Indianapolis—Jimmie Johnson dominated on the way to a fourth Brickyard 400 trophy at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard, tying teammate Jeff Gordon for all-time NASCAR wins at Indianapolis.
Johnson kissed the bricks in 2006, 2008, and 2009 winning championships in those seasons. Johnson also gives Hendrick Motorsports an eighth win at the storied track.
“That victory lap, going around the track was something special,” said Johnson, who led 99 of 160 laps. “You just hope to race here and to come here and win is a huge honor, and then to have four – four wins, man I’m loss for words.”
Johnson’s fourth win ties a childhood hero, Rick Mears. Johnson’s accomplishment had the five-time Sprint Cup champion nostalgic while in victory lane.
“I can remember back to watching the (Indianapolis) 500 with my grandfather and my dad sitting on the couch,” Johnson said. “Watching the 500 take place and my grandfather telling me stories about Indy and that he came here and he was at the racetrack.”
“I’m glad to have my own memories here for my own family,” added Johnson. “It was a total team effort on all fronts.”
Kyle Busch had a team effort to get up to the second position, but the No. 18 was unable to catch Johnson who was clearly the class of the field.
“I didn’t know you could go around this place that fast,” Busch said. “You talk about guys being in their own zip code, he was in his own country today.”
“We gave it everything we had,” said Busch. “It feels like a win for us for as bad as the last two months have gone, and I’m a lot happier today than I have been in the last two months.”
Greg Biffle finished third after running in the top-five all day. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., finished fourth.
“We had about a fourth to eighth place car,” said Earnhardt. “The car was fast and I was trying to pass Biffle, but couldn’t get any closer than I was.”
Earnhardt takes over the Sprint Cup points standings after Matt Kenseth finished 35th following a late race crash.
“If you run in the top-five and top-10 enough you’ll get enough points,” said Earnhardt, about the top spot. “We’d like to win some more races.”
Jeff Gordon finished fifth. Polesitter Denny Hamlin was sixth, Ryan Newman finished seventh, and Martin Truex, Jr., finished eighth. Brad Keselowski finished ninth, and Tony Stewart rounded out the top-10.
Earnhardt is 14 points over second place Kenseth, third place Biffle is 22 points back and Johnson is 27 back in fourth. Hamlin (-64) is fifth, Harvick (-78) is sixth, Truex (-78) is seventh, Stewart (-79) is eighth, and Keselowski (-82) is ninth. Clint Bowyer holds the final Chase spot 88 points back. Wild card positions are held by Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne.
Other notes from the Brickyard:
Trouble plagued Carl Edwards and the No. 99 as early as lap 13 when Edwards was forced to pit lane with an apparent engine issue. The team lifted the hood to assess the situation and Edwards returned to the track two laps down. Under the first caution on lap 40 Edwards was able to get back down pit road to make repairs. After a 29th place finish, Edwards said the team had not informed him of the specific cause of the issue, but said “they think it is some issue with the ECU.”
On lap 132 Joey Logano made contact with Trevor Bayne while battling for position. The contact forced Logano down and into Bobby Labonte. Logano then lost control and drifted up the track in front of Matt Kenseth. Kenseth spun to the inside and came to a stop where the left front caught fire. Kenseth was able to vacate the car quickly and walked to the ambulance for the obligatory ride to the infield care center.
“Disappointing end of the day, we didn’t run particularly well,” said Kenseth. “The farther we got back the dumber people drove.”