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Newman steals win after late caution

After a routine race at Martinsville, the drama went into overdrive at the same moment the race went into overtime, thanks to David Reutimann and Clint Bowyer.
This year's Goody's Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race had been a rather quiet affair, as is usually the case with races held on the half mile Martinsville Speedway - the shortest and slowest of the venues visited by the series over the course of a season.

It had looked like it was going to turn out be a very good day indeed for Hendrick Motorsports, especially Jeff Gordon who had led 328 of the scheduled 500 lap race distance, the most anyone had led at Martinsville since Jimmie Johnson put in 339 laps in front way back in October 2008.

Johnson was at the front on Sunday, too, as was Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a Hendrick 1-2-3; only the latest HMS recruit, Kasey Kahne, was missing from the team line-up as the end of the race approached, his Chevrolet engine having given up around the midway point of the race. It was just typical of the sort of horrible luck the youngster has been having in 2012 so far.

With Gordon taking the lead again with just four laps remaining - just over a minute of racing at these speeds - there was a sudden yellow flag being shown, after David Reutimann stalled his car on the front stretch after having been going slowly for several preceding laps. The Hendrick drivers couldn't believe it: why hadn't Reutimann simply pulled into pit road earlier? It wasn't like he was in any contention by this point of proceedings.

"I would like an explanation on why that happened, from him, his crew chief, somebody," fumed Earnhardt. "I would like to hear a good excuse, to be honest with you, because I'm sure it would be laughable.

"He was running around slow; you got a problem, you ... get down and get on pit road. I don't believe he had any trouble getting down," he added. "It doesn't seem like there could be a logical reason for him to end up stopped on the track."

"The thing quit going down the back straightaway, and it shut off. I didn't just stop there intentionally. I know it sucks. I hate it for everybody that it affected, but I mean I can't get out and push the thing," countered Reutimann afterwards. "It broke a tie rod or something like that. I was just trying to limp around there. We needed to finish the next couple of laps to try to stay in the top 35."

Reutimann is sharing the Tommy Baldwin Racing #10 Cup ride in 2012 with Danica Patrick, and the 35th place finish he ended up with at Martinsville does indeed drop the car out of the all-important top 35 in owner points for the next race. That the car will now have to qualify for each race on speed rather than be guaranteed entry on points: for a rookie like Patrick, that's a potentially huge problem.

They didn't know it yet, but Reutimann's attempt to limp around would end up costing the Hendrick squad the race. They would not be happy with Reutimann - and nor would NASCAR, who summoned the driver and his crew chief to the hauler after the race for a good talking-to about proper etiquette.




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Jeff Gordon leads Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Fast Relief 500 a Martinsville Speedway on Sunday in Martinsville, Va. (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Right to left) Ryan Newman leads AJ Allmendinger and the rest of the field to the final restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday in Martinsville, Va. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman (#39) slides by as Clint Bowyer (#15), Jeff Gordon (#24) and Jimmie Johnson (#48) spin to cause the final caution during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday in Martinsville, Va. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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chriszx7 - Unregistered

April 11, 2012 12:15 AM

Having watched the race, I wouldn't doubt Reitueman turned his car off on purpose because he was black flagged. And tie rods retain to steering, not the motor...



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