A two-tire stop and a mistake by Ryan Newman helped Jimmie Johnson become a first-time winner in Busch Grand National at Saturday's Sam's Club-Hills Bros 300.
Johnson, winning in his 57th start, came into the pits in third and, thanks to crew chief Tony Liberati's strategy, rolled back onto the 1.5-mile tri-oval at the new Chicagoland Speedway in front of the field on Lap 158.
Newman dominated, leading twice for 84 laps, and was out front before his final stop, when he took four tires and fell to sixth. After a restart he began to chase down Johnson's Chevrolet, moving up to second by Lap 171.
"I didn't want to look in my mirror," Johnson said. "I knew he was coming."
Newman's Ford moved right up to the leader's rear bumper on Lap 185 and hounded Johnson until the two caught the lapped car of Mike McLaughlin four laps from the end.
Johnson passed McLaughlin with relative ease, but Newman made a critical error, clipping the slower car with the left front of his car.
The damaged sheet metal cut Newman's left front tire and he ricocheted off the wall. NASCAR put him under a black flag, but Newman, who lost a lap on the track, kept driving slowly to the finish. NASCAR penalized Newman two laps and six seconds for ignoring the black flag and scored him in 26th place.
Johnson cruised to a nearly 5-second win over Mike Skinner. Jeff Burton was third, followed by Joe Nemechek and Jason Keller.
Dan Pardus, who was in a two-car crash, was taken to an area hospital. He sustained a lumbar fracture of the lower back and was reported in stable condition.
KROGER 225: Series leader Scott Riggs passed pole-sitter Jack Sprague with nine laps left and went on to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race at Sparta, Ky.
Sprague, who led much of the race, passed Riggs to regain the lead on Lap 140, but dropped behind on the next lap when his truck developed engine problems. He finished third.
Riggs extended his lead in the standings over second-place finisher Joe Ruttman from 49 to 59.
Sprague and Ted Musgrave traded the lead several times during the first 100 laps. Musgrave took the lead on Lap 118 only to be bumped into the wall while trying to pass Matt Crafton on the outside.
MOLSON INDY: There's nothing like seeing a familiar face at the front of the pack. Or is there?
Gil de Ferran won his first pole of the CART season, edging Penske Racing teammate Helio Castroneves. That means the two Brazilians will have to rein in their aggression when they funnel into Turn 1, a sharp right-hander on the temporary street circuit.
"Roger (Penske) is going to talk to us so we don't get too close to each other," Castroneves said. "We have to make the first turn and the last turn."
Just after Castroneves posted the fastest time (57.767 seconds, 109.370 mph), de Ferran came back with a lap at 109.492 mph in 57.703 seconds. De Ferran, fastest in both rounds of practice on Friday, hadn't won a pole since last season's finale at California.
BRITISH GRAND PRIX: Though Michael Schumacher can make history with his 51st Formula One victory today, he'll be thinking about another number.
"There are still (a maximum of) 70 points available this season," Schumacher said after winning the pole at Silverstone, England.
A win would tie him with Alain Prost for the most in F1 history. He covered the 3.194-mile circuit in 1:20.447 in his Ferrari to beat the McLaren-Mercedes of Mika Hakkinen by .082 seconds.