Newman Wins 50th 500

Ryan Newman shocked the racing world today by winning his first Daytona 500. Newman came out of nowhere to pass Tony Stewart on the final lap of the 50th installment of The Great American Race. Sunday’s 2008 Daytona 500 victory was Newman’s first victory in 81 races. Newman’s teammate Kurt Busch came in second.

Newman also made history for his car owner Roger Penske, this was the first restrictor plate race ever won by a Penske Racing Driver.

The only one happier than Ryan Newman and Roger Penske are NASCAR bettors. Oddsmakers at online sports book Bodog had set Daytona 500 betting odds on Newman at 30/1. Bettors who backed Newman were paid a whopping $3000 for every $100 wagered on Newman.

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The story of the day appeared to by Joe Gibbs racing driver Kyle Busch. Busch led the most laps of any driver in the 2008 Daytona 500 but he failed to lead the lap that counted. Kyle Busch had without question the fastest car for this year’s 50th Daytona 500 but in the end he failed to secure the drafting help needed to propel him to victory.

Busch found himself behind Gibb’s Racing teammate Tony Stewart on the final restart and looked resigned to help Stewart until the tandem of Kyle’s brother Kurt and his teammate Ryan Newman freight trained Stewart and Kyle Busch on the outside on the final lap.

This year’s Daytona 500 was fairly uneventful for the first half of the race. There was only one caution in the first 100 laps and that came on lap 80. The second half was a different story however.

After passing the half way point it seemed that cautions bred cautions. Of the 7 caution flags in this year’s 500, six of them occurred with less than 50 laps to go.

Sunday’s Daytona 500 victory also has to be a big shot in the arm for Dodge who had a winless streak to rival Ryan Newman’s personal drought. 5 of the top 10 finishers in this year’s Daytona 500 were Dodge.

Next week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to California where the Ford’s are traditionally the manufacturer that paces the field. Keep an eye on the Gibb’s Toyota’s though, if this race is any indication they are going to be a serious contender for the 2008 Sprint Cup.

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