Skip to content

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Rating the Race: Indianapolis – Allstate 400

July 27, 2008 by Tim Zaegel  
Filed under Racing

Jimmie Johnson with wife, Chandra Johnson, after winning the 2008 Brickyard 400

With only two accidents and one blown engine, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis Motorspeedway still managed to see 11 caution periods during the 160-lap event because of tire issues …. that’s the story of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race, and unfortunately that story overshadows the one of Jimmie Johnson winning the pole award and going on to pick up his second career victory at the Brickyard.

NASCAR knew that they were likely to experience tire issues, but they weren’t sure just how bad it would be. They had a competition caution scheduled within the first 15 laps of the race, but they didn’t need to use it thanks to Michael Waltrip spinning into the Turn 2 wall on lap 4, and then Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick wrecking on lap 14.

Dale Earnhardt Jr, who had already made a pit stop under green, inherited the lead on lap 17 when he stayed out as the rest of the leaders came into pit. He was able to hold onto the lead until his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jeff Gordon, passed him on lap 25, and that’s when the troubles started for Junior. The next lap Earnhardt’s car was bobbling around the track as he lost a ton of positions before finally pitting on lap 27 with a right rear tire going down, putting him a lap down.

On the following lap, Mark Martin came down pit road when he thought he might have a tire going down, and then on lap 29, Juan Pablo Montoya’s right-rear blew, spreading debris all over the track. NASCAR then brought their first competition caution out on lap 30, and it was the points leader, Kyle Busch, leading the charge off of pit road to assume the race lead.

Jeff Gordon passed Busch for the lead on lap 36, but Johnson passed his teammate on the next trip around the track to take the lead for the second time of the day. About this same time, NASCAR reported that the next scheduled competition caution would take place on lap 47, but a few of the cars just couldn’t stretch it that far. Mark Martin pitted on lap 46 when he felt the tire cords vibrating in the car, Sam Hornish Jr. went a lap down when he was forced to pit with a tire issue, and Carl Edwards lost several positions on the track when he had to slow his car down because he, too, thought he was having a problem.

The big blow, though, was on lap 47. Just prior to NASCAR waiving their scheduled competition caution, Matt Kenseth blew a right rear tire that sent him spinning and literally shredded the rear end of his car. Kenseth had started up inside the top-ten and was viewed by many as one of the favorites to win the race, but the unfortunate circumstances put a shoddy end to his day.

Kyle Busch once again led the field off of pit road, this time followed by AJ Allmendinger in second. Both cars took only two tires, while Jimmie Johnson continued to take four tires on each stop. The four tires proved to be key, as Johnson once again worked his way up to the front on lap 62 and stayed there until the next competition caution, which came on lap 65. Dale Earnhardt Jr. received the Lucky Dog award under this caution, finally putting him back on the lead lap.

Allmendinger, who stayed in second place through the entire previous run on just two tires, once again went with just two right-sides and won the race off of pit road to take the lead. He continued his strong run and held onto the lead for a few laps, but was eventually passed by Johnson on lap 72. Two laps later Brian Vickers, who was running in the top-ten at the time, was forced to make his way down pit road with engine troubles as he was unable to turn the full RPMs.

Johnson still had the lead when the next competition caution waived on lap 82, but Martin Truex Jr. short-pitted just prior to the caution flag and inherited the lead by staying out while the leaders pitted. The lead was short-lived, however, as Carl Edwards made quick work of Truex and passed him for the lead on lap 87, and three laps later it was Johnson back to the front.

Caution number 7 was another competion caution on lap 97, and this time it was Elliott Sadler taking the lead for the first time despite hanging around near the top-five for the entire day, but lost the lead during the restart on lap 105 when Jeff Burton made his move to the front after starting all the way back in 32nd. Just after Burton took the lead, though, Brian Vickers – who had recently returned to the track – finally blew his engine, bringing the field under caution for the 8th time.

The leaders stayed out on the track having run only one lap on their set of tires, and they didn’t finally get restarted again until lap 113. Burton was still in the lead at the time, but three laps later it was Johnson again up to the front. He stayed there until the next competition caution on lap 121. This time it was Denny Hamlin taking two tires to get off of pit road first, and for the first time of the day, Johnson struggled to get past him despite having four fresh tires underneath him.

Hamlin held onto the lead through the ensuing caution on lap 133, and then NASCAR presented their final competition caution on lap 149, setting up a shootout to the finish. With the majority of the teams opting for just two tires on pit road, Hamlin’s crew had a slow stop and sent him out in third with Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards coming out ahead of him.

The final restart came on lap 154, and Johnson was able to hold off Carl Edwards for the final 7 laps of the race to get his second Brickyard victory with Edwards finishing 2nd and Hamlin in 3rd. Elliott Sadler earned his best finish of the season in 4th, and Jamie McMurray finished off a strong run in 5th. Jeff Gordon slipped a little in the latter portions of the race, but still went onto finish in 6th. 7th place went to Kasey Kahne, who rebounded nicely after his team spotted a cracked header on his car in the first segments of the race. Greg Biffle scored his best Indy finish by crossing the line in 8th. In 9th was Jeff Burton, and AJ Allmendinger finally scored his first ever top-ten finish by finishing 10th.

Other Notables:
After running a lap down earlier in the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. rebounded to a 12th place finish ….. Indiana-native, Ryan Newman, was scored in 13th ….. Points leader, Kyle Busch, wound up with his worst Indianapolis finish in 15th ….. Patrick Carpentier was scored as the highest rookie in the race. He finished 18th ….. In what will be his final Indianapolis appearance with Joe Gibbs Racing, Tony Stewart – a two time winner of this event and one of the favorites heading into the weekend - finished with an extremely disappointing 23rd place run.

The top three spots in the standings remained unchanged, and both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton were able to gain very minimal ground on Kyle Busch for 1st place. Johnson’s win, however, moved him up a position past Carl Edwards into 4th, as Edwards now drops to 5th. Denny Hamlin gave himself a little bit more of a cushion as he moves up four spots into 8th, and Kasey Kahne jumped up two positions to 9th. Clint Bowyer’s 19th place run was enough to move him from 13th to 12th in the standings and into a Chase position, while his Richard Childress Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick, dropped down 4 spots to 13th. Only 100 points separates 7th place Greg Biffle from Kevin Harvick, and Harvick is only 2 points out of 12th.

Grades:
the Race:  40%
the Drama:  75%
Coverage:  62%
Pre-Race:  90%

Overall Grade:  56.4%

Complete Results (from nascar.com):

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s 195/10 160 Running
2 9 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 175/5 160 Running
3 23 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 170/5 160 Running
4 6 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Stanley 165/5 160 Running
5 5 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 160/5 160 Running
6 8 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 150/0 160 Running
7 4 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser / LifeLock 146/0 160 Running
8 12 16 Greg Biffle Ford DISH Network / DishDVRs 142/0 160 Running
9 32 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Prilosec OTC 143/5 160 Running
10 26 84 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota Red Bull 139/5 160 Running
11 2 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 130/0 160 Running
12 11 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / AMP Energy 132/5 160 Running
13 3 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Alltel 124/0 160 Running
14 16 6 David Ragan Ford AAA Insurance 121/0 160 Running
15 19 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M’s 123/5 160 Running
16 27 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Totino’s Pizza Rolls 115/0 160 Running
17 22 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 112/0 160 Running
18 15 10 Patrick Carpentier * Dodge Sears Auto Center / Valvoline 109/0 160 Running
19 40 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel’s 106/0 160 Running
20 20 38 David Gilliland Ford FreeCreditRep
ort.com
103/0 160 Running
21 38 77 Sam Hornish Jr. * Dodge Mobil 1 100/0 160 Running
22 24 147 Marcos Ambrose Ford Little Debbie 97/0 160 Running
23 14 20 Tony Stewart Toyota The Home Depot 94/0 160 Running
24 25 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Cub Cadet 96/5 160 Running
25 35 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet State Water Heaters 93/5 160 Running
26 31 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet CARQUEST / Kellogg’s 85/0 160 Running
27 43 45 Terry Labonte Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 82/0 160 Running
28 39 96 J.J. Yeley Toyota DLP HDTV 79/0 160 Running
29 36 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row
/ DenverMattress.com
76/0 160 Running
30 33 44 David Reutimann Toyota UPS 73/0 160 Running
31 42 01 Regan Smith * Chevrolet Principal Financial Group 75/5 160 Running
32 21 70 Jason Leffler Chevrolet Hunt Brothers Pizza 67/0 160 Running
33 29 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Johns Manville / Menards 64/0 160 Running
34 30 00 Michael McDowell * Toyota Champion Mortgage 66/5 160 Running
35 41 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 63/5 160 Running
36 28 28 Travis Kvapil Ford Hitachi Power Tools 60/5 160 Running
37 18 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 52/0 148 Running
38 10 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 49/0 144 Running
39 13 42 Juan Montoya Dodge Big Red Slim Pack 46/0 124 Engine
40 7 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 43/0 119 Running
41 37 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet Johns Manville / Menards 40/0 118 Running
42 17 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 42/5 93 Engine
43 34 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA AUTO PARTS 34/0 91 Running

Sprint Cup Series Standings (from nascar.com):

RANK

+/- DRIVER POINTS BEHIND STARTS POLES WINS TOP 5 TOP 10
1 Kyle Busch 3004 Leader 20 2 7 12 13
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2751 -253 20 1 1 7 12
3 Jeff Burton 2733 -271 20 0 1 4 11
4 +1 Jimmie Johnson 2689 -315 20 2 2 6 10
5 -1 Carl Edwards 2684 -320 20 0 3 8 14
6 Jeff Gordon 2544 -460 20 2 0 8 9
7 Greg Biffle 2460 -544 20 2 0 6 9
8 +4 Denny Hamlin 2453 -551 20 1 1 6 10
9 +2 Kasey Kahne 2441 -563 20 2 2 3 10
10 Tony Stewart 2399 -605 20 0 0 6 9
11 -3 Matt Kenseth 2366 -638 20 0 0 4 12
12 +1 Clint Bowyer 2362 -642 20 0 1 4 9
13 -4 Kevin Harvick 2360 -644 20 0 0 3 6
14 +1 David Ragan 2306 -698 20 0 0 3 6
15 -1 Brian Vickers 2230 -774 20 0 0 3 5
16 Ryan Newman 2218 -786 20 1 1 2 7
17 Martin Truex Jr. 2146 -858 20 0 0 2 6
18 Kurt Busch 2081 -923 20 0 1 3 4
19 Bobby Labonte 2020 -984 20 0 0 0 1
20 +2 Jamie McMurray 1973 -1031 20 0 0 0 4
21 +2 Elliott Sadler 1959 -1045 20 0 0 2 5
22 -2 Juan Montoya 1909 -1095 20 0 0 1 2
23 -2 Travis Kvapil 1901 -1103 20 0 0 0 3
24 +1 David Gilliland 1875 -1129 20 0 0 1 2
25 -1 Casey Mears 1867 -1137 20 0 0 1 4
26 +2 Mark Martin 1813 -1191 15 0 0 2 6
27 David Reutimann 1790 -1214 20 0 0 0 1
28 -2 Paul Menard 1767 -1237 20 1 0 0 0
29 Robby Gordon 1636 -1368 20 0 0 0 2
30 +1 Dave Blaney 1626 -1378 19 0 0 0 2
31 +1 Reed Sorenson 1608 -1396 19 0 0 1 2
32 -2 Michael Waltrip 1597 -1407 20 0 0 1 1
33 Sam Hornish Jr.* 1522 -1482 20 0 0 0 0
34 Regan Smith* 1496 -1508 19 0 0 0 0
35 Scott Riggs 1407 -1597 18 0 0 0 0
36 +1 Patrick Carpentier* 1230 -1774 17 1 0 0 0
37 -1 J.J. Yeley 1217 -1787 16 0 0 1 1
38 Joe Nemechek 1183 -1821 17 1 0 0 0
39 Michael McDowell* 1021 -1983 15 0 0 0 0
40 A.J. Allmendinger 990 -2014 12 0 0 0 1

BallHype: hype it up!

  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • TwitThis
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Slashdot
  • BallHype
  • YardBarker

Comments

7 Responses to “Rating the Race: Indianapolis – Allstate 400”
  1. Forrest Gump says:

    Congratulations to JJ on his win. Thanks for the blow by blow recap.

  2. TrackHazard4Real says:

    56.% is a fair grade. Congrats to Jimmy. He definitley earned it. To bad for the fans who paid to sit in the stands. I paid with my time on the couch and am upset enough about that. I can only imagine how they feel. Oh’well, what can you do! Good recap.

  3. Newman's #1 says:

    What a great run for Sadler and McMurray! It was a fast pit stop for Jimmie there at the end. It was kinda good seeing Busch, and I’m talking about Kyle, not run up front after that last call.

  4. roc says:

    I agree with trackhazzard on this one indy is one of my favorite races to watch and I wasted a lot of time on the couch to watch a bunch of heat races.

  5. Tim Zaegel says:

    No problem, Forrest … glad ya liked it.

  6. Tim Zaegel says:

    TrackHazzard / Roc, trust me, I don’t think there’s a fan out there that wasn’t somewhat regretful for having spent the time watching that thing. The fans in the stands were definitely the ones that suffered the most, but if there’s a silver lining out there anywhere, it’s the fact that NASCAR at least acknowledged they had a problem

  7. Tim Zaegel says:

    Newman’s #1, it was definitely a good run for both Sadler and McMurray … not just the finish, but they ran good all day long. Again, it’s just too bad that this race had to get overshadowed by tire issues.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!