stewart-Haas Racing completed the race 1-2, just as they started. Newman was able to conserve enough fuel and hold off Stewart to earn his first win of the 2011 season.
“We backed up what everybody said we couldn’t back up, and that was our qualifying effort on Friday,” Newman said. “We put it on ‘em today. We don’t put it on ‘em every weekend, so we need to relish this moment and figure out what we did right so we can keep doing it.”
Stewart reassured the media afterwards that he held nothing back.
“I can promise you, I didn’t leave anything out there. That was as hard as I could run till the end. I couldn’t get the rest of the way. I couldn’t get any further than that.”
Newman’s final pit stop took place on lap 217 of 301, giving him track position when the majority of the field hit pit road nine laps later. Among those that hit pit road on lap 226 was Stewart, forcing him to push through.
“I got in a period when I caught Jeff Gordon, I think he was running fourth or fifth at the time, I got to his bumper but I couldn’t really do anything. I ran about three laps where I kept slipping the rear of the car, just got the tires hot. I basically had to back away from him and run my pace again, just let everything cool down. Then we made that second charge at him and were able to get by him and keep marching forward.”
“The problem was, to do what we did to get a second, I mean, I used everything up getting there. That was as far and as close to Ryan as I could get. We just couldn’t get the rest of the way.”
Denny Hamlin rallied after a spin on lap 172 to score a third place finish. Hamlin’s teammate Joey Logano finished in fourth with Jimmie Johnson in fifth. Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Martin Truex Jr., Marcos Ambrose and Kurt Busch rounded out the top 10.
Kyle Busch, who was the points leader coming into Sunday’s race, finished 36th after blowing a tire (melted bead) and slamming the outside wall in turn 2. Busch is now fifth in the point’s standings, 20 points back from leader Carl Edwards.