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Jimmie Johnson wins Brickyard 400 for 4th time

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Sunday, July 29, 2012

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Jimmie Johnson led 99 of 160 laps
Getty Images for NASCAR

Make room for Jimmie Johnson among the legends of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Johnson won the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com on Sunday, July 29, joining Jeff Gordon as the only four-time winners of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at IMS.

Five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson also won in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He joins Gordon and Indianapolis 500 legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time winners of an oval race at IMS. Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix five times on the IMS road course.

"Man, you just hope to race here," Johnson said. "To come here and win is a huge honor. And to win four - four wins! I'm at a loss for words. It was a total team effort. We put it on them today. It was nice."

Johnson drove his No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet to a 4.758-second victory over the No. 18 M&M's Toyota of Kyle Busch. He earned $430,461. Hendrick Motorsports earned its eighth Brickyard victory, extending its event record.

Greg Biffle finished third in the No. 16 3M Ford.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished a Brickyard career best fourth in the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, taking the Sprint Cup points lead. Gordon was fifth in the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, his 11th top-five finish in 19 starts at this event.

Johnson led 99 of 160 laps in a dominant performance. He took the lead for good by passing Biffle on Lap 132. Johnson's crew won the race in the pits on the final stop of the race, under caution on Lap 134. Johnson then did his part by holding off Biffle on the final restart of the race, on Lap 141, and he pulled away over the final laps on the 2.5-mile oval.

Pole sitter Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski were Johnson's toughest challengers over the first 100 laps.

Hamlin led the first 26 laps in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota and one lap thereafter but finished sixth. Keselowski led three times for 22 laps in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge but faded to ninth.

Indiana natives and Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart both finished in the top 10. Newman, from South Bend, placed seventh in the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet. Stewart, from Columbus, finished 10th in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet.

2011 "400" winner Paul Menard finished 14th in the No. 29 Menards/Nibco Chevrolet.

POST-RACE QUOTES

TONY STEWART (No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, 10th): "We just didn't start the weekend off good enough. I will say that I'm really proud of Steve Addington, Greg Zipadelli and all of our engineers and everybody who worked hard last night to make this car what it was today. It was a lot better, but this is where we should have unloaded it instead of trying to be good for the race. We've just got to be better off the truck." (At its worst point, what was it like to drive?): "We just were a little bit tight in the center of the corner, and that's kind of what we fought all day. But yesterday we had problems with security in the right rear getting into the corner and being really loose off of it. We got that fixed. We just got too tight in the center of the corner. So I was proud of the gains they made. It was a very inconsistent car yesterday, and it was a very consistent car today."

DAVID STREMME (No. 30 Inception Motorsports Toyota, 24th): "We came here not even planning racing, and we had a good qualifying effort, so we worked hard. We didn't have any practice in race runs, and the guys did a phenomenal job. They kept working on the car. I think we were up to about 22nd or 20th there. It just got tight at the end so to finish where we did that is strong for us. Considering we only got seven full time guys I'm really proud of everybody on this team."

KASEY KAHNE (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, 12th): "We had a really fast car and came up through there. We got together with Joey Logano on pit road a little bit and it hurt my right front fender, and we were never fast the rest of the day."

MARK MARTIN (No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, 11th): "It was a great team effort. The last restart, we got caught in an unfortunate shuffle and lost some spots. But we came back and passed a few and ran strong. It was a great effort by our guys. I had a strong engine today in the Toyota, and the car handled good but not good enough to win. But it was definitely a strong car."

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, fourth): "We just had some good fortune there to start on the inside on those last few restarts. We had about a fourth- to eighth-place car, just seemed to get some good fortune on how those restarts lined up for us at the end. The car was fast. I was trying to pass Biffle but couldn't get no closer than I was." (About taking Sprint Cup points lead): "If you run in the top five 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 No. 48 shop. Everybody has got to be happy with what we got today. All cars run pretty good."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Target Chevrolet, 21st): "It was a rough day. Qualifying wasn't too bad. We kind of knew going into the race we were going to struggle and we were going to have to do a lot of work to make it better, and I was right. For me, it was different (than previous years). I've always been in clean air. I was in the back of that line today, and it's hard."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge, 16th): "I just tried to bring the car home in one piece and learn as much as we could throughout the day. We were a fair bit too tight for most of the day. On the last run, we got on the outside and were freer than we need to be and couldn't make the passes that we needed to. We weren't quite as good as the 2 (Keselowski) was. He went forward on the last restart, and we went back. We got stuck on the outside. We were definitely a little bit better than we ended up. It's real hard to make a pass. You have to keep pressuring them until they make a mistake, but that's what makes this place challenging. This was the first weekend we had to build as a team. I was glad I had the opportunity to run both races (Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series)."

PAUL MENARD (No. 27 Menards/Nibco Chevrolet, 14th): "It wasn't very much fun all day. We ran around 10th place all day and had some good restarts. On the last one, somebody checked up, and the bottom lane didn't go as good, and we checked up a little more and got put three-wide and picked up some fender damage. We were lucky to come home 14th. It was kind of frustrating, but the guys were really good on pit road. We made good adjustment on the car, and it was a lot better toward than it was at the beginning. This is probably the hardest place to pass. You can be three- or four-tenths faster than the car ahead of you and just get stagnant and waiting for him to make a mistake."

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet, seventh): "We just didn't get the overall speed that we needed with the track position, so that's Indy. We come away with a top-10 finish. That's three top-10s in a row for us with the Quicken Loans Chevrolet. We are proud."

TREVOR BAYNE (No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, 17th): "I think we had a better car than what we finished today, and I think we ran better even though we never had track position. That was the tough part: We'd pass three, four cars, and then we would lose them in the pits. Guys were just a little off today, but that's not usual for them. We are usually really, really good in the stall. Something was just missing there a little bit today, and it's hard when you lose spots to get them back because it's such a hard place to pass at. But I think coming back to 17th, we started 18th, picked up a position. A lot better than last year, and I think that car is going to be really good here in the future. That's a brand-new car, and I'm looking forward to running it here again."

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, fifth): "We started in the outside lane on both of those last two restarts, and that did not do us any favors. You really need to be on the inside. My car was really tight, especially on that outside lane and a little bit too tight in traffic, but it was fast, really fast. We proved it all day long by running up front and passing cars. But with 20 (laps) to go, you lose spots like that, it's going to be hard to make it up. But we got to fifth, so that's really solid for our guys. We will take this top-five here in Indy. Congrats to Jimmie and Chad (Knaus) and those guys. They are a great team, and they deserve to be in victory lane."

TRAVIS KVAPIL (No. 93 Burger King Toyota, 37th): "We had really hoped to do a lot better. We're really disappointed. We had a good car after qualifying, but today the car was really, really tight. I'm not sure how we were that far off where we were (Saturday). Being that tight really abused the right-front tire, and we really abused it so much that it just got hot and gave out. We hit the wall and really damaged the car. Our day was done."

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, ninth): "It was just an average day. I made too many mistakes. We had great strategy. I think we do a great job of making good decisions. I made a few too many mistakes to be able to win the race. The big thing is the 48 car, the parts they had brought out this weekend. You could see it on their car following. We're racing trucks, they're racing cars, and that's why they're winning. We've got to make a step up before the Chase to catch up to what they got there. If we do that, we can get on the same speed platform. And I'm confident with our good strategy and smart decision-making skills, we can win races and the championship."

CARL EDWARDS (No. 99 Fastenal Ford, 29th): "We know it's some issue. We think it's some issue with the ECU. We changed that, along with the sparkplugs, and the engine started running better. But the biggest thing is our strategy. I don't think we are points racing anymore. I think we are officially racing only for wins, so we have been kind of going over things that are fresh in our minds to determine the best strategy. We had one thing, and that was a very fast race car. Greg (Biffle) finished third in his car, and I felt that ours was as good as his. We want to make one thing for sure: We do not quit. We keep going. We put our best effort forth, and if it's (making Chase) meant to be, then it's meant to be."

MARTIN TRUEX JR. (No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, sixth): "It was good. We had to really battle with the track position again. We started 17th and worked our way up there. It seemed like every single restart we were on the outside, and I'd lose spots. I felt like at times we were better than an seventh-place car, but we fought track position. At the end, we were an eighth-place car. We finished probably where we should have. I'm just proud of the guys, proud of everybody on the NAPA Toyota. We struggled in the start of practice and really worked hard on the thing to get it driving good. We hit on some things that are working for us with this new side skirt package. I'm looking forward to testing some at Michigan then going onto Pocono and using some of what we learned here there."

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 6 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 48/5 160 Running
2 7 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 43/1 160 Running
3 5 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 42/1 160 Running
4 20 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet AMP Energy / National Guard 40/0 160 Running
5 9 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 40/1 160 Running
6 1 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 39/1 160 Running
7 11 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans 37/0 160 Running
8 17 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 36/0 160 Running
9 22 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 36/1 160 Running
10 28 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Office Depot 34/0 160 Running
11 19 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 33/0 160 Running
12 15 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 32/0 160 Running
13 27 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Jimmy Johns 31/0 160 Running
14 8 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / Nibco 30/0 160 Running
15 33 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 29/0 160 Running
16 24 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 0 160 Running
17 18 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 0 160 Running
18 14 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 26/0 160 Running
19 4 43 Aric Almirola Ford Eckrich 25/0 160 Running
20 23 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford DEWALT 24/0 160 Running
21 12 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 23/0 160 Running
22 16 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 22/0 160 Running
23 32 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet SealWrap 21/0 160 Running
24 26 30 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports 20/0 160 Running
25 38 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King 20/1 160 Running
26 29 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Scott Products 19/1 160 Running
27 31 38 David Gilliland Ford Big Machine Records 17/0 160 Running
28 36 34 David Ragan Ford Scorpion Coatings / Al's Liners 16/0 160 Running
29 2 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 15/0 156 Running
30 42 32 Ken Schrader Ford Special Operations For America.org 14/0 156 Running
31 37 33 Stephen Leicht * Chevrolet Little Joes Autos.com 13/0 154 Running
32 21 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Rain-X 12/0 151 Running
33 3 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 11/0 144 Running
34 25 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 10/0 137 Running
35 10 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Fifth Third Bank 10/1 132 Accident
36 13 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet HendrickCars.com 8/0 126 Engine
37 30 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King 7/0 40 Accident
38 34 195 Scott Speed Ford Leavine Family Racing 6/0 23 Brakes
39 41 10 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 5/0 20 Transmission
40 35 26 Josh Wise * Chevrolet Taco Bell 4/0 19 Brakes
41 40 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 3/0 14 Rear Gear
42 39 179 Mike Skinner Ford Koma Unwind 2/0 11 Rear Gear
43 43 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing 0 5 Engine

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