Johnson motors to fourth Brickyard 400 victory
INDIANAPOLIS Jimmie Johnson fondly recalls watching the Indianapolis 500 as a kid in California, rearranging the couch cushions so he could pretend he was sitting in a race car.
Johnson's grandfather was an A.J. Foyt fan. Johnson liked Rick Mears. And now Johnson might be mentioned in the same breath as those two drivers and other Indy greats.
Johnson stamped another exclamation point on his racing resume Sunday, a dominant drive that ended with his fourth career Brickyard 400 victory.
"I'm able to join racing legends, my heroes and people I looked up to my entire life," Johnson said. "To join them was a huge, huge honor."
With the win, Johnson joined Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon as the only NASCAR drivers to win four times at the historic 2.5-mile track, which has hosted stock car racing since 1994.
The victory also puts Johnson among some top names in the track's record books.
Only three drivers have won four Indianapolis 500s: Foyt, Mears and Al Unser Sr.
Johnson took it all in during a unique family moment of his own after the race, taking a victory lap in a pace car with his wife, his daughter and his crew guys all piled on board.
Johnson also won the Brickyard in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Kyle Busch finished second, followed by Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon. Polesitter Denny Hamlin was sixth.
It was a rough day for Cambridge native Matt Kenseth, who came into Sunday's race with the Sprint Cup Series points lead but was taken out of the race in a late collision with Joey Logano.
"Everybody was just running everybody in the back, and you could see it was just a matter of time before the wreck happened," Kenseth said.
While Johnson ruled the day, Earnhardt walked away with the points lead—14 points ahead of Kenseth, who was 35th.
"We've persevered all year, and we've done good work all year," Earnhardt said. "I think it is a bit of a confidence booster, something I'm proud of because we've worked hard all year and we've got something to show for it."
After drawing huge crowds for more than a decade after the first NASCAR race at Indianapolis in 1994, attendance has been sagging in recent years. The front-stretch stands were fairly full but there were sparse crowds in the turns.
Other state drivers
Eau Claire native Paul Menard, the defending race winner, finished 14th while Janesville native Travis Kvapil was 37th.