Newman claims MBNA 400

Monday, June 2, 2003

DOVER, Del. -- Ryan Newman lost power steering, but not determination, and held off Jeff Gordon to win Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

The victory in the MBNA 400 gave Newman what he hopes will be the momentum to move into contention in the Winston Cup points race.

Newman's Dodge led 162 of 400 laps in the $4.7 million race on The Monster Mile, and beat the Chevy of Gordon by 0.834 seconds on an overcast, cool and windy day.

After making a charge that carried him late last season to a sixth-place finish in the series and rookie of the year status, Newman has had a difficult start in 2003. No one had failed to finish more races, and that was costly.

This time, he overcame adversity.

"I lost the power steering with about 180 laps to go and that made it really hard," he said. "I couldn't even scrub my tires like the rest on the cautions because of it."

But the burly driver had enough strength to keep Gordon behind him when the four-time series champion tried to dive underneath him in Turn 1 after the green flag waved for the final time with six laps to go.

"He raced me clean, and I appreciate that," Newman said. "He could have tapped me and got me loose. I was proud to race with him."

Crew chief Matt Borland was proud of his 25-year-old driver.

"The Kid did an awesome job," Borland said.

Gordon agreed.

"Ryan's very smooth and runs a good line," Gordon said. "He deserves to be in Victory Lane today."

But Gordon and third-place finisher Bobby Labonte thought Tony Stewart would have won had it not been for a one-lap penalty from NASCAR for pitting slightly out of the box.

"Tony was by far the class of the field," Gordon said.

Stewart, easily the fastest car in the field, recovered to finish fourth. He had no comment after the race.

The victory was the first by a Dodge at Dover since Richard Petty in 1976. Dodge was out of the sport for 16 years before returning in 2001.

Even with his victory, Newman is 18th in the title race and trails points leader Matt Kenseth by 569 after 13 of 36 races. Newman has acknowledged he needs to pick up the pace to live up to expectations that he would be one of the favorites to win the championship.

Newman had the fastest car from the outset of the weekend, and won his season-high fourth pole in qualifying Friday. He parlayed that into his second victory this year and third overall.

Monaco Grand Prix

MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Juan Pablo Montoya won the Monaco Grand Prix, ending Michael Schumacher's three-race winning streak in Formula One.

Montoya held off Kimi Raikkonen in the final laps on the twisting street course for his second career victory.

Raikkonen was second, 0.6 seconds behind at the finish of the 78-lap, 2.08-mile course. Schumacher finished third.

BPU 200

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Shelby Howard became the youngest ARCA driver to win on a superspeedway as he won the BPU 200 on the 1.5-mile tri-oval at Kansas Speedway.

The 17-year-old, already the youngest ARCA winner ever, earned his second victory of the season. Howard took the lead on a restart with 21 laps left and pulled away late.

-- From wire reports

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