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Newman holds off Biffle for second straight Busch title

Associated Press

Ryan Newman raced to his second straight Busch Series victory Saturday in Brooklyn, Mich., passing Greg Biffle with six laps remaining and holding him off by 0.766 seconds in the Domino’s Pizza 250.

Newman, the winner last week on the road course in Watkins Glen, has finished in the top five in all four of his Busch starts this season.

Newman, driving a Dodge on the two-mile Michigan International Speedway, started 38th in the 43-car field and quickly moved near the front of the pack. He passed Biffle as the race restarted after the last caution period.

“It was fortunate to have that restart,” Newman said. “My car was probably the best it had been, and his car was probably not as good as it had been.”

Carl Edwards finished third, while season points leader Martin Truex Jr. was fourth.

The Michigan race featured 11 full-time Nextel Cup drivers and veteran Bill Elliott, who now runs a part-time Cup schedule.

Newman blew by Biffle on the race’s last restart. Biffle had dominated the last third of the race but was worried his right front tire was damaged during the race’s last caution period.

Biffle said he did all he could in the final laps.

“I don’t think I could have gone any faster on the restart,” he said. “I never lifted for two laps, and (Newman) just took off.”

Truex has won six of the Busch Series’ 25 starts. He has 14 finishes in the top five.

Nemechek will start from pole

Joe Nemechek withstood a rain delay to win his first pole of the NASCAR Nextel Cup season at Michigan International Speedway.

He enters the GFS Marketplace 400 today in 17th place in the points standings, meaning he most likely won’t be in the Chase for the Cup. Four races remain before the competition.

“I hope this is a turn for our luck for the season,” said Nemechek, who drove his Chevrolet at 191.581 mph. “We’re looking forward to good things.”

Jeff Gordon, fighting to make the Chase for the Cup, will start second. Kasey Kahne will go third and Kyle Busch fourth.

Season points leader Tony Stewart qualified 36th at 187.583 mph. Stewart has won only one pole this season, but he has won five of his last seven starts. He holds a 15-point lead over Jimmie Johnson, who qualified 10th.

“We’re trying to win a championship,” Stewart said. “(The car) was all right. I’m pretty excited and I think it’s going to be good for tomorrow.”

A shower hit the track after 43 of 48 drivers had made their qualifying runs, leading to a nearly one-hour delay.

Castroneves edges Hornish for pole

Helio Castroneves walked into the room with a huge grin, put one hand on Sam Hornish Jr.’s shoulder, then started pumping his fist.

Castroneves was thrilled that the Marlboro Team Penske Racing teammates had just earned spots on the front row for today’s Honda Indy 225 in Fountain, Colo.

Castroneves earned his first pole in nearly two years, edging Hornish by 0.0023 seconds for the team’s third straight pole on short tracks. The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner finished the mile in 20.5218 seconds (175.423 mph), earning his first pole since October 2003 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Rookie sensation Danica Patrick had the day’s fastest practice time, finishing in 20.546 seconds during the second session. But when the temperatures cooled and the wind switched in qualifying, her team had trouble getting the setup right, ending up fifth at 20.6435 seconds.

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