Parks Race Reactions: Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
It may just be the sweetest kiss in NASCAR since the winning driver got to lip lock with Miss Winston.
Although I'm sure Miss Winston had better breath.
But, when the checkered flag falls at Indianapolis, kissing the bricks at the start/finish line is what every driver wants to do. It doesn't matter how much rubber was laid down on the track, how much oil spewed from a motor, or how smoky a burnout was. That kiss on the bricks is the sweetest in all of NASCAR.
After 400 miles, one driver and one team got that chance. But, before that, there were headlines up and down the track.
Why waste any more time. Here are my race reactions from the Brickyard 400.
The biggest struggles I saw all day were from Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Who would have thought the guys who have won eight combined races here would struggle so badly.
Johnson was just so horrendous all day long. Then, seeing the team not able to beat the pace car off pit road is just astonishing. That rarely, if ever, happens to Chad Knaus and company.
Meanwhile, Gordon never had a handle on his car from the drop of the green flag. At best, he could have been a 10th-place car. Even that was proving to be a struggle as his car just wouldn't stay consistent.
The flat tire just added to the problems of his race, one that he never was a contender in.
Both Hendrick cars finished 22nd and 23rd respectively. That is unlike Hendrick at this track.
The best finish for a Hendrick car was 11th, which was Mark Martin. Just a horrible day for Rick Hendrick and company.
Next, it just seems like an Indy jinx is on Juan Pablo Montoya. Last year, he makes the mistake and speeds on pit road. This year, the pit crew makes the wrong call on pit road.
With so few laps remaining, the crew had to know teams were going with two tires. Plus, with so few laps on the tires from the last stop, it would have been a good call to take track position. But, they went with four tires and got caught behind the cars going with two tires.
It drove Montoya to make up spots, but he simply just over drove the car.
That hit in turn four ended another "would have, should have" race for the No. 42 Chevrolet at Indy. The interesting fact about this team is that their best finish here is second in 2008, the year Goodyear brought a horrible combination to the track.
On the short sprints that year, he worked his way to the front. When it mattered most, he couldn't drive to the front to get the lead.
It's unfortunate for Montoya and company because they had such an awesome car. It's going to be hard for him to take in, and probably one race he wishes he could take back.
But now he must wait 365 days to make up for it again.
It wasn't all famine for Chip Ganassi on this day, as he still managed to get to victory lane. Only one owner can now say he won the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 in one season.
The smile on Ganassi's face when Jamie McMurray came off turn four couldn't be surgically removed. The No. 1 wasn't the dominant car, but it got the job done when it mattered most.
Deciding on two tires was the right call and it gave McMurray another great victory to add to his growing resume. Coming back to Ganassi from Roush-Fenway Racing has revitalized his career and it has also brought life back into the Bass Pro Shops team.
After burning off the rear tires, and having 160 laps of rubber on the surface, it didn't matter to McMurray. He, his wife, Ganassi and the entire team knelled down and gave the bricks a huge smooch.
With the exception of McMurray kissing his wife, and her stomach, that had to taste very good.
That is the true taste of victory at Indianapolis. It's not the champagne, the Coca-Cola or the Gatorade. For McMurray, those bricks had to taste very good.
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