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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)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team battled back from a bad re-start after the first caution of the race to finish 17th in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, November 20, 2015 Sunday`s final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for thirteenth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick will be joined by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Truex, Jr. will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Sunday will be Gordon`s last race as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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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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