It took six hours, 14 cautions and three red flags but as the sun was setting over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday night, Kasey Kahne was celebrating victory. Here’s how it all went down Sunday at the Brickyard.
Kyle Busch led the field to the green on the outside from his second consecutive Indy pole. Kevin Harvick, and Jamie McMurray were second and third. Jimmie Johnson gave up his fourth-place starting position and had dropped to the rear after his crew was forced to change an engine overnight. That moved Denny Hamlin up to fourth, Martin Truex Jr. to fifth.
Busch had the lead entering turn 1, Harvick fell into second, Truex, McMurray and Ryan Newman were the top five.
Johnson was up to 25th by lap 4.
Ryan Blaney was fifth by lap 6. Teams were reporting rain within 5 miles of the track; due to overnight rain, NASCAR has called for a competition caution for lap 20.
The lead for Busch was two seconds by lap 8 as Truex was looking for second. He had second by the start of lap 9.
The first caution of the day came out on lap 9 after Corey LaJoie spun and got into the wall in turn 3. He was able to drive away with heavy damage and headed right to the garage.
The top 10 stayed out, others behind pitted, but lightning in the area forced NASCAR to bring the cars to pit road and red flag the race at lap 12. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued shortly after.
The track was dried quickly and the engines were re-fired and the yellow was displayed after 1 hour and 47 minutes. NASCAR moved the competition caution to lap 30.
After a few laps under caution, the green came out to start lap 17.
Busch had the lead by turn 1, again, Truex second. McMurray moved to third; Harvick, and Blaney were the top five. By the end of the lap, the lead was 1.5 seconds. Johnson moved to 19th.
Chase Elliott reported he was losing power on lap 22.
Blaney was fourth by lap 24; Kyle Busch had a lead of 2 seconds.
The competition caution, number 3 on the day, came out on lap 31.
Pit road opened and was a busy place as all the leaders pitted. Kyle Busch was out first followed by Truex, Blaney, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.
Elliott’s crew put the hood up and tried to diagnose the issue with no luck; Denny Hamlin and Newman made contact with both getting damage. Hamlin came back in.
Green came back out to start lap 35. Busch again had the lead by turn 1, Truex second, Blaney third; it was a fight for spots behind. By the end of the lap, Harvick had fourth, Logano fifth.
Kyle Busch, in the lead, reported a vibration. The lead was under a second.
Elliott’s engine let go on lap 44; there was no caution and he headed to the garage.
Johnson had moved into the top 10, he was ninth, by lap 47.
Kyle Busch won the first stage followed by Truex, Blaney, Harvick, Logano, Kenseth, McMurray, Kyle Larson, Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The fourth caution of the day was displayed.
Kyle Busch was out first followed by Truex, Harvick, Logano and Blaney. Earnhardt lost 10 spots when an air gun had an issue. He came out 22nd.
Green came back out to start lap 56; Busch again took the lead, Harvick took third, Logano fourth, Kenseth fifth.
Behind them David Ragan, JJ Yeley got together entering turn 1; Jeffrey Earnhardt was also swept up, and caution five flew.
The leaders, except Blaney, stayed out, several others outside the top 10 in the field pitted.
Green came out on lap 64; Busch again on the outside, again had the lead by turn 1; Truex took second, Larson was third followed by Harvick and Kenseth.
The lead was back up to a second by lap 68. There were 34 cars on the lead lap.
Yeley lost a tire on lap 71 and caution seven flew.
The leaders all pitted as some deeper in the field pitted. Kyle Busch was out first followed by Logano, Truex, Kenseth and Harvick.
They lined up starting in ninth as Erik Jones, Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, Newman, Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Landon Cassill stayed out.
Green came out to start lap 76; Jones took the lead on the inside as Blaney slipped on the outside, but behind them Austin Dillon stacked up the field and Earnhardt suffered heavy damage after getting hit from behind; he lost a radiator and was done for the day. He left fluid on the track and caution eight was displayed. On restart, Busch had made it up to sixth.
The top five when green came back out to start lap 81: Jones, Blaney, Keselowski, Menard and Hamlin.
Blaney on the outside too the lead this time as Jones fell into second. Keselowski was third, Kyle Busch fourth, Hamlin fifth. Busch took third on lap 84. Keselowski had fallen to sixth.
Busch retook the lead on lap 87, Truex followed into second.
By lap 93 Busch had a lead of 2.2 seconds.
Stage 2 ended with Busch again out front by 3.8 seconds.
Top 10 Stage 2: Busch, Truex, Blaney, Jones, Harvick, Kenseth, Hamlin, Logano, Keselowski and McMurray.
Caution nine came out at the end of the stage. The leaders pitted. This time Truex won the race off pit road, Busch was second followed by Blaney, Kenseth and Harvick.
Green came out to start lap 106; Truex had lead by turn 1, Busch was a close second. It was a scramble behind with Kenseth taking third, Harvick fourth, Blaney fifth.
It didn’t last long as on lap 107, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. running 15th spun out of turn 2 and hit the inside wall hard. He had been fighting with Johnson and got loose entering the corner.
The restart came to start lap 111. Entering turn 1 side by side Truex down low and Busch up high, Truex got loose slid up into Busch and both crashed. Both were done, with the car of Truex bursting into flames as it slid to a stop. Truex was able to get out uninjured.
After extensive cleanup, the green came out to start lap 120. The top 10: Kenseth, Harvick, Blaney, Hamlin, Jones, Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, McMurray, Kurt Busch and Newman.
Harvick took the lead on the outside but Kenseth stayed close and got by for the lead on the backstretch; Harvick fell into second, Hamlin third, Blaney fourth, Jones fifth.
Kenseth and Harvick were soon moving away from third place Hamlin. Everyone still needed to stop for fuel.
Blaney pitted from fourth on lap 130, Logano followed. Hamlin pitted on lap 132, several others deep in the field followed.
Harvick and Kenseth pitted on lap 133.
Keselowski, Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Trevor Bayne and Michael McDowell were among a group of cars who stayed out hoping for a caution. With fresher tires, Kenseth was quickly coming through the field.
Among the top five, only Bayne had enough fuel to make it to the end.
Kenseth was seventh by lap 144. He was fifth by lap 149, as Kahne pitted.
The 12th caution came one on lap 150 when Bowyer spun exiting turn 4; he swept up Kurt Busch, Jones and McMurray. NASCAR threw the red flag.
The red flag was displayed after 20 minutes and 20 seconds.
The field came in for fuel except for Newman and Kahne who stayed out. Off pit road Keselowski was out first followed by Bayne, Johnson, Kenseth and Hamlin.
The green came out to start lap 153, seven to go.
Kahne was blocking Keselowski and held him off to grab the lead by the exit of turn 2; Keselowski was second, and soon Johnson was catching up to third. On the frontstretch Kyle Larson was blocked by Ty Dillon and turned hard up into the outside wall; caution 13 came out. Larson’s car, on fire, came to a rest in turn 1 but he was able to climb out uninjured. Blaney was also swept up but continued with minimal damage.
The restart came with two laps to go. The top five: Kahne, Keselowski, Johnson, Bayne, and Hamlin.
Kahne and Keselowski were side by side as Johnson was smoking behind. Kahne got loose and it was three wide entering turn 3; Johnson’s engine blew up, he spun and caution 14 came out.
Kahne was credited with the lead followed by Keselowski, Bayne, Hamlin and Michael McDowell.
The caution set up an overtime finish.
Kahne was on outside, Keselowski on the outside on the restart.
On the restart, Bayne was turned and a multi-car crash erupted; NASCAR threw the caution, number 15.
NASCAR soon threw the red flag. Keselowski was shown as the lead; Kahne was second, Hamlin, with damage, was third followed by McDowell and Newman.
The yellow came out after a 24 minute 16 second red flag, only a few minutes before the sun officially sat.
McDowell had a flat tire and was forced to pit. The top five on the restart: Keselowski, Kahne, Newman, Hamlin and Kenseth.
Kahne was able to take the lead by turn 1; Keselowski fell into second. Behind, Hamlin who had been smoking began to drop back; he spun and swept up Menard. Kahne crossed the overtime line and NASCAR threw the final caution ending the race and giving Kahne the win.
Keselowski held on for second, Newman was third, Logano fourth and Kenseth fifth. Harvick was sixth, Daniel Suarez seventh with Matt DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher and AJ Allmendinger rounding out the top ten.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series heads back to Pocono Raceway next Sunday for the Overton’s 400. Live coverage will be on the NBC Sports Network starting at 3:00 p.m. ET.
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