Denny Hamlin, driving the #11 FedEx Express Toyota won the pole for the 19th running of the 400 mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a speed of 182.763 mph. Jimmie Johnson in his #48 Lowes/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, started in 6th position and by lap four had passed second place Carl Edwards in the #99 Fastenal Ford.
Edwards started in 2nd place and on lap 13 had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a possible valve spring or plug wire problem. Edwards would lose four laps and finished in 29th place. “We think it was some issue with the ECU. We changed that along with the spark plugs and the engine started running better” said Edwards after the race.
Jimmie Johnson’s win was his 4th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, tying him with teammate Jeff Gordon, his 3rd victory of the season, and 58th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win. Jimmie won the event by 4.758 seconds and led a total of 99 of the 160 laps. It was the 8th win for Hendrick Motorsports at the Brickyard. Johnson knew he would have a good car for the race and said, “I knew second or third lap yesterday on the track that we were going to have an awfully good chance at winning. That confidence that I had helped us through practice yesterday. There were a couple moments where maybe an adjustment didn’t work and we lost a little pace, but I just had a feeling, and I just knew we were going to be fine. We qualified well and then went out there today and put it on them, so solid performance.”
Kyle Busch finished in 2nd place after starting in 7th. It was Kyle’s 6th top 10 finish in eight starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Can’t say enough about the effort the guys put in for our best finish here and our best run. If it wasn’t for the 48, we were probably in our own zip code on the rest of the field, but Jimmie Johnson was in his own country today, so we just couldn’t keep up with him”, Kyle said when asked about his #18 M & M’s Toyota.
Greg Biffle, driving the #16 3M Ford for Jack Roush, finished the race in 3rd place after starting in 5th and led four laps on the day. “It was a pretty good day for us. We were just super loose all day long. It made difficult after about four or five laps my car just started to get real loose”.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his best ever finish at IMS after finishing in the 4th position in the #88 Amp Energy/National Guard Chevrolet. Earnhardt started in 20th position and worked his way to the front in the early running of the race. Not only was it Earnhardt’s best finish at Indianapolis and his 15th top 10 finish of the season, but he also gained the points lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. This is the first time Earnhardt has lead the points since Septemeber, 2004. When asked about taking the points lead, Dale Jr. said, “If you run in the top 5 or top 10 enough, you will get points. But we would like to win some more races. I know our fans would like us to win some more races. We are working real hard, really happy with our result today. Happy for Hendrick Motorsports and the #48 shop. Everybody has got to be happy with what we got today. All cars run pretty good.”
Jeff Gordon finished in 5th place, putting all three Hendrick cars in the top 5 for the day. The rest of the top 10 was Denny Hamlin in 6th, Ryan Newman 7th, Martin Truex Jr. in 8th, Brad Keselowski 9th, and Tony Stewart finished in the 10th position.
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 Fifth Third Bank Ford entered the race with the points lead but on lap 134 Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne got together, collecting Kenseth in the wreck. Kenseth fell out of the race, finishing 35th, 28 laps behind the leaders. It was Kenseth’s first DNF of the season. When asked about the incident, Kenseth replied, “We got back there and some guys were driving pretty crazy. I guess at the very end of it the 21 and 78 were mad at each other and running into each other and then the 20 was trying to pass the 21 and just lost control of his car.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. now leads Kenseth by14 points in the series standings. There were 5 cautions for 25 laps and 17 lead changes among 9 drivers.