NASCAR Race Review: Brickyard 400

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Each year the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series goes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They started going to this famous track in 1994 and Jeff Gordon won that inaugural race. The open wheel cars race here for the Indy 500 on Memorial Day weekend. To celebrate the win, they drink mild. Cup drivers race the Brickyard 400. In 1996 Dale Jarrett won the Brickyard 400 and he and crew chief Todd Parrett decided to start a Cup tradition at this track. The whole crew knelt down at the yard of bricks that marks the Start/Finish Line and kissed the bricks. Brickyard 400 winners have been kissing the bricks ever since.

6 David Ragan starts from the Pole with a speed of 182.994 mph in qualifying and 49.182 seconds around this 2.5 mile track. This is his second pole this year. The #6 UPS  car is blue this week, sporting NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, “Gentleman” Ned Jarrett. What an honor it would be to win this race for Ned. 4 Kasey Kahne starts next to him on the front row. Juan Pablo Montoya has won the Indy 500 here at this track. Can he be the first Sprint Cup driver to win both the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400? Jeff Gordon has four wins here. Can he make that five today? Reigning Champion, Jimmie Johnson has three wins and went on to win the championship twice. Can he make that four wins and six championships? 160 laps make 400 miles. The track is nearly flat with only 9 degrees banking around the corners.

So, here we go! 4 Kasey Kahne leads the first lap and 6 David Ragan gets shuffled back. 43 A. J. Allmendiner drives around 48 Jimmie Johnson. 22 Kurt Busch scrapes the wall and looses positions. 14 Tony Stewart drives on the apron to take three spots. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. bumps 20 Joey Logano and Joey makes a nice save. 24 Jeff Gordon gets by 48. 21 Trevor Bayne is overheating and makes a pit stop. 24 gets by 43 for third and then by 6 for second. 43 makes a pit stop, as does 9 Marcos Ambrose. 24 takes the lead. Green Flag Pitting commences and 17 Matt Kenseth takes the lead. 14 hits the commitment cone and has to go back around. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya bumps 31 Jeff Burton and Jeff misses his pit stall. After it all, 4 is back in the lead.

The first caution comes out on Lap 34 for debris. 34 David Gilliland gets back on the lead lap. (18 Kyle Busch threw his water bottle out of his window to bring out the caution, so why was he not penalized for doing that?) The Green Flag comes back out on Lap 39. 42 gets 5 Mark Martin loose but Mak makes a nice save. 83 Brian Vickers, 14 Stewart and 20 Logano are three wide with 14 getting by them and 20 driving below 83. 11 Denny Hamlin gets by 5 for fifth.

The second caution comes out when 00 David Reutimann is hard into the wall when his right front tire went down. 9 Marcos Ambrose gets his lap back. In the pits, the  4 crew drops a lug nut. 14 has a long pit stop. 88 stays out to lead. They restart on lap 53. 24 takes the lead. 48 gets by 88 for second. 1 Jamie McMurray makes a pit stop. He was loose and they tightened the car too much. 2 Brad Keselowski pits. He is also too tight. 88 pits from third and Green Flag Pitting starts again. 48 takes the lead when 24 pits. 27 Paul Menard leads, then pits. 24 is back in the lead after it all. 42 gets debris on the grill. He lets 6 get by to get it off.

The third caution comes out on Lap 94 for debris. Something came off 42. 32 Mike Bliss gets one of his two laps back. 18 leaves his pit stall, right onto the car ahead of him and has to back up into his stall for repairs. 48 and 83 get together in the pits. 17 comes out first but 27 does not pit and leads the way. 83 has a tire smoking where he hit 48. 22 moves 48 out of the way and 48 makes a nice save. 17 moves 27 over to take the lead. 48 nearly gets into the wall twice. (No three strikes and not out)

The fourth caution comes out when 18 gets into the wall. (He keeps going so there was no need for a caution.) 2 stays out to lead. 31, 1 and 51 Landon Cassill also stay out and 51 gets in the way. They fan out on the straightaway but get two by two into the corner. 9 changed lanes before the Line and has to make a pass through. They get four wide and 51 spins, bringing out the fifth caution. Several cars get onto the grass to avoid it all and there is much grass on the track. 29 Kevin Harvick in eighth pits but the top seven and others stay out. 99 Carl Edwards has a splitter broken that they have to repair. They restart with 34 laps to go.

29 makes a planned pit stop for fuel. (They can make a pit stop under Green without loosing a lap, and many are doing so.) 33 Clint Bowyer takes the lead. He pits and 24 takes the lead. 6 leads when 24 pits. 14 leads when 6 pits. 14 pits and 27 leads. 1 gets by 5 for second. 21 gets by 78 Regan Smith for fourth. 1 takes the lead. 21 pits for fuel. 27 and 1 are saving fuel. 24 drives by 5  forcing 27 to get going. 27 has saved enough gas and with three laps to go, he gets going. 24 catches 27 but does not have enough time to make the pass.

27 Paul Menard wins his first race in the Brickyard 400! He is the first to win his first race at IMS. He is the fourth first time winner this year. Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500, Regan Smith won the Southern 500 at Darlington and David Ragan won the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. After he does his burn out and Victory Lane, they drive Paul by the fans to kiss the bricks. There were twelve different leaders and Kasey Kahne led most of them. He finished eighteenth. Regan Smith finished third, followed by Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch for the top ten. In the Points battle, Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson stay in first and second. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth move up one spot, while Kurt Busch falls three spots to sixth. Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman stay in seventh and eighth. Tony Stewart moves up two spots into ninth and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drops a spot into tenth.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.

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One Response to “NASCAR Race Review: Brickyard 400”

  1. The Paul Michaels Says:

    Enjoyed your post.
    You may enjoy my posts about NASCAR and the Indy 500.
    Try a look if you get a chance.
    I was a Tour Guide for many years and have some great photos.
    Keep the rubber down.
    Paul

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