|Indianapolis Motor Speedway
BRICKYARD 400 WINNERS
|Year Winner Avg MPH # of Cautions
5 for 21 Laps
3 for 14 Laps
11 for 52 Laps
9 for 43 Laps
8 for 24 Laps
Joe Gibbs Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing
Rundown: Johnson had some adversity to overcome. His left front tire failed
on Lap 40, sending him to 38th place. He came out of the pits in eighth place
with 14 laps to go after replacing all four tires. Within five laps he had the lead
the same season (Dale Jarrett in 1996 was the other).
Quote: "There was nothing of a championship on my mind today," Johnson
said. "I want this trophy over here with the brick on it." Johnson won the first
of five straight season championships that year.
Hint of trouble: NASCAR called competition cautions twice early in the
race so crews could check tire wear. It didn't turn out to be a problem, but
the series wasn't so fortunate a couple of years later.
Rundown: While Stewart's first Brickyard win two years earlier was
filled with anxiety followed by exhaustion, this one was a fairly simple
Sunday drive. He had the dominant car, leading 65 laps. And when
Kevin Harvick made a pass for the lead on Lap 141, Stewart was hardly
fazed. He got back around Harvick 10 laps later and cruised to victory.
Quote: "Here kitty, kitty." Tony Stewart was so confident while in
second place, he joked on his team radio before slipping by Harvick.
Versatility: Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner and
a former Formula One driver, became the first to race in all three major
series on the track. He started and finished second. Could he have
beaten Stewart? "I don't think anybody had anything for Tony today."
Rundown: The phrase of the day was "competition caution." Goodyear's tires
were wearing out way too fast, prompting NASCAR officials to require pit stops
about every 12 laps. That made the work on pit road critical, and Johnson came
out of the last stop in the lead, and he went on to pick up his second Brickyard
win. He blew out a tire during his on-track victory celebration.
Quote: "I've never been a part of anything like this. It made for a long, slow day."
So what happened? Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of
competition, said everyone expected rapid tire wear to correct itself once enough
laps were run to lay down a coat of rubber on the track. "We felt like it would come
to us by race day. It didn't happen. We'll just have to take what we learned (Sunday)
and do a better job next year."
Rundown: This race looked to be in the bag for Juan Pablo Montoya. At
one point he led 59 laps in a row. However, he was penalized for speeding
on his last pit stop. On the final restart, Johnson passed Mark Martin and he
led the final 24 laps to earn his third Brickyard win in four years.
Quote: "I feel we've got our form now," Johnson said. "It's time to buckle
down and focus on a fourth."
What about Juan? Montoya finished 11th after serving his drive-through
penalty, although he thought he obeyed the 55 mph pit road speed limit.
"Once it happens, you can't change it. It's pretty frustrating."
much of the race before misfortune struck. A caution on Lap 138 sent most
cars into the pits. Montoya's crew changed four tires instead of two, costing
him time and track position. In his haste to move up from seventh place, he
crashed. McMurray took the lead with 11 laps to go and added a Brickyard
victory to his season-opening Daytona 500 win.
Quote: "When Juan was leading and I was second, I'm a big believer in
fate, and I thought this was how it was meant to be," McMurray said. "I
thought Juan was going to win this one."
Ganassi in the middle: Chip Ganassi owned the Cup cars driven by
McMurray and Montoya, so he was torn about the result. He also owned the
Indy car driven that year by Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, giving
him a sweep of the three biggest races in American motor sports. "The
team wins and the team loses and today was certainly a mixed emotion day
in that respect," Ganassi said. "Is it surreal? Yes."