Jimmie Johnson recovered from an early race tire failure to score the win at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Prior to today, Johnson had never led a lap at IMS, and his last two starts here resulted in DNF's. It took Johnson ...
Jimmie Johnson recovered from an early race tire failure to score the win at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Prior to today, Johnson had never led a lap at IMS, and his last two starts here resulted in DNF's.
It took Johnson until lap 117 to reach the field but once out front he quickly sped off to a two-second advantage on the field. Pit strategies shuffled Johnson with 19 to go as several cars chose to either not pit or take two-tires. The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy was stout on fresh tires and easily hunted down the field.
Johnson led the final circuits completely unchallenged. It is his fourth win of the year and 22nd of his career. Johnson becomes just the second driver to win the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same season; Dale Jarrett did it in 1996.
"I am so proud of what we've done today," said Johnson. "It has really left me speechless. I am full of pride. I am full of joy. I can't believe we've gotten past all the troubles we've had at this racetrack and the problems that we had today."
Matt Kenseth was second, his fourth career top five at IMS.
"We had a pretty solid day," said Harvick. "Jimmie just did a better job in traffic. I just got slowed up with a couple of them car. Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, those guys are awesome. Those guys have been the guys to beat for three years."
Former Brickyard winner Kevin Harvick was third, "My day was really good. We had a good car all day and we were able to run upfront and lead laps.we didn't have anything for the 48 he pretty much had us all covered."
Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin complete the top five.
"It was good," said Bowyer. "It was fun to come here and qualify on the front row and finish in the top five. But it was a struggle. The boys had a little bit of trouble in the pits. We had a great day and I am proud of Gil Martin (crew chief) for making a gutsy call (to take two tries)."
Jeff Burton led the field to the green flag but a hard hit by Elliott Sadler into the turn 2 wall slowed the field. Burton led on the restart at lap six but Kasey Kahne passed him a lap later to grab the top spot. Burton fought Kahne getting around him at lap eight.
A competition yellow to check for tire wear fell on lap 16 with Burton emerging after pit stops still out front on the restart at lap 20. The field only made on lap before Boris Said hit hard into the wall causing the third caution.
The race restarted on lap 23 with the No. 31 Chevy leading. Burton was still in the lead when Johnson cut down a left front tire bringing out the events fourth yellow. Burton led on the restart at lap 44. Burton continued his charge until Harvick grabbed the lead on lap 73.
Harvick was leading when the sixth yellow fell at lap 84 bringing the field to pit road. Harvick maintained the lead on the restart at lap 90. Burton managed to wheel his way back to the front on lap 93 as Kenseth moved to second and Harvick to third.
Kenseth started putting the heat on Burton on lap 109 with the two trading positions several times before Kenseth settled in up front on lap 111 as Burton slipped to fourth.
Johnson earned the lead on lap 117.
On lap 124, green flag pit stops commenced with Johnson retaining the lead when all was said and done. Johnson had a two-second advantage over the field when the seventh caution waved with 19 laps to go.
The cars of Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Ryan Newman and Joe Nemechek all stayed out with Busch inheriting the lead. Johnson restarted eighth. Johnson fought back and was back in the lead by lap 151.
A last lap crash involving Kahne, Robby Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Tony Raines saw Johnson win under a yellow/checker to earn his first career Brickyard win.
Johnson continues to lead championship point standings. Matt Kenseth (- 107), Jeff Burton (-366), Kevin Harvick (-391), Mark Martin (-412), Denny Hamlin (-486), Jeff Gordon (-497), Tony Stewart (-509) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-512) complete the top ten. Everyone 29th or worse in standings has been mathematically eliminated from making into the field for the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup.
Notably, pole sitter Jeff Burton led a race high 87 laps and finished 12th.