2009-07-30 / Sports

Johnson Gets Third Brickyard Win

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Johnson INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Jimmie Johnson won Sunday's Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to become the first three-time winner. Johnson hadn't led until lap 137. On the race's final restart, he passed his teammate and polesitter Mark Martin for the lead, and led the remaining 33 laps of the 160-lap race.

"That was unbelievable," said Johnson. "I can't say enough for Mark Martin. For an old guy, he had me pretty worried there.

"We had to drive it so hard those last 15 to 20 laps to stay ahead of Mark. There were some places he was better than me, and it was kind of a give and take thing, so neither of us would wreck."

Martin finished second and moved up two positions in the Chase.

"He was better than I was off four and I was better than him off two," said Martin. "I knew I had to make it happen off two. Both of us were driving for all we were worth, and I couldn't get him."

Tony Stewart was third.

"It was a good run for us," said Stewart. "We had one minor hiccup when we lost four spots in the pits, but I made that up. We were just a little too tight and couldn't run with Mark or Jimmie."

Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, David Reutimann, Jeff Gordon, and Matt Kenseth were the remaining top-10 finishers.

Juan Montoya led the most laps (116) of any driver but after a pit road speeding penalty, he finished 11th.

"I really didn't think it was so. You know, we have lights if we're over the speed, and I was under the lights all the time. They said I was speeding. So, that's what it is. When one thing happens, you can't change it."

Montoya dropped from 10th to 11th in the points.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost an engine in his No. 5 during lap 127 and wound up with a DNF.

Kyle Busch hit the wall and was finished by lap 112. He dropped four spots, and is now out of the Chase in 14th position.

Top-12 Chase contenders after 20 of 26: 1. Stewart-3054, 2. Johnson-2862, 3. J. Gordon-2847, 4. Kurt Busch-2608, 5. Edwards- 2556, 6. Hamlin-2518, 7. Newman- 2606, 8. Kahne-2482, 9. Martin- 2471, 10. Montoya-2461, 11. Biffle- 2445, 12. Kenseth-2429

Edwards backflips at ORP

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Carl Edwards passed Kyle Busch with 22 laps to go Saturday night at O'Reilly Raceway Park and went on to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kroger 200. After his win he did his traditional backflip in front of the stands.

Edwards led twice for 72 of the race's 200 laps but lost the lead with 30 laps to go under caution. Edwards' No. 60 Ford was pinned behind Scott Wimmer's Chevrolet in the pits, and Edwards mistakenly put his car in the wrong gear.

Kyle Busch led coming to the green flag on lap 174, but Edwards battled him hard and finally made the pass for the lead on lap 179.

Busch finished second, with Matt Kenseth third as doubleduty drivers swept the top-three positions. Brad Keselowski finished fourth, with Steve Wallace fifth. Ron Hornaday Jr., who won Friday night's truck race, finished sixth. Polesitter Trevor Bayne, Jason Leffler, Wimmer and Kenny Wallace completed the top 10.

Top-10 leaders after 20 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-3296, 2. Edwards- 3104, 3. Keselowski-2904, 4. Leffler 2790, 5. Logano-2395, 6. Allgaier 2370, 7. Bliss-2353, 8. S. Wallace 2311, 9. Gaughan-2277, 10. Keller-2244

Hornaday is on a winning roll

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - -Ron Hornaday Jr. set a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series record by winning his fourth consecutive race, holding off longtime nemesis Mike Skinner in Friday night's AAA Insurance 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

Skinner pitted later than Hornaday for tires and charged through the top-10 to challenge for the lead. Skinner passed Colin Braun for second with nine laps to go and chased down Hornaday four laps later.

Hornaday used the preferred outside lane and held off repeated inside moves by Skinner to win his 44th NASCAR Camping World Truck race.

Skinner finished second, with Aric Almirola coming from a lap down to finish third. Dennis Setzer was fourth, with Braun fifth.

Rookies James Buescher and Tayler Malsam, followed by Stacy Compton, David Starr and Kyle Busch, completed the top-10.

The Cup series has the big names, but the competition Friday night in the truck race was one of the best in weeks.

Hornaday has now won five races this season and built a lead of almost 200 points. He earns people's respect because he is a pure racer. He wants to win, period, and his skill is on display every week. He's also not afraid to speak his mind, something else that endears him to fans.

Top-10 leaders after 13 of 25; 1. Hornaday-2098, 2. Skinner- 1924, 3. Crafton-1922, 4. Bodine- 1803, 5. Starr-1758, 6. Scott-1750, 7. Malsam-1693, 8. Setzer-1673, 9. Cook-1657, 10. Braun-1639

Familiar faces won't make Chase

With six races remaining to determine the 12 Cup drivers who will compete over the final 10 weeks for the championship, five spots currently belong to drivers who weren't in the Chase for the Cup a year ago.

That means five drivers who qualified in 2008 are on the outside looking in. The biggest name among them is Dale Earnhardt Jr. The biggest surprise among them is that three - Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick - are from Richard Childress Racing.

"It (our team) is in a little bit of chaos at the moment, there's no question about it," Burton said. "I think everybody would admit to that. We haven't had the results that we need to have. Whenever you're not having results, the pressure gets turned up."

There have been rumors that Harvick would leave RCR racing at the end of the 2009 season and drive for Stewart-Hass.

Harvick was asked Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway if he had asked out of his contract. His response: "We're focused on this weekend. Right now, we're here to race and do what we need to do from a driver's standpoint and everybody is working well together."

Roush Fenway Racing is in danger of putting only Carl Edwards in the Chase after having three cars a year ago. Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle clearly need to pick up the pace. Kenseth, in particular, is a mystery as he has struggled since winning the first two races of the season.

"I don't pay a lot of attention to where everybody else is," said Kenseth, who won the title in 2003. "We've got our own problems to worry about."

What Kenseth was referring to is long-time sponsor DeWalt Tools will end their sponsorship of his No. 17 Ford at the end of the current season.

Weekend racing: three series; three different venues. The Camping World Trucks will be at Nashville, while the Nationwide cars will travel to Iowa Speedway for the first time. The Cup teams will be at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA.

Saturday, Aug. 1, Nationwide Cellular 250, race 21 of 35; starting time: 4 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.

Saturday, Aug. 1, Camping World Trucks Toyota Tundra 200; race 14 of 25, starting time: 7:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: Speed.

Sunday, Aug. 2, Sprint Cup Pennsylvania 500, race 21 of 36; starting time: 1 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN.

Racing trivia question: Which RCR driver took over Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s Cup ride after his death?

Last week's question: Who was the first woman driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500? Answer. Janet Guthrie in 1977.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@earthlink.net.

Return to top