By Jim Utter
The Charlotte Observer
INDIANAPOLIS: Looking for work: A talented NASCAR driver with a resume that includes a Daytona 500 victory and after Sunday, a win in the Brickyard 400.
Ryan Newman may be without a job next season — at least for now — but he’s certainly not out of talent.
Newman, who started from the pole Sunday, used a late-race two-tire pit strategy to wrestle the lead away from Jimmie Johnson and capture his first win at iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The win is Newman’s first in the Sprint Cup Series this season and 16th of his career. The victory apparently is too late to salvage his job at Stewart-Haas Racing, which recently announced it would not field an entry for Newman after this season.
Regardless of the necessity of the win to find a new job, the win was also special for Newman, a native of South Bend, Ind., who grew up around the history of the track.
Johnson, the series points leader, ended up second, Kasey Kahne third, Tony Stewart fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth.
While Newman led the first 29 laps of Sunday’s race, Johnson quickly asserted himself when he took the lead for the first time on Lap 31 after a round of green-flag pit stops.
Timmy Hill’s car slowed on the track to bring out the first caution on Lap 59. On the restart on Lap 65, Johnson continued to lead the way, followed by Newman and Carl Edwards.
Jeff Burton broke a rear gear in his No. 31 Chevrolet and was unable to return to pit road, which brought out a caution on Lap 82.
Edwards was the first car off pit road but four cars elected not to pit and remained on the track.
On the restart on Lap 87, Brad Keselowski led the way followed by Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon.
Logano completed a pass for the lead after the restart.
The drivers who elected to pit on the most recent caution began green-flag pit stops on Lap 95. That helped Johnson move back into the lead on Lap 98.
When all the pit stops were completed, Newman emerged with the lead on Lap 149, followed by Johnson and Kahne.