Racin’ with Russ—Jimmie Johnson had a good feeling about the outcome of Sunday afternoon’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the race even started.
Well, he hit that one right on the head as he easily led the most laps while distancing himself from the rest of the pack by as much as three seconds en route to his 58th career win. The five-time champion collected $430,000 for the day, while even last place Mike Bliss received a check for $133,000. Not bad for a weekend’s work, eh?
The latest round of NASCAR Sprint Cup action saw a drop in the crowd by more than 10,000. The 125,000 that did see the race sat among tens of thousands of empty seats on a beautiful Indiana Sunday afternoon.
The Brickyard 400 race started with Denny Hamlin on the pole, yet the Toyota driver faded into the top 10 by days end. Hamlin and Brad Keselowski led a couple of dozen laps each, but Johnson’s 99 lap total dominated the stats.
The latest results now has Earnhardt on top of the boards by 14 over Matt Kenseth and 22 over Biffle.
Notables: Carl Edwards entered this weekend with a new crew chief and what appeared to be a good start to the weekend by qualifying second. Once the green flag flew, Edwards' day fell apart almost immediately with mechanical woes and a lengthy pit stop dropping him to the back of the pack, several laps down. He wound up 29th and with only six races remaining before the Chase, his odds along with Gordon are looking grim.
Kenseth also wound up out of the running after getting in a late wreck with no where to go as Joey Logano hit the outside wall. Kenseth’s 35th place run pulled him out of the top spot in points.
For the first time in series history, the Nationwide group ran at the big 2.5 mile Indy instead of the nearby ½ mile IRP racetrack.
In front of a crowd of 30,000, Brad Keselowski took the checkered in front of his teammates Sam Hornish Jr., Ty Dillon (in his second NNS race ever), Hamlin and Austin Dillon. The two leaders both drove Dodge Challengers and I still wonder if Penske is doing the right thing by switching to Ford after this season.
The race saw a lot of lead changes and side-by-side racing during the 100-lap event. The final restart saw Elliott Sadler leading into what appeared to be his second win in a row. This idea was dashed, however, after NASCAR officials penalized Sadler with a drive-thru for jumping the leader, ending his idea of a win, a $100,000 bonus for the dash-4-cash program and a healthy points lead shaved down to just one over Austin Dillon and 13 over Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Kyle Busch led the most laps at 51, but a big spin late in the race among other issues dropped the Cup regular to a 22nd place finish.
Danica Patrick started 20th and finished 35th after running into Reed Sorensen just a third of the way into the race.
Open Wheel News
Across the pond, Lewis Hamilton dominated his latest win, this one in Hungary, after taking the pole the day before. Kimi Raikkonen was a close second followed by his teammate Romain Grosjean.
Alonso’s fifth place run extends his points lead over Mark Webber by 40 points. Can he claim a third world title? He’s well on track.
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger failed his “B” drug test and has been indefinitely suspended by NASCAR. The Penske driver has also immediately signed up for NASCAR’s Road to Recovery plan in an effort to get back behind the wheel. This process could take a few months or as long as a year.
His reputation will never be the same and if he does get back to driving, he can expect numerous drug tests on a regular basis. Dinger is slated to meet with team owner Roger Penske this week to discuss his future with or without Penske Racing. (NASCAR.com)
That’s it for this week. Next week, RWR will review the NASCAR Nationwide and Truck action from Pocono along with more racing news from around the globe.