Newman relishes rare Sprint double

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King Features

When Ryan Newman crossed the finish line at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, having won for the 15th time in his Sprint Cup career, he enjoyed a pleasing, but rare, overlap.
Newman also started on the pole in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. It was the 47th pole of Newman's career. Only nine drivers have ever won more. But it was only the fourth time Newman won after starting out front.
"We backed up what everybody said we couldn't back up," he said. "That was our qualifying effort on Friday. I had won three for 46, now four for 47.
"We'll relish this moment and figure out what we did right so we can keep doing it."
Eight of Newman's 15 career victories occurred in 2003, when he drove for Roger Penske. He was selected as Cup's 2002 Rookie of the Year over Jimmie Johnson, who has since won five championships.
Newman's owner and teammate, Tony Stewart, finished second, marking the first time teammates both started and finished 1-2, in the same order, since 1957.
As the laps wound down, Newman had track position but was low on fuel. He managed to save enough fuel to maintain the lead and hold off Stewart's charge.
"One of the best cars here is the '14' (Stewart). There were a couple other cars at different times, but the '14' was mired back in traffic," said Newman. "He had to run the wheels off of it to get up to where he had some track position so he could try to run us down.
"Fortunately, it stayed green. I was more worried about a yellow coming out with five to go. 'Do we have enough fuel for a green-white-checkered (finish)? Usually those things that come and squash us didn't happen today. Maybe a change of luck for us from that standpoint."
Newman, like Stewart, is a native of Indiana. The 33-year-old South Bend native graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a degree in vehicle structure engineering.
Now eighth in the Sprint Cup point standings, Newman became the 13th driver to win in the season's first 19 races.
Monte Dutton covers motorsports for The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette. E-mail Monte at nascarthisweek@yahoo.com.