Jimmie Johnson Makes It No. 2 at the Brickyard

Samuel SicaAnalyst IJuly 27, 2008


After having a week off following the race at Chicagoland, the Sprint Cup Series headed to the Brickyard for the Allstate 400.

Jimmie Johnson started from the pole position with veteran Mark Martin alongside in second. Johnson would lead the first few laps of the race before the first caution flag slowed the field for a crash involving Michael Waltrip and Paul Menard on lap four. Waltrip got loose while racing with Sam Hornish and spun right into Menard who had no place to go.

Most of the cars would stay out under the caution but some cars, including Dale Earnhardt, Jr., came down pit road to check on their tire wear.

The tire wear was a big problem in practice, and NASCAR decided to throw competition cautions throughout the race to make sure the drivers were safe out on the track. Many drivers were showing significant tire wear after just 10 laps.

Johnson and most of the other leaders stayed out and waited to pit under the next caution flag. The second caution flag flew on lap 14 for an incident involving Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick. The leaders would all come to pit road, with Johnson coming out first.

On the restart, Earnhardt Jr. and Jason Leffler were at the head of the field because they had pitted on the previous caution and decided to stay out for track position. This move would not pay off for either, however. They both had tires go down and were forced to pit under green flag conditions, allowing Jeff Gordon to take over the lead on lap 25 when Jr. made his pit stop.

Gordon was at the front of the field when the third caution flag waved over the field for a blown tire on Juan Pablo Montoya’s machine on lap 30. The leaders would come down pit road, with Kyle Busch coming out first with the help of a two-tire stop.

Busch would lead a few laps before Gordon reclaimed the top spot on lap 36. However, Gordon’s lead would be short-lived as Johnson passed him one lap later for the lead.

Johnson would continue to lead when another caution came out for a cut tire on Matt Kenseth’s car on lap 47. The leaders would come to pit road with Busch holding the lead.

Busch would once again lead a few laps after the restart until Johnson passed him for the lead on lap 62. Shortly after Johnson passed Busch for the lead, Kyle began to drop back into the field. Busch had a tire going down and was saved by a competition caution on lap 65. All the leaders returned to pit road with A.J. Allmendinger coming out as the leader.

Allmendinger, in his first race at the Brickyard, led a few laps under green before Johnson passed him on lap 72. Johnson would continue to be the leader when another competition caution came out on lap 83. The leaders came to pit road with Carl Edwards coming out as the leader.

Edwards would not restart as the leader of the race since Martin Truex stayed out under the caution to lead. Truex had just made a green flag pit stop before the caution flag came out and managed to stay on the lead lap. Edwards would make quick work of Truex, though, as he took the lead on lap 87.

Edwards would lead a handful of laps before Johnson ran him down and passed him on lap 90 for the lead. Another competition caution waved over the field on lap 97, allowing everyone to once again check their tire wear. Elliott Sadler came out of the pits as the leader with the help of a two-tire stop.

Sadler restarted the race as the leader, but was quickly passed by Jeff Burton after the green flag was waved on lap 105. Shortly after Burton made the move on Sadler, the caution flag came out again for a blown engine by Brian Vickers.

Burton restarted as the leader but Johnson made quick work of him, passing Burton for the lead on lap 115. Two more competition cautions would slow the field on laps 122 and 138 with Denny Hamlin leading off pit road each time.

Hamlin would lead the field on the restart and looked to have the race well in hand. Unfortunately for Hamlin, another competition caution would come out with just 10 laps remaining, causing everyone to come down pit road one more time to change tires.

Hamlin would take two tires on his stop but just about everyone else did as well. Johnson ended up winning the race off pit road, with Edwards coming out in second, leaving Hamlin in third.

This would prove to be the winning move for Johnson who would lead the remaining seven laps and earn his second Brickyard 400 victory. Johnson proved to be the fastest car all day and for once, the best car won the race.

The top 10 were Johnson, Edwards, Hamlin, Sadler, Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Burton, and Allmendinger.

Some notable finishes include Mark Martin in 11th, Earnhardt Jr. in 12th, Ryan Newman in 13th, Kyle Busch in 15th, Bobby Labonte in 16th, Clint Bowyer in 19th, Sam Hornish in 21st, Tony Stewart in 23rd, Casey Mears in 26th, Robby Gordon in 33rd, Harvick in 37th, Kenseth in 38th, and Kurt Busch in 40th position.

The top 12 in points are Kyle Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Burton, Johnson, Edwards, Gordon, Biffle, Hamlin, Kahne, Stewart, Kenseth, and Bowyer. Kevin Harvick is in 13th, just a handful of points out of 12th.

The Brickyard is in the history books and we can look forward to some of the same racing action at Pocono next week.