Jimmie Johnson is getting used to kissing these bricks. Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Photo by Action Sports Photography. Johnson led the final 24 laps and held off teammate Mark Martin to win the Allstate 400 at ...
Jimmie Johnson is getting used to kissing these bricks.
Johnson led the final 24 laps and held off teammate Mark Martin to win the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was Johnson's second straight win here and third victory at the Brickyard in the past four years.
Johnson started 16th and was second behind Martin on the final restart of the race on lap 138. Johnson was on the outside for the restart and took the lead coming out of Turn 2. He held off Martin for the final 24 laps to claim his third win of the season.
"That was unbelievable," Johnson said before joining his teammates for the traditional kissing of the line of bricks at the start/finish line. "I hope the fans enjoyed that race. I can't say enough about this race team and all of Hendrick Motorsports."
Martin closed to Johnson's bumper several times in the closing laps but couldn't work his way around the three-time series champion.
"Damn is he fast," Johnson said. "For an old guy, he had me pretty worried. It's great to work with him and work with (Martin's crew chief) Allan (Gustafson) and all of my teammates at Hendrick Motorsports. Those last 15-20 laps, we had to drive it so hard to stay ahead of the 5. I was better in (turns) 3 and 4 then he was and he had me beat in 1 and 2. It was kind of a give-and-take thing that was going on. Luckily we held him off."
Johnson said that getting out front of his teammate on the last restart was the key to his win.
"Clean air was everything," Johnson said. "You can only get so close to the car in front of you. You had a few laps on new tires to really take advantage. I got that restart and put on a great show for the fans. I hope they enjoyed it."
Martin sat on the pole and led the first four laps before surrendering the lead to Juan Pablo Montoya. He raced with the leaders throughout the day but couldn't get past his teammate in the closing laps.
"He was better than we were off of (turn) 4 and we were better off of 2," Martin said. "So I knew I had to make it happen off of 2. Both of us were driving for all we were worth and we couldn't get him."
Montoya led for most of the first half of the race but fell back late in the race after getting a pit road speeding penalty on lap 126 and ended up with an 11th place finish.
"I thought I was under speed," said Montoya, who led a race-high 116 laps. "It is what it is. Once it happens, you can't change it. It was pretty frustrating. I was cruising - the car was stupid fast."
Tony Stewart is the only driver other than Johnson to win here in the past five years. He started seventh and brought home a third place finish.
"I think we were pretty consistent today," Stewart said. "We weren't fast enough to run with Mark and Jimmie. We were just a little bit too tight in the center. Our Chevy was awesome and I'm really proud of our organization. It's awesome to be able to come here for the first time and finish in the top three like this."
Greg Biffle and Brian Vickers rounded out the top five.
"In the big picture it was a good day," said Vickers who was disappointed to not race for the win after dealing with his left rear tire going down late in the race. "We couldn't risk ruining a good points day to go chase the brick but man it would be so nice to win."
Johnson moved past teammate Jeff Gordon to second in the standings, 192 points behind leader Stewart.
Kyle Busch blew a front tire on lap 58 and crashed heavily into the wall. He finished 38th and slipped to 14th in the standings with six races remaining before the Chase to the Championship cut off.