A born and bred Hoosier, Ryan Newman spent his childhood racing everywhere from Anderson to Winchester and every short track he could find in a state mad about racing.
He graduated from Purdue and landed a summer job working in Jeff Gordon’s old race shop in Pittsboro. One of the perks? He got to live in the shop and sleep alongside the cars.
And like many Indiana kids, he revered Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track he first visited in 1986 and later accidentally stumbled upon NASCAR’s inaugural 1992 test while out buying tires with his mother.
A win at the famed Brickyard in Indianapolis? That would be a dream come true for the South Bend native.
Newman made the boyhood dream a cool reality, taking the checkered flag Sunday to end a 49-race winless streak in front of his home state fans. His parents, who fueled his love of racing and took him to the 500 as a kid, joined him for his biggest win in Indiana.
Newman beat Johnson twice on this Brickyard weekend, first when he set a NASCAR track record in knocking Johnson off the pole in qualifying, then Sunday with a fast final pit stop to snatch the win from the four-time Indianapolis winner.
Johnson, the Sprint Cup Series points leader who was hoping to tie Formula One’s Michael Schumacher as the only five-time winners in Indy history, finished 2.657 seconds behind Newman in second.
“There’s definitely disappointment there, but that’s racing. It happens,” Johnson said. “We win as a team, lose as a team. There’s been some late race mistakes on my behalf that have taken race wins away from us. Granted, not a major event like this. We still ended up second.
“We have a lot to be proud of over the course of the weekend. We’ll do the best to let it roll off our shoulders by tomorrow afternoon.”
Kasey Kahne, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, was third, and Stewart was fourth as Chevrolet swept the top four spots.
Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, Hungary, from pole position to clinch his first victory of a frustrating season.
Kimi Raikkonen was second followed by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
Ron Capps raced to his second Funny Car victory of the season for his fourth career win in the NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Sonoma, Calif.
Capps held off 15-time season champion John Force in the final.
Shawn Langdon won the Top Fuel final, Vincent Nobile topped the Pro Stock field, and Hector Arana Jr. won in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review's sports newsletter
Get the day's top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.