Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: Winners and Losers

Patti RodischAnalyst IJuly 26, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 26:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

For the last two weeks all we heard about was tires, tires and tires. When all the pomp and circumstance ended, we had a race. It’s every driver’s goal to win at Indianapolis, but only one driver got to kiss the bricks.

Check out this week’s winners and losers.


Winners
Jimmie Johnson

You can never count this team out. Jimmie Johnson ran up front all day long, at times he was faster than the leader. On the final yellow, Johnson made a move to take the lead from Mark Martin with just over 20 to go.

Johnson was happy with his car all day long; they made adjustments on the car for when Johnson was in traffic.

Johnson had great pit stops and was able to adjust on the car very well. Johnson won last year’s race on pit road; he won this year’s on the track.

Johnson made history and became the first back-to-back winner at Indianapolis.

Johnson is just heating up and we are not even in the Chase, is that really surprising?

Points: Second


Mark Martin

Well are we shocked? Mark Martin up front at the end and ready to pounce. Martin won the pole and was up front all day long. Martin did not want to make many changes to the car all day long.

He played follow the leader until a late caution had him in the lead, but Johnson pass on the restart shuffled him back to second and once again he was hunting down the leader.

Martin has never won at Indianapolis, and he was so close, finishing second.

Points: Ninth


Juan Pablo Montoya

It is not surprising to me that Juan Pablo Montoya ran so well here this weekend, he has been quietly building top five and top 10 finishes in the last month.

They couldn’t afford to finish outside the top 15 starting back at Pocono in June. Well they have done exactly what they needed to do.

Montoya was the best car out there all day long, he led the most laps and his pit crew did their on pit road. They were so good they never adjustment all day long.

On the final pit stop, a speeding ticket forced them to pit under green to serve the penalty.

His chance at the win was over.He finished 11th

Montoya swore on his family’s life that he was not speeding, but NASCAR could swear on the computer that he was.

Points: 10th


Kevin Harvick

It hasn’t been the year Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress had hoped.From mechanical issues, accidents, and just plain bad luck, to say 2009 has been a struggle is an understatement.

Harvick unloaded on Friday with a strong car in both practices and had a decent starting spot. Harvick moved forward early and soon was battling in the top 10. They were able to adjust well on the car.

They looked really strong this weekend and probably the best we have seen the run all year. They ended up finishing sixth.

Unhappy Harvick has a reason to smile leaving Indy.

Points: 23rd


Losers

Denny Hamlin

As a favorite coming into this race because of his success on flat tracks, Denny Hamlin was looking to continue his streak of finishing in the top five, since Pocono.

Well, they moved forward but then a broken driveshaft right as he came to pit road forced them to the garage and ended their day way too early.

They finished 34th.

Hamlin came back out just to log points as he was sitting in the top five in points coming in.

Hamlin had worked himself into a safety zone in points, but still couldn’t afford to have poor finishes. They should be able to rebound next week, but with no mulligans left before the chase.

Hamlin was hoping to drive away from the danger zone in the chase instead he drove right into it.

Points: Sixth


Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch at Chicagoland hit rock bottom finishing 33rd and on the edge of missing the chase, they couldn’t afford any more poor finishes.

Before Sunday's race, he talked about being a better leader, for the organization. Learning how to deal with the highs and lows of racing better.

Well, after a stellar pit stop that rocketed them seven positions during a green flag stop, he started feeling a vibration and soon hit the wall hard. Forced to the garage they had to work on the car to get back on the track.

Now he is on the outside looking in on the chase after they finished 38th.

Busch might of thought that changing his attitude would change his finishes, he just can’t win.

Points: 14th


Carl Edwards

You know Carl Edwards was a favorite coming into the race today, with his second place finish last year, had many thinking Edwards could notch his first win of 2009 this weekend. A poor qualifying had them starting in 41st.

They struggled in traffic all day long and were never able to make it to the front. Edwards wasn’t very happy with the car and with not that many cautions were never able take a gamble on pit road to gain track position.

There is something missing from this team, something they have lost or fallen behind on, they don’t make mistakes during qualifying and they usually are able to adjust better in traffic.

His point’s position coming in gives him a cushion but a 15th place finish is still disappointing.

The difference between Edwards last year and Edwards this year is track position and he is losing that battle.

Points: Fifth


Elliott Sadler

Well we hadn’t even gone green and Elliott Sadler was having engine problems. By lap one his engine issues caused Robby Gordon to spin out and Sadler was black flagged.

They went to the garage and worked on the car and Sadler saw his day end before it began. He finished 40th.

Sadler who was willing to file a lawsuit early this year over his contract situation, isn’t showing many why he should be back in that ride in 2010.

Sadler is struggling and can’t seem to find the handling on this car like his teammates have found.

Sadler might not be only fighting his car right now, but he could be fighting for a ride next season if things don’t turn around.

Points: 25th


Lucky Dog…

Joey Logano had never run a lap on this track until this weekend. You wouldn’t have known with his 12th place finish on Sunday.

After starting from the rear Logano worked his way through traffic and was battling for a top 10 finish late.

For Logano all he wants to do is find a way to keep getting better, but he slowly becoming a contender.

Points: 19th.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a great run going and was running in the top 10 all day long. They brought a brand new car for this weekend and looked like a good finish was heading their way.

Late in the race they blew an engine and saw what could have been a sure top 10 finish turn into a 36th place finish.

There has been a steady improvement from these guys in recent weeks, even if the finishes don’t show it.

Points: 22nd.


Final Lap…

There was so much anticipation coming into Indianapolis this weekend, with the talk of tires and records that could be broken or made.

But with all that, there was still a race, and the freight train style racing didn’t just disappear because they were at the storied track.

It was disappointing to be honest, there was not much passing and the leader pulled away with ease. I miss the days when the passing was all around the track, and NASCAR was at its best.

I won't stop watching NASCAR, but a change is needed.

NASCAR can’t blame anyone for this poor display of racing on Sunday, and like Goodyear got to work last year, NASCAR needs to do something and soon.

Speaking of Goodyear, nice job to them. They brought a great tire this weekend and redeemed themselves from last years debacle. 

Goodyear held up their end of the deal on improving the tire at Indianapolis. With all the slack they took last year, they deserve a job well done this year.

Back to Pocono!