Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tony Stewart goes to Victory Lane at Phoenix as owner of Newman's winning car

Ryan Newman celebrates Stewart-Haas Victory at Phoenix
Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

Tony Stewart visited Victory Lane at Phoenix Saturday night but his stay was brief.  He came, not as the winning driver, but as the winning owner.  Ryan Newman took his No. 39 Tornados Chevrolet to Victory Lane for the first win of the season for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Stewart briefly led the race in the early laps but his team was never able to make the adjustments that were needed to keep the car up front.  As the race went from day to night, the car slipped back in the field.  Stewart finished the race 23rd and dropped one spot to ninth in the Sprint Cup standings.

Newman won the race with a combination of luck, a good pit call, and a mistake by Jeff Gordon.  A late-race caution sent the drivers to pit road for tires.  Newman and Gordon took two tires each and the duo re-started on the front row.  A tire spin by Gordon was all Newman needed to grab the lead and get his first victory after 77 winless races.

Stewart was both pleased and frustrated after the race.  "As a driver, I hate the way I ran tonight. But as an owner, I'm very happy for Ryan," Stewart said.