Harvick wins Brickyard 400, Dale Jr. 14th No. 8 Budweiser Team fights back from wheel woes Kevin Harvick won Sunday's 10th annual Brickyard 400 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was Harvick's first victory of the season, as he...
Harvick wins Brickyard 400, Dale Jr. 14th No. 8 Budweiser Team fights back from wheel woes
Kevin Harvick won Sunday's 10th annual Brickyard 400 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was Harvick's first victory of the season, as he topped Matt Kenseth in second and rookie Jamie McMurray in third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team finished 14th. The Bud team started near the back of the field, worked their way as high as third position before making an extra pit stop to replace a loose wheel. Dropping to 23rd with less than 20 laps remaining, Dale Jr. made an aggressive rush back through the field in the final laps. The finish allows Dale Jr. to remain in second place in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings, 286 points behind Kenseth.
The Key Moments:
Starting 36th, the Budweiser car was a red rocket early in the race, jumping into the top 20 by the 20th lap. Good fuel mileage allowed the team to get into the top-three during the first yellow-flag period, but lost the position when a loose wheel caused a severe vibration. The team made an extra stop seven laps later to replace four tires, dropping them deep in the field again. After moving back through the field, the team fell victim to a yellow flag on lap 139, dropping almost a full lap behind the leader. The Budweiser team made their quickest four-tire pit stop of the season on lap 146, servicing the car in 12.5 seconds.
Dale Jr. Quotes:
"It could have been a lot worse, I guess. We fell out of sequence when we had to pit to fix the bad vibration. Track position is so crucial here, once we dropped back in the field, we had to really hustle to get every position. It was a good comeback late in the day. We were better than a 14th-place car if you looked at the lap times, but we never could get near the front to take advantage of it."
Best Radio Conversations
The huge Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex made radio communications troublesome during the race. In addition to the team's regular spotter, Ty Norris, engine builder Richie Gilmore was an additional spotter for the team, and Dale Jr. had difficulties hearing both spotters and Tony Eury Jr. during the race.
Dale Jr.: "Y'all gotta speak clearer! I can't understand anybody! When you talk it sounds like 'wa wa wa wa wa wa.'"
Tony Eury Jr. (car chief): "Do you wanna take a rubber out of the left rear or put one in the right rear?"
Dale Jr: "What? I can't understand! All I hear is 'wa wa wa wa wa wa wa...'
Ty Norris (spotter): "He asked if you wanted a rubber out of the left rear or in the right rear."
Dale Jr.: "Uhh... take one out, I guess. I'm tight, tight... we need to free it up... (almost breaking into song) I WANNA BE FREE!"
The radio problems proved to be bothersome through the entire race.
Dale Jr: "Guys, you gotta keep forgetting that I'm yelling at ya. When I holler at ya, I'm sorry, but if I can't hear ya, I get upset. When the race gets goin,' it just sounds like y'all are hollerin' and distorted. I can't understand anyone..."
After the checkered flag, Dale Jr. gave a brief pep talk while he made the cool-down lap.
Dale Jr: Y'all keep your heads up. That was a good comeback today. You can't win with your head down, so let's be proud of the day and go on..."