Two controversial moves clouded the end of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, but when the dust settled it was Ryan Newman crossing the finish line first and celebrating in victory lane.
Laps are put under caution when there is an accident or other event on the NASCAR track, and this can lead to some interesting finishes. A caution allows the pack to get close together, putting drivers in a position they would not have been in had the race not been slowed down for them.
Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., three of the most popular racers in NASCAR history, were out in front of the pack and it looked like fans would see an exciting finish. With three laps to go, the caution came down: David Reutimann's car had stalled on the track and needed to be cleared away.
"I don't know what the hell [Reutimann] was doing," Clint Bowyer told USA Today after the race. "He drove around for 10 laps with no brakes and finally just stopped."
After the race, Reutimann said he was trying to finish in the top 35, as this awards his team points for the season. Instead, it only served to affect the riders up front. Earnhardt was especially mad at Reutimann, as the restart allowed several racers, including Bowyer and Newman, to pass him.
That led to the second half of the controversial finish, as Bowyer tried an ill-advised move that ultimately didn't pay off. Bowyer attempted to go below Jeff Gordon, but ended up causing an accident that knocked Gordon, Bowyer and Johnson all out of contention.
Later, Bowyer would claim he was bumped by Ryan Newman - who benefitted the most from the crash, as it allowed him a clear lane to the front. Newman held the top spot through the caution and then held off A.J. Allmendinger for two laps as the race came to a close.
"I'm not in a position to point fingers, because I won," Newman told the news source, chuckling. "In all honesty, I gave Clint a pretty good shove at the start-finish line. The seas kind of parted and opened up, and we went right through there."