From Pole to Victory Lane for Newman
With Roger Penske in attendance, 22-year-old future race star Ryan Newman won the Blue Grass Quality Meats 200 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday.
Newman has now won two ARCA races, Kentucky Speedway and Pocono, the two that he has run as a member of Penske's No. 27 Alltel Team.
"The racecar was set up perfectly today," Newman said. "We come here to run laps, and if we win races, it's a feather in our cap," he said.
A native of South Bend, Ind., Newman needs two more classes to earn an engineering degree from Purdue University and has spent this summer defending his United States Auto Club Coors Light Silver Bullet Championship.
Newman won the Blue Grass Quality Meats 200 pole on Friday with a 171.103-mph lap and led 83 of the 134 laps this afternoon. The key to Newman's win was pit strategy through numerous caution periods. Newman pitted early, during a caution on Lap 24, while the rest of the field stayed on the track. It paid off as Newman held off the field the rest of the way in front of 29,464 fans.
The final lap of the race was a restart after two caution laps caused by a spin by Bob Strait (No. 66 Midway Islands Ford) in Turn Four. Newman held off a surging Tim Steele (No. 16 HS Die-Soft Tech Ford) on the final lap to get the win. "I wish I could've pushed the pace car there on the last lap," Newman said.
Steele, winner of the ARCA Kentucky 150 on July 2, crossed the line 0.985 seconds behind Newman for second place. A.J. Henrikson (No. 71 Engineered Components Ford) finished in third place after starting in the 20th spot on the grid. Frank Kimmel (No. 46 Advance Auto Part-Pork White Meat Chevrolet) was the only other driver to hold the lead. Despite being in front for 51 laps, a flat tire put Kimmel two laps behind and in 12th place.
The pace of the race was slowed by eight caution flags covering 36 laps. Newman's average speed for the race was 115.720 miles per hour.
The weekend of racing at Kentucky Speedway continues Sunday with the Belterra Resort Indy 300 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are still available by calling 1-888-652-RACE.