Saturday night's Chevy Rock 'n Roll 400 at the three-quarter mile Richmond International Raceway certainly lived up to its title as Ryan Newman survived a four lap dash to the chequers to score his sixth win of the season.

Newman managed to coax more than 130 laps out of his final tank of fuel, aided largely by a trio of late caution periods, as he held off Jeremy Mayfield and Ricky Rudd in what was a pulsating 400-lap bash around the wide, D-shaped oval.

After the race Kevin Harvick's and Ricky Rudd's respective pit-crews had some rockin' and rollin' of their own to get off their chests after Rudd was perceived to have tapped Harvick out of second place and into the turn one wall on lap 394. A rather wild melee ensued between the two pit crews and several parties, Harvick included, were ushered straight into the NASCAR hauler.

Harvick eventually finished 16th after looking poised to end his run of three-straight runner-up finishes with a win, the driver of the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet confident that he had the fuel to last the distance should the race stay green following the eleventh caution of the night on lap 319.

Behind Mayfield and Rudd, Jeff Burton and Rusty Wallace rounded out the top five on a night where no less than 12 drivers swapped the lead 20 times and 14 caution periods slowed the action for a total of 75 laps.

The track sealer also proved to be a talking point, as terrific two and three wide racing was the order of the night up and down the field.

Points leader Matt Kenseth survived a spin to finish seventh and further extend his championship lead while Jeff Gordon led a race-high 126 laps before a mystery mechanical problem caused him to fade in the final 100 laps. He finished ninth.

Dale Earnhardt Jr led for 76 laps and was amongst the strongest cars of the evening when he suffered a puncture while battling Harvick for 2nd on lap 356 and fell to 17th.

Tony Stewart had a fraught evening, getting swamped in the early stages and suffering several bumps and scrapes as the night wore on. After Jeff Burton tapped him into the turn three wall on lap 195, Stewart faded away to 27th.

There were several multi-car crashes, the worst of which involved ten vehicles on lap 95, triggered when Dave Blaney got the #77 Jasper Engines Ford broadside in front of the field heading off turn two.

John Andretti's lap 121 spin with Greg Biffle's assistance triggered a second, six car wreck and a heavy numeration of other single/double-acts contributed to a high number of walking wounded at the end of the race.

Among the victims were Robby Gordon, (on course for a top five finish in the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet), Ricky Craven, Jason Leffler, (who led convincingly for nearly 20 laps in the early going), Steve Park, Michael Waltrip, (for the third week running), Kyle Petty, Bill Elliott, Busch race winner Johnny Sauter, Casey Mears, Todd Bodine and Christian Fittipaldi.

There were also a couple of mechanical hard luck stories as both Jimmy Spencer and Tony Raines saw potential top five efforts go sour. Spencer retired 'Mongo' from fourth position with a sick motor on lap 324 while Raines simply tore through the field during the opening 100 laps before making a costly 35 laps pit stop to repair a broken fuel pump on the unsponsored #74 BACE Motorsports Chevrolet. Raines soldiered on to 35th, with Spencer 36th.

 

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