Archive for Brickyard 400

HOOSIER RYAN NEWMAN WINS THE BRICKYARD 400

Ryan Newman Burnout

 

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

INDIANAPOLIS – In racing, what happens in qualifying does not always translate to what happens in the race. But at the famed oval of bricks, pole-sitter Ryan Newman led early and late to capture his first Brickyard 400. Newman shared the front row with four-time winner Jimmie Johnson, who finished right where he started the race – second. It was a rare 1-2 finish for the front row starters.

“Just stay green, that was the biggest thing,” said Newman, referring to his thoughts during the final laps. “It’s a dream come true. I knew we had a good car. Starting on the pole and winning the race; just an awesome week for us. I can’t wait to push my lips on those bricks.”

Newman and Johnson’s Chevrolet’s dominated the field of 43, leading 118 of the 160 laps (Newman led 45, Johnson 73). With the win, Newman is the third driver to capture the Brickyard from the pole, joining Johnson (2008) and Kevin Harvick (2003). The win was his first of the season and 17th in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.

“We still have a championship to go after,” said Newman, who beat Johnson to the Yard of Bricks by 2.6 seconds. “We still got the Chase to chase.”

Tony Stewart, car owner of Newman’s ride, took home a fourth place finish giving Stewart-Hass Racing a huge day. Newman and Stewart (2005 and 2007) are the only Hoosier natives to win the Brickyard 400. Stewart is from Columbus.

“I am really happy for him. I can’t wait to give him a hug and congratulate him,” said Stewart. “This has been a great week for us. And for Ryan, this is just a huge win. For us (as Hoosiers), this is where we want to win. It was just him and the 48; that was clear to see. I just kept watching the Jumbotrons coming off (turn) four to see where he was at.”

Johnson, who leads the Sprint Cup Series by 75 points over 20th place finisher Clint Bowyer, admittedly was not pleased with his runners-up finish.

“There’s definitely disappointment there,” said the five-time NASCAR champion. “But that’s racing – it happens. I‘ve given away a few out there this year, too. Ryan was fast all day long. I can’t take anything away from him. He was plenty fast.”

Kasey Kahne finished third and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home a sixth place finish, followed by Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch.

“We kept falling back too far,” said Kahne. “It takes a while to get back to the front. Congrats to Ryan, he had a big weekend.”

Newman’s previous best finish in Indianapolis was a fourth place in 2002 and he had just two Top 10 finishes in 13 Brickyard starts.

“We needed that,” said Newman. Indeed he did.

For more on the Brickyard 400, see the July 30 edition of the Sports Journal.

SMOKE WANTS IN THE THREE-TIMERS CLUB

Tony Stewart at the Brickyard 400. (Photo by William Gibson)

Tony Stewart at the Brickyard 400. (Photo by William Gibson)

INDIANAPOLIS - Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and Indiana native Tony Stewart will come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in late July with one purpose in mind – joining the exclusive company of three-time winners at the Racing Capital of the World.

“That would be huge,” said Stewart. “You look at the history of this track and you look at whose won races here and how many times they've won, and I was honored to win one of them, and the second was even that much better.

“When you realize how much thinner it gets when you start adding one more victory, you get into some pretty elite company, and it's some company you'd definitely like having your name associated with, so it would be a big honor. It doesn't matter if you've won one or 20, when I'm at Indy I am only here to win, especially since it is my home track.”

The 20th running of the Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com on July 28 will be the climactic event of the second annual Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard. The annual NASCAR Sprint Cup race at IMS will give Stewart the opportunity to replicate his dream come true of kissing the famous Yard of Bricks following his first Brickyard 400 win in 2005. He also won the race in 2007.

“It was everything to me,” Stewart said. “My whole life, since I was a kid, that's what I wanted to do. Not that I had some fascination with kissing bricks as a child. But my fascination to do it here was pretty obsessive.”

With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entering its 20th year of competition at IMS, Stewart believes the race's stature is continuing to grow among his competitors.

“The longer I've been with NASCAR, the more that everybody wants to win this race,” Stewart said. “This is a marquee event. The way I sense it now the Daytona 500 is still the biggest race of the year, but the Brickyard is the second-biggest race of the year to the NASCAR guys, and that's something that I'm pretty proud of. It deserves that level of respect, and this facility is a one-of-a-kind. As time has gone on, the fans understand how big of an event this is and how much it means to the teams and drivers to not only run well at the Brickyard, but to also understand what a marquee event it is. It's really a big boost to your team if you can win at Indy.”

Another element that has added to the prominence of NASCAR's annual trip to IMS is that the list of winners includes many Cup champions, such as Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jimmie Johnnson, Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett and Stewart.

“With the exception of maybe once or twice, the guys that normally win here are the guys in contention to win the championship every year,” Stewart said. “It usually isn't a fuel-mileage race. It normally comes down to the fastest car always wins here, and that's what you want in a marquee event like this. You want the fastest car to win, the best team and the best driver on that day.”

A notoriously slow starter during his NASCAR career, once again Stewart got off to a sluggish start this season. But with a recent win at Dover and a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Daytona, Stewart is 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings as he enters the mid-summer portion of the schedule.

“I would say probably the last 13 or 14 years, people have been asking me that same question,” Stewart said about why he gets into a groove during the summer. “I never have had a good answer.

“I honestly don't know. The only thing I can think of is just the tracks get hot and get slick. Seems like when the tracks get slick, that plays into your driving style a little bit.”

Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard

In addition to the Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com, the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard weekend schedule also features the NASCAR Nationwide Series racing in the Indiana 250 Saturday, July 27 on the IMS oval, and GRAND-AM Road Racing conducting separate races for its Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge on July 26 on the 13-turn IMS Grand Prix road course.

Ticket orders for the 2013 Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard can be made at www.ims.com/tickets and through the IMS Ticket Office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

General admission tickets will cost $10 for July 25, $30 for July 26, $25 for July 27 and $30 for July 28. A four-day Kroger Super Weekend general admission ticket is $80. A three-day general admission ticket (Thursday-Saturday) is $65. Children ages 12 and under will be admitted free any of the four days of the Super Weekend at the Brickyard when accompanied by an adult with a general admission ticket. Reserved tickets for the Saturday and Sunday action also will be available at various price ranges.

(Courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway)

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.