Feb. 17, 2008
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Another thriller, another heartbreak at the Daytona 500.
For the second straight year, The Great American Race came down to the last lap. This time the drama rewarded Purdue alum Ryan Newman, who hadn't won in 81 races over more than two years, and team owner Roger Penske, long the king at Indianapolis but never a winner at Daytona.
Newman waited while the big stars fell back one by one. Then, with only Tony Stewart ahead of him, Newman got a "push from heaven" from teammate Kurt Busch to take the lead on the final lap.
"Kurt was the push from heaven that made it all happen," Newman said. "Without a doubt, he could have easily gone three-wide and split us through the center and made one heck of a mess there. But he chose to be a teammate, and that was the most honorable thing that he could do."
A native of South Bend, Ind., Newman picked up his first win since New Hampshire in September 2005.
The 30-year-old Newman earned his bachelor's degree in vehicle structure engineering from Purdue in 2001.