Jimmie Johnson wins at Indy after a dominating performance. Johnson led for 5 times for a total of 99 of the 160 laps of the Crown Royal present the Curtiss Shaver 400 to win his 4th career Brickyard win and his 3rd win of the season, tying him with Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski.
Johnson now joins his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon as the only NASCAR drivers to win four times at the historic 2.5 mile track. This makes Johnson’s 58th career win, 8th of all time.
The victory now puts Johnson among legendary names in the record books of the historic track. Gordon is the only other four-time Brickyard 400 winner. Three drivers have won four Indianapolis 500’s, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr., and Rick Mears. Mears was one of Johnson’s racing heroes growing up, Johnson also said Gordon, he looked up to him too, and to drive a cup car for Gordon, to tie both off them and he was glad to have his own memories here at the Brickyard.
“Man, you just hope to race here to come here and win is a huge honor,” Johnson said. “And to win four, four wins! I’m at a loss for words.”
Each previous time Johnson has won at the Brickyard, in 2006, 2008, and 2009, he has gone on to win the series championship.
Johnson, whose string of titles is bookended by Stewart who won the championship last year, said “I’d like to win a championship this year. That’s the thing that’s on my mind right now.”
Except for a slight hiccup during the caution flag pit stops on lap 43 where the #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry sputtered causing Kyle Busch to lose 10 spots. But Busch showed the power his car had as he rebounded with a 2nd place finish, but it was no match for the rocket of a car Johnson piloted for today’s race. The #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet was the same car Johnson won with at Dover.
“If it wasn’t for the 48, we were probably in our own zip code on the rest of the field,” Busch said. “But Jimmie Johnson was in his own country today, so we couldn’t keep up with him. He was really, really fast, and you could see it, too, on the restarts, when he could make it through the corners and he just put his car anywhere he wanted and would just slam on the gas pedal and take off from me. His car was down and digging.”
Johnson had a feeling just how strong his #48 car would be early on during Saturday morning’s practice session.
“I knew by the second or third lap yesterday on the track that we were going to have an awfully good chance of winning,” he said. “I had a feeling. I just knew we were going to be fine.”
Rick Hendrick received another bonus of the day when Dale Earnhardt Jr. took over the points lead with his strong finish of 4th, his best ever at the Brickyard.
Matt Kenseth, who came into today’s race as the points leader, finished 35th after an accident left his car on fire.
Joey Logano spun his #20 Toyota, while racing side-by-side with Trevor Bayne on lap 132, bounced off the #47 of Bobby Labonte and turned into the #17 ford of Kenseth, who was running high near the outside wall, trying to slide past the wreck.
“The farther you got back (in the field), the dumber people drove, and it got us in some bad spots,” Kenseth said.
Kyle Busch finished in 2nd, with Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jeff Gordon rounding out the top five at the Brickyard.