Newman Offers No Apology for Martinsville
Happy to Be in Right Place at Right Time
Ryan Newman wanted to make it perfectly clear.
In no way, shape or form was he going to apologize to anyone for what transpired during the final laps of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 to help him get to Victory Lane on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. On the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish after a caution came out on Lap 498 of what had been scheduled for a 500-lap event, Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet rammed into the back ofClint Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota and appeared to play a role in setting off a chain reaction that took out the top three cars in the field at the time, clearing the way for Newman to motor through the melee and onto the victory.
But Newman and others put the blame for the wild wreck that took outJeff Gordon andJimmie Johnson squarely on Bowyer.
"In the end, we did what we needed to do," Newman said. "We put ourselves in position to win. [Second-place finisher AJ] Allmendinger raced me clean and Clint [Bowyer] took out the rest of 'em on the first [green-white-checkered restart]. Somebody had to win; it might as well have been us. ... It worked out for us."
Newman said he anticipated a melee on the first G-W-C restart after the late caution that was brought about whenDavid Reutimann's No. 10 Chevrolet rolled to a dead stop on the frontstretch.
"You kind of know what's going to happen. I did what I had to do to get a jump on the third-place car. That's really who I was racing," Neman said. "Jeff was on old tires and Clint wasn't so his car might have been a little better, so he stuck his nose up under there. That's what you've got to do at Martinsville.
"Everything really hinged on the 10 car stalling on the front straightaway. That made for a pretty interesting finish."
Newman acknowledged that Gordon, who led a race-high 328 laps, wasn't very happy with him immediately after the race.
"Jeff came up and hit me [afterward], I'm not sure why," Newman said. "I'm sure it was because he had a dominant race car and he didn't win. But it wasn't me that caused that wreck. It was Clint who drove down underneath there.
"Clint put 'em three-wide, bounced off the curb and jumped up into 'em, from what I saw. That's what caused everything. I was going to make a run on Clint to do the same thing he was trying to do to Jeff. But Clint blocked me and I hit him right at the start-finish line and that kind of propelled him up to where he got up into the 24 car once they got to the corner. It worked out to my favor. I mean, it wasn't intended to be that way -- but it definitely worked out to my favor."
When he held off Allmendinger on the second green-white-checkered restart, it resulted in Newman's 16th career victory. It was the first in his career at Martinsville and his first of the young 2012 season.
Crew chief Tony Gibson admitted Newman didn't appear to have a winning car. But he applauded his driver for putting the car into position to do precisely that in the end, when it was the only time that really mattered.
"Clint cleared the way for us and Ryan did the rest," Gibson said. "He drove a great race all day long, never gave up -- and like I've said a million times, you put him somewhere near the front with 10 to go, look out. He's going to have a shot to win it."
Actually, Newman didn't think he drove a great race all day. He had to overcome a speeding penalty on pit road that put him one lap down at one point.
"We ended up going a lap down because of my speeding penalty, and that was totally on me," Newman said. "But we never gave up and did an awesome job of making changes to the car. We were not a dominant race car, but we put ourselves in contention. The way the strategy and everything worked out, coming in for two tires [on the last pit stop] and Clint kind of clearing out Turn 1 for us, we were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.
"We have been in that position here and been in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's nice to be able to at least balance it out."