Sunday, July 29, 2012

Five-Time makes it four times at the Brickyard: Jimmie Johnson wins at Indy

The Johnson Family kissing the bricks.
Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR
Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team knelt on Crown Royal-purple cushions and kissed the bricks for the fourth time in his career. Owner Rick Hendrick was right beside him as the five-time champion added the eighth Brickyard trophy to the Hendrick Motorsports trophy case, joining Jeff Gordon as the only four-time winners at the historic venue. 

“Wow, man that victory lap to go around the track is something special.," Johnson said with obviously reddened eyes. His voice wavered as he spoke. "A big thank you to all the fans out there cheering it lets it really soak in. To come here and win is a huge honor, then to have four wins I’m at a loss for words."


The win gave Johnson his third of the season, and he earned it in dominating style, leading five times for 99 laps. Kyle Busch, who had a fast car and finished second said after the race that Johnson wasn't just in his own zip code, but his own country. Greg Biffle tried to put up a fight but wound up in third, saying, "He ran me down in two laps from 25 car lengths." 

Fourth-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. wanted the win, but settled for the points lead instead. With Matt Kenseth getting caught up in a wreck on Lap 133, Earnhardt Jr. went up by 14 points. Perhaps it's no coincidence that the No. 48 and No. 88 teams share a race shop. Gordon finished fifth, giving HMS a third car in the top five.

The Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at The Brickyard powered by Big Machine Records began with deliberate calm after a drivers' meeting where questions about yesterday's start and restart issues prompted stern words from Mike Helton. Carl Edwards started on the outside and gave polesitter Denny Hamlin's No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota plenty of space to cross the starting line first. Hamlin led the first 26 laps but couldn't get his car quite right and wound up finishing sixth. He tweeted after the race, "Not the day we were looking for. Still a solid weekend for our FedEx team. Just couldn't get the car where we needed." 


Edwards didn't fare as well, developing an electrical issue that sent him to pit road on Lap 13 and putting him two laps down. He finished a disappointing 29th with new crew chief Chad Norris. 


The nineteenth NASCAR Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway slowed five times for 25 laps. Despite some concern about passing on the 2.5 mile oval, the lead changed 17 times among nine drivers. 


Drivers points after the 20th race of the 2012 season: (1) Earnhardt Jr. 731; (2) Kenseth 717; (3) Biffle 709;(4) Johnson 704; (5) Hamlin 667; (6) Harvick 653;(7) Truex Jr. 653; (8)  Stewart 652; (9) Keselowski 649; (10) Bowyer 643; (11) Kyle Busch 588; (12) Edwards 582.

Fin Start Driver
1 6    Jimmie Johnson
2 7    Kyle Busch
3 5    Greg Biffle
4 20    Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
5 9    Jeff Gordon
6 1    Denny Hamlin
7 11    Ryan Newman
8 17    Martin Truex, Jr.
9 22    Brad Keselowski
10 28    Tony Stewart
11 19    Mark Martin
12 15    Kasey Kahne
13 27    Kevin Harvick
14 8    Paul Menard
15 33    Clint Bowyer
16 24    Sam Hornish, Jr.
17 18    Trevor Bayne
18 14    Regan Smith
19 4    Aric Almirola
20 23    Marcos Ambrose
21 12    Juan Pablo Montoya
22 16    Jamie McMurray
23 32    Dave Blaney
24 26    David Stremme
25 38    Landon Cassill
26 29    Bobby Labonte
27 31    David Gilliland
28 36    David Ragan
29 2    Carl Edwards
30 42    Ken Schrader
31 37    Stephen Leicht
32 21    Jeff Burton
33 3    Joey Logano
34 25    Casey Mears
35 10    Matt Kenseth
36 13    Kurt Busch
37 30    Travis Kvapil
38 34    Scott Speed
39 41    J.J. Yeley
40 35    Josh Wise
41 40    Scott Riggs
42 39    Mike Skinner
43 43    Mike Bliss

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