JIMMIE JOHNSON DOMINATES TO WIN HIS FOURTH BRICKYARD 400

Jimmie Johnson leaves a trail of smoke as he burns his tires down the front stretch of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after winning his fourth Brickyard 400. (Photo by Dean Hockney)

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – It is Jimmie Johnson, again! For a record-tying fourth time, JJ crossed the famed Yard of Bricks with the checked flag high above to capture the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Driving the No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Chevrolet, Johnson tied his longtime Hendrick Racing teammate Jeff Gordon with four victories at the Brickyard.

“To come here and win is a huge honor,” said Johnson. “And to win four – four wins! I’m at a loss for words. It was a total team effort. We put it on them today. It was nice.”

Johnson joins the elite company of A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Al Unser and Jeff Gordon as a four time winner on the historic oval. Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix Formula One race five times at Indy. Johnson led 99 of the 160 laps today in a race that saw 17 lead changes among 9 drivers.

“It’s wild,” Johnson said of joining the elite group of Indy champions. “It’s really wild for me to get my start in a Cup car for (Gordon). I just hoped to come here and race. I can remember watching the 500 on the couch with my grandfather, and I remember him telling me he came to Indy. It’s nice to create my own family memories here.”

Gordon, who had a strong car all afternoon, congratulated his teammate.

“My car was really tight, but it was fast – really fast,” said Gordon. “We will take a top five here in Indy. Congrats to Jimmie and Chad (Knaus) and those guys. They are a great team and they deserve to be in victory lane.”

Johnson was followed by Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Earnhardt and Gordon. Two other Hoosier drivers Ryan Newman (seventh) and Tony Stewart (10th) finished in the top 10.

“I don’t know that you can go around this place that fast,” said Busch of Johnson’s dominating win. “You talk about guys being in their own zip code, he was in his own country today.”

Earnhardt, a third top five car from the Hendrick stable, now tops the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead after a fourth place finish. It is the first time he has held the season points lead since 2004. Earnhardt passed Matt Kenseth for the top spot and now holds a 14 point lead. Greg Biffle is third (22 points behind).

“If you run in the top five or top 10 enough, you will get points. But we would like to win some more races,” he said. “I know our fans would like us to win some more races. We are working real hard, really happy with our result today.”

FOR MORE ON THE BRICKYARD 400, SEE THE JULY 31 EDITION OF THE SPORTS JOURNAL OF CENTRAL INDIANA.

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