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Newman carried the burden of trying to win for so many supporters, especially Stewart. But ease up because his boss was on his bumper? Never.
"He was the one I didn't mind seeing in my mirror," Newman said.
He also saw the rest of the field. Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and five-time champion Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.
Hamlin nipped at Newman late and made a serious push until fuel concerns forced him to ease off.
"As bad as I wanted to go up there and race those guys, I had to make the smart move and finish the race," he said.
Johnson and Jeff Gordon, who finished 11th, both rallied from major setbacks for strong finishes. Kyle Busch, who started the race as the points leader, had tire issues, was forced to the garage and finished 36th.
Carl Edwards finished 13th and retook the points lead.
With some of the top drivers scuffling, Newman and Stewart stayed out front down the stretch. Newman led 119 of the 301 laps for his 15th career Cup victory and third at New Hampshire.
Newman's major concern was stretching his fuel tank over the long, sweeping corners to the end. Crew chief Tony Gibson warned him several times he was running low and to conserve gas.
"I didn't think he was going to make it," Gibson said.
Stewart shared those concerns.
"I don't mind running second and having him win the race, versus us winning the race and him running out of fuel," Stewart said. "This is a much more gratifying weekend for me."
More gratifying, yes. Perhaps just as puzzling, though, as why the duo have failed to find the winning combination before this weekend. Whatever they hit on worked and the off weekend before the Brickyard 400 should be a fun one.
"We need to sit down and figure out why this weekend was so great," Newman said.
They need more great ones ahead if they want to race for the title in September.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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