It took 29 laps for Jimmie Johnson to get his car out front of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Once the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports got out front, Johnson didn’t look back. Johnson didn’t lead all 130 laps after he took the lead, but he did lead most of the laps after lap 29.
It is Johnson’s third win of the year, and the fourth time that he has won at the two and a half mile rectangle located in Speedway, Indiana. Tying him with the most NASCAR wins at the track with his teammate, Jeff Gordon. It also ties Johnson with two open wheel stars, Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt for wins at the track.
“Man it’s wild to tie both of those guys,” Johnson said to ESPN reporters after the race in victory lane. “I just wanted to come here to race the first time.”
It seemed, at points, that the only thing that could stop Johnson was restarts, or pit road.
“So proud of the team,” Johnson said “Pit road was awesome, just a total team effort.”
However Johnson was able to dominate on pit road and restarts as well. Even different pit strategies did nothing to stop the No. 48 from staying out front for most of the day.
Two of the three final restarts featured drivers that found themselves up front due to pit strategy. The first time was when Brad Keselowski, who won the Nationwide Series event at Indianapolis on Saturday, found himself up front because he was off the main pit strategy.
However Johnson was able to blow past Keselowski and find his way back out front before the cars even got on the backstretch. Keselowski was the only driver that all day showed his car was strong enough to challenge Johnson, but in the end, Johnson’s Cheverolet was just too fast.
Keselowski described just how fast Johnson’s car was after the race.
“We’re racing trucks and they [Johnson’s team] are racing cars,” Keselowski said to ESPN reporters after the race.
The next time anyone threatened to take the win away from Johnson was when Greg Biffle and his team took two tires on a final pit stop. They won the race off pit road, and Biffle was even able to lead four laps, before Johnson caught and passed Biffle on the outside, one of the very few passes that took place on the outside lane all day.
From then on the only challenge for Johnson was to keep his car in one piece and bring home his 58th career victory.
Even Kyle Busch, who finished second to Johnson commented on how Johnson’s car was a cut above everyone else.
“You talk about guys being in their own zip code,” Busch said to ESPN reporters. “[Johnson] was in his own country.”
Although everyone else seemed to think that no one had anything for Johnson today, Johnson said that his teammates of Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were just as strong as him. The only difference was where they were running on the track.
“I had track position on my side and had great restarts,” Johnson told the SPEED Channel after the race.
Even before the green flag fell Johnson had a feeling that he was going to have a strong run, he didn’t know how dominant his car was going to be, but he knew he had something special for the race.
“I knew we had a great race car yesterday after practice,” Johnson said. “Today, I told my wife, ‘today is going it’s going to happen.'”
It did happen indeed as Johnson led 99 of the 160 laps.
A late race wreck spelled doom for points leader Matt Kenseth, as he was involved had to record a DNF and he lost the points lead to Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Next week the series will make their second trip to Pocono Raceway.
Curtiss Shaver 400 at The Brickyard results:
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kyle Busch
- Greg Biffle
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Jeff Gordon
- Denny Hamlin
- Ryan Newman
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Brad Keselowski
- Tony Stewart
- Mark Martin
- Kasey Kahne
- Kevin Harvick
- Paul Menard
- Clint Bowyer
- Sam Hornish Jr.
- Trevor Bayne
- Regan Smith
- Aric Almirola
- Marcos Ambrose
- Juan Pablo Montoya
- Jamie McMurray
- Dave Blaney
- David Stremme
- Landon Cassill
- Bobby Labonte
- David Gilliland
- David Ragan
- Carl Edwards
- Ken Schrader
- Stephen Leicht
- Jeff burton
- Joey Logano
- Casey Mears
- Matt Kenseth
- Kurt Busch
- Travis Kvapil
- Scott Speed
- J.J. Yeley
- Josh Wise
- Scott Riggs
- Mike Skinner
- Mike Bliss