Jimmie Johnson won his third Brickyard 400 Sunday and became the only driver ever to win back to back NASCAR races on the famed track of Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrating it’s centennial anniversary.
Johnson parlayed a great week of practice along with some luck, and misfortune by Juan Pablo Montoya, to gain his third win of the 2009 season.
Juan Pablo Montoya had led three separate times for116 laps of the 160 but was caught for speeding late in the race on pit road making him lose position and come into pit road for a mandatory stop. Johnson, who had been within the top five for much of the day was the beneficiary of Montoya’s speeding.
A caution had come out just after the final scheduled pits stops and when they restarted, Johnson dragged raced leader Mark Martin down the front-stretch to get first position and with fresh air in front of him, Johnson sealed the deal for the final 25 laps.
Montoya, the 2000 Indy 500 winner, led the most laps but wasn’t very happy about the penalty for speeding. He told his crew that he “swore on his kids life” that he wasn’t speeding and called out NASCAR President Mike Helton to review the pit road speeds.
Pole sitter Mark Martin gave a valiant effort in the late stages, but Johnson was too good off of turn four to make up for Martin’s advantage on turn two.
Following Johnson and Martin's one-two Hendrick finish was two-time Brickyard 400 winner and current points leader Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, and Brian Vickers.
Montoya eventually finished eleventh and continued his consistent run during the race for the chase, but he wasn’t happy by any means.
The race is in the books and if there is any silver lining in anything, Montoya gets a chance to prove himself once again at the similar layout of Pocono next week with what was a stout car for Indy.