Avondale, Ariz. Ryan Newman broke a 77-race Sprint Cup winless streak Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway, taking the lead after a late caution and holding off Jeff Gordon in a two-lap shootout.
Kyle Busch was cruising to what would have given him a weekend sweep when a caution flag came out with three laps remaining. When the lead-lap cars pitted, Busch took four tires and came out eighth — behind six cars that took only two tires and Jimmie Johnson, who also took four and was seventh out of the pits.
Gordon beat everybody out of the pits, but spun his tires on the restart in a green-white-checker finish. Newman then charged inside and took the lead and held on for his first victory since the 2008 Daytona 500.
“It’s been a long time coming for me to get to Victory Lane,” Newman said. “I’m gracious to be here. This is the most emotional victory I’ve ever had in my entire career just because it’s been so long.”
Newman, driving the No. 39 Chevrolet owned by Tony Stewart, had led only two laps before the final two. That lead came during the first caution only 21 laps into what became a 378-lap race — instead of the scheduled 375, already 63 more than last spring — on the oddly shaped mile track.
Johnson, who had won four of the previous five races at Phoenix, finished third.
Newman snapped Hendrick Motorsports’ string of six consecutive victories at Phoenix and gave Chevrolet its 10th straight win at the track. Chevy drivers had the top five spots, with Mark Martin fourth and Juan Pablo Montoya fifth.
Matt Kenseth was sixth and Carl Edwards seventh in Fords, while Busch finished eighth in his No. 18 Toyota.
Busch had taken the lead from Johnson on a restart on lap 263, then stayed in front and was seemingly on way to his first Cup victory of the season. But the caution came out when Scott Riggs blew a right front tire — while running just ahead of Busch — and ran into the wall.
Busch won the Nationwide race Friday night at Phoenix in dramatic fashion, benefiting from a late caution.
Power takes Indy GP pole
Birmingham, Ala. — Will Power will start the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama up front, the same place he has been finishing lately.
Power has won the first two IndyCar Series races this season. He grabbed the pole Saturday with a fast speed of 118.057 mph. Penske Racing teammate Helio Castroneves (117.186) was third behind Mike Conway (117.197).
Power also took the top starting spot in St. Petersburg two weeks ago. This is his fourth career pole position.
Marco Andretti (116.5050), Scott Dixon (116.038) and Takuma Sato (115.904) rounded out the Top 6. Danica Patrick was 19th (115.749) out of 25 drivers.
Marshall taps Pitt aide
Huntington, W.Va. — Tom Herrion was ready to become a head coach again, even if it meant leaving a successful program at Pittsburgh. The former Panthers associate head coach was introduced as Marshall’s new coach Saturday. Herrion was given a five-year contract.
Patterson: Return possible
Lexington, Ky. — Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson says he is weighing the possibility of returning for his senior season instead of jumping to the NBA.
Patterson made the comments in an interview with the Associated Press on Saturday while attending horse races at Keeneland.
A news release from the school earlier this week listed Patterson as one of five underclassmen who were declaring for the NBA Draft. The other four are all freshmen: guards John Wall and Eric Bledsoe and centers DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton.
Luge leaders study report
St. Leonhard, Austria — The International Luge Federation has begun meetings to finalize a report examining Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death at the Vancouver Olympics.
Officials declined comment before Saturday’s start of the two-day sessions of the federation’s sport and technical commissions. They aim to approve an investigation into Kumaritashvili’s fatal accident on Feb. 12.
Boston College takes title
Detroit — Cam Atkinson scored twice, John Muse made 20 saves, and Boston College won the NCAA hockey championship for the second time in three years with a 5-0 victory against Wisconsin on Saturday night. The Eagles scored four times in the third period, with Atkinson and Chris Kreider scoring 2:02 apart early in the period.
Atkinson scored again midway through the period.
A world indoor attendance record was set for hockey with a crowd of 37,592 at the home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions.
Wizards blank Rapids, 1-0
Kansas City, Mo. — Ryan Smith danced his way through Colorado’s defense all night and set up Kei Kamara’s goal in the 48th minute, lifting the Kansas City Wizards to a 1-0 victory over the Rapids on Saturday. Smith got the assist on the game’s only goal, curling a free kick into the box, where Kamara outleaped two defenders and headed it in just under the crossbar.
Hughes says he’s ready
Tampa, Fla. — Yankees fifth starter Phil Hughes allowed one run and six hits over six innings in an extended spring training intrasquad game Saturday.
It was the second and final extended spring game for Hughes, who will make his first regular-season start Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels. Hughes says he’s “absolutely ready.”
Ponte Vedra finalists set
Ponte Vedra, Fla. — Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the final of the MPS Group Championships, beating fourth-seeded Elena Vesnina, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4. Wozniacki, ranked No. 2 and the defending champion, will meet unseeded Olga Govortsova in today’s final. Govortsova defeated third-seeded Dominika Cibulkvova, 6-4, 7-5, in Saturday’s other semifinal.