Kyle Busch dominated the field but had to negotiate two overtime periods Sunday on his way to winning NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Busch, who started on the pole, led 149 of the race’s 170 laps (it was scheduled for 160 laps). He had to survive three restarts in the final laps, including one during the race’s first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
Matt Kenseth, Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, finished second. Jimmie Johnson, who fell a lap down earlier in the race after a pit-road penalty, was third. Denny Hamlin, another JGR driver, was fourth.
Tony Stewart, who is retiring after this season and was running his final Cup race at Indianapolis, was 11th. Already-retired Jeff Gordon, driving in place of injured Dale Earnhardt Jr., was 13th. Gordon will drive for Earnhardt again next week at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
Busch, who won for the fourth time this season, became the first driver in NASCAR history to win both the Xfinity and Cup races from the pole in the same weekend.
Busch took the lead from Joey Logano on Lap 62 and never trailed. He was strong on restarts the rest of the race, especially over the last 19 laps, when there were four cautions shown (including one that forced a second overtime).
Three who mattered
Kyle Busch: A driver has never dominated a weekend like he did at Indy (poles and victories in Xfinity and Cup races).
Jimmie Johnson: Looked like he was going to have another bad day after a pit-road penalty. But he rallied for third place, stopping a streak of six consecutive races out of the top 10.
Jeff Gordon: Said restarts were a problem on his way to a 13th-place finish. He’ll get another chance next week at Pocono, where he will replace Earnhardt again.
▪ Greg Biffle took perhaps the biggest hit of the race when his No. 16 Ford blew a right-front tire and smashed into the Turn 1 wall. “That’s the worst possible place, but unfortunately it happened,” said Biffle, who finished 39th, stopping a streak in which he had three consecutive top-10 finishes.
▪ Brad Keselowski’s chances weren’t helped when his No. 2 Ford team had radio problems. At one point, crew chief Paul Wolfe couldn’t talk with Keselowski or spotter Joey Meier. Keselowski managed to finish 17th.
▪ Attendance figures weren’t released for the race, but there was no hiding the fact that there were plenty of empty seats at the speedway, which has a capacity of more than 235,000. It’s a tough balance for NASCAR, which can’t reasonably expect to fill (or come close anymore) Indy, but wants and needs to have a race at one of motorsports’ shrines. And in fairness to NASCAR, however many fans there were would have come much closer to filling some of the Cup circuit’s other tracks.
They said it
“I hoped it would be that good and that dominant. This thing was hooked up; it was on rails. It was fun to come out here and have such a dominant piece at Indy.” – Busch.
Three tweets from Sunday’s race:
Where: Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa.
When: 1:30 p.m., Sunday.
TV: NBC Sports Network.
Radio: Motor Racing Network.