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Ryan Newman saves his season

Ryan Newman's last-gasp pass of Kyle Larson at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday is one of the dramatic high points in the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

For everyone except Jeff Gordon, that is.

Because Gordon crossed the finish line in second place Sunday, Newman needed to finish 11th or better to secure his place in the final four at Homestead-Miami Speedway -- and bump Gordon from championship contention. Which meant Newman had to pass Larson on that last lap at Phoenix. Newman did just that -- with authority, pushing the Cup rookie into the wall on the final turn. Larson finished 13th.

"I think if Kyle Larson was in my shoes, he'd have done the exact same thing," Newman said afterward. "I didn't take him out. He still finished the race ... but I think in a day or two he'll understand, if he doesn't now. It's hard to rationalize that, but like I said, I did what I had to do and tried to keep it as clean as I possibly could. I don't like racing that way, but there's a lot on the line here, and we'll keep digging."

Of course, Twitter was all over it ...