Taking advantage of Johnson's glitch on pit road during an exchange of green-flag stops late in the race, Newman, the polesitter, found himself with a three-second lead when pit stops cycled through the field on Lap 149 of 160 and held on to win Sunday's Crown Royal presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"(Crew chief) Matt Borland made an awesome call," Newman said. "I've won more races with him on old tires and out of gas than I have with four tires and the best car."
17-SECOND STOP COSTS JOHNSON SHOT AT WIN
A slow pit stop on Lap 133, because of a problem with the left rear tire, cost Johnson his edge over Newman. With a quick stop one lap later, Newman was back on track with a five-second advantage over the No. 48 Chevrolet, as the drivers waited for pit stops to cycle through.
Johnson couldn't make a significant dent in Newman's margin over the remaining laps.
"We had a problem on the last pit stop and I believe the No. 39 took two (tires) as well where we took four (tires)," Johnson said. "He was coming really strong on four the run before. I don't fault the call by any means. To be honest, I have squandered away a few wins late in the race myself here in the last month or two."
DALE JR. GOES FROM LOOSE WHEEL TO SIXTH
Starting 15th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had moved up a position by lap 12 when he came to pit road with a loose wheel. The stop dropped him to last place.
The early stop though helped him climb to 14th by the first caution, and crew chief Steve Letarte's pit strategy kept the No. 88 in the top 10 for the rest of the race, finishing sixth.
"We had a loose wheel on the start of the race; that was weird to have a loose wheel then," Earnhardt said. "We changed our strategy and made it work."
The NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this report.