Race Review: Brickyard 400

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tp0708IND_indy_418Welcome race fans to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the twentyth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. This year IMS is having it’s 100th anniversary of the race track. Every year on Labor Day weekend IMS is host to the Indy 500. In 1994 NASCAR and it’s stock cars held their first race here. Jeff Gordon won that first race here. The next year Dale Earnhardt won the race. When Dale Jarrett won it in 1996, his crew chief, Todd Parrott decided it was such a special race to win, DJ’s whole crew turned their caps around and they all kissed the yard of bricks. NASCAR has done that ever since. When the Indy 500 driver wins, they get a quart of milk to drink and pour over themselves. When someone wins the Brickyard 400, they kiss the bricks. In this race several records have a chance to be broken. Sam Hornish, Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya have both won the Indy 500. Can one of them be the only one to win both races here? Jeff Gordon has the most wins here with four. Can he make it five? No one has ever won two in a row. Jimmy Johnson won last year. Can he make it two in a row? Mark Martin has never won the Brickyard 400. Can he do it this time? Traditionally, the winner of this race goes on to win the championship. Tony Stewart is the points leader coming in to this race. Can he win and go on to win the championship? Or will Jimmy win and be the first to win four Titles in a row?

Qualifying on Saturday was delayed because of rain, but they did get in qualifying and Happy Hour. 5 Mark Martin starts on the pole with a speed of 182.054. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya is second with the speed of 180.803. Not even close. 21 is Bill Elliott, who qualified fourth. 08 is Terry Labonte, getting in on his former champion provisional. He starts last. 36 is Mike Skinner from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He finished second in his race at O’Reilly Raceway Park just down the street from here. Going home are 09 Sterling Marlin, 76 Derrike Cope and 13 Max Pappis.

Reporters told Gordon he was going for his fifth Sprint Cup championship, and how does he feel about that. Gordon replied that he has four Winston Cup championships. And he’s going for his first Sprint Cup championship. That they are much different and that he’s still trying for his first. Good for you, Jeff.

14 Tony Stewart is the in-car reporter. They go an extra lap before the Green Flag to remove the debris from the opening ceremonies on the track. Indy is a 2.5 mile track, and they will be racing 160 laps for 400 miles. 20 Joey Logano changed an engine and will start from the rear. 5 jumps in front of 42 to lead. And the first caution comes out on the first lap when 7 Robby Gordon spins. 19 Elliott Sadler is smoking and dropping fluid and Robby gets into the oil.

At the restart, 5 bobbles in turn one and 42 takes the lead. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. gets by 43 Reed Sorenson. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. takes second from 5. 19 goes to the garage with the leak. 14 Tony Stewart gets by 83 Brian Vickers and 21 for fourth. 5, 83 and 14 get by 88. 82 Scott Speed is pitting after he gets into the wall. 24 gets by 1. 1 and 12 David Stremme battle and 17 Matt Kenseth gets into the battle. 1 gets by, but 17 gets loose and can’t get by 12.

14 gets by 83 for third. 29 Kevin Harvick pits and 18 Kyle Busch follows to start Green Flag pitting. 14 leads when 42 pits. 11 Denny Hamlin has transmission issues when his shifter comes off in his hand.71 David Gilliland leads, then pits. After all the pitting, 42 is back in the lead. 2 Kurt Busch had a loose wheel and had to come back in to fix it, putting himself a lap down. 11 goes to the garage with a broken drive shaft. He comes back out sixteen laps down.

The second caution comes out on lap 58 when 18 Kyle Busch gets into the wall and goes to the garage. He was complaining about a vibration. 96 Bobby Labonte is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. 42 is leading and chooses the inside for the Restart. He jumps ahead. 14 gets by 48 Jimmy Johnson. 14 and 48 get by 88. 48 gets by 14. 48 looses it, but saves it. 20 gets by 47 Marcos Ambrose. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. gets loose off the corner and gets into the wall, cuts a tire, and pits. 55 Michael Waltrip is in the pits with the hood up after overheating.

Another round of Green Flag pitting commences. 07 Casey Mears leads. 42 is back in the lead after it all. 48 can’t get by 83, but finally does. 18 is back out, 46 laps down. 19 is back on the track, 119 laps down. 00 David Reutimann and 29 Kevin Harvick get by 71 David Gilliland. 16 Greg Biffle is pittin a little early. 83 leads when 42 pits. 42 is too fast exiting pit road. He claims he wasn’t speeding, but NASCAR says he was too fast in two loops. He just lost the race. 5 is leading.

The third caution comes out when 88 blows up. 96 Bobby Labonte is again the Lucky Dog and gets back on the lead lap, with 33 laps to go. 5 chooses the inside for the restart. 48 takes the lead on lap 137. 00 gets by 29 for seventh. 31 Jeff Burton pits and comes out in front of leader 48. 55 is being pushed behind the wall. 42 and 20 battle back and forth for eleventh. 5 catches leader 48. 42 gets by 20.

And 48 Jimmy Johnson wins the Brickyard 400. This is his third win here, and two in a row. According to tradition, he should win the championship. The top ten are: 48, 5, 14, 16 , 83, 29, 9 Kasey Kahne, 00, 24 and 17 Matt Kenseth. A great race. And no tire issues like last year.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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