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Last Updated Monday, Aug 3, 2009 2:02 am, EDT

Allstate 400 at The Brickyard

Status: Final Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Race Capsule

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 20 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, IN

  • When:

    July 26, 2009 2:19 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    160

  • Track Length:

    2.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    400.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $9,603,268

Drivers to Watch

Mark Martin Martin has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races at Indy to bring his top-10 total to nine in 15 starts at the track. His best finish was second in 1998. "I usually say a win at Martinsville is equal to a win in the Southern 500 (at Darlington)," said Martin. "But the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard are definitely separate (compared to other tracks). This race does mean more to me."
Juan Pablo Montoya As a rookie, Montoya started second and finished second in this race in 2007. He was 13th last year. "I think we are better prepared than ever as a team," Montoya said. "I think our pit crew is working (well) -- we are having good pit stops now. We are having good calls for the races. Good strategy. I think the time we have been together with Brian (Pattie, crew chief), over a year (has helped). The engineering side, we have been developing from the beginning. Everything is really coming together. Most of the guys are the same guys -- the mechanics working on the car. Really, we have the ball rolling; we have a lot of momentum. They are giving me as much as they can, same as I am. Maybe I am missing a little bit myself driving these cars, I don't know. If you look at every week, the pace is there. What we are missing for wins is very small. Right now, more than wins is good results. I am sure we are a little more aggressive sometimes in changes and strategies. We could be winning races. The name of the game today is making the Chase, and that is what we are trying to achieve."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt has only two top-10 finishes and no top-fives in nine starts at Indy. His best finish so far has been a sixth in 2006. As for what to expect this weekend, Earnhardt just wants to see "continued improvement" as he attempts to end the season on a high note.
David Reutimann Reutimann has struggled big time at Indy with finishes of 30th and 38th in his two Sprint Cup starts at the track. He knows he needs to run a lot better this weekend if he plans to stay within striking distance of the top 12. Reutimann is 76 points out of the top 12 and only 70 points ahead of Brian Vickers, who is 16th in the standings.
Brian Vickers Vickers finished third in the 2005 Brickyard 400 for his lone top-10 finish in five starts at Indy. He finished 42nd a year ago because of engine failure. Vickers knows he needs a top-10 run this weekend if he wants to stay in the hunt for the final spot in the Chase. Vickers trails 12th-place Matt Kenseth by 146 points.
Tony Stewart Stewart has won two of the last four times NASCAR has raced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, in 2005 and 2007. Those are two of his four top-five and six top-10 finishes in 10 starts there. The native of nearby Columbus, Ind., was 23rd last year. "It's my home race, obviously," Stewart said. "Growing up in Indiana and every year watching the Indy 500 and the whole month of May leading up to it, a race at the Brickyard is more than just a regular points race. It's always been a big race to all of the Cup drivers, but then when you grow up in Indiana, it just makes it that much more important. I rode my bike to school every day, and your parents beat it in your head to stop at stop signs and wait for green lights before you cross the road. Well, I played 'Frogger' going home, basically with a bicycle, trying to get home as fast as I could trying to get the TV on. That's my biggest memory is just growing up and watching, loving the opportunity to get home. I didn't care how much homework I had. It was the last priority when the month of May was going on and whatever coverage was on TV. You were just glued to it. There wasn't any one particular moment. It's just been something that's been a huge, huge part of my life."
Kasey Kahne Kahne has no wins, two top-five finishes and three top-10s in five Indy starts. He was seventh last year. "Last year was a little bit messed up with the tires, but they've fixed it," Kahne said. "Goodyear has done everything they can to make a tire last on that surface and that race track with those long straightaways. I think there was a lot to it because it seemed like a pretty tough process. I must have tested six or seven times there since last year's race. The teams have put a ton of time testing up there, and I feel like the tire is as good as anything that I've been on up there. So it's going to be an awesome race. Winning at the Brickyard and the Daytona 500 are on the top of my list. I think it depends on what type of racing background you have, which one is more important to you. For me, coming up in the sprint car ranks, I raced in the Indianapolis area a lot and learned early on how significant winning at Indy was. When you think about the drivers that have won at Indy throughout the years, it would mean a lot to be able to add my name to that list. We've been close a few times, and it's certainly a victory I'd love to pull off."
Clint Bowyer Bowyer finished fourth in his Sprint Cup debut at Indy but has finished 13th and 19th in his last two starts at the track. "We're going the wrong way," said Bowyer. "The first time there, I thought it was almost too easy."
Marcos Ambrose Ambrose finished 22nd in his Sprint Cup debut at Indy a year ago. "Last year's Allstate 400 was a really important race for me," said Ambrose, who has been one of the big surprises of the 2009 season. "There was a lot riding on that race. Fortunately, it was a breakout race (and convinced the team to run the full circuit in '09)."
Greg Biffle Biffle finished eighth at Indy last year for his second top-10 finish in six starts at the track. "We haven't had the best luck at Indy, but we were able to hang in there for a top-10 run last year," said Biffle. "We're not happy with our last few finishes and I know everyone on this team is determined to turn things around. Indy would be a great place to do that."
Martin Truex Jr. Truex is still looking for his first top-10 at Indy. In four starts at the track, his best finish is 19th. The season certainly hasn't gone as Truex had envisioned, with only three top-10 finishes in the first 19 races and a 24th-place spot in the standings as the series heads to Indy.
Denny Hamlin Hamlin has no wins, one top-five finish and two top-10s in three Indy starts. He was third last year. "I think we've shown at Indy that we have what it takes to win there, and the team really builds great cars for this track," he said. "It's a track where JGR cars have won before and a track that I really like from the driver's seat, so we go there feeling like we can unload fast, get better in practice and compete on Sunday. To win here you need the car, the driver and the crew all at their best and then have a lot of things to go your way. If we take the issues that have hurt us here -- we had motor trouble and a speeding penalty here in the past -- if you take those issues away there is no reason we can't run up front. Last season was unlike anything I have experienced, so it's hard to compare it to what we would consider a normal race here. Even though we were running such short segments, our car was still really good."
Jimmie Johnson Johnson is a two-time winner at the Brickyard (2004 and 2008). Last year, he led 71 laps in a race that was interrupted by countless competition yellows because of tire failures after six to eight laps. Those are his only two top-five finishes to go along with three top-10s in seven starts. "I did not realize that the straightaways were that long and the corners were that tight, especially in a stock car," Johnson said. "There's a fair amount of braking that's needed to get through turns one and three, and it took me by surprise. And one of the coolest moments I experienced in the race my rookie season was coming around to take the green flag. When you look down the front stretch into turn one, with the fans on both sides of the track and so close, and in the hard turn that it makes, that spectacle and that view is just amazing. It's just like a 90-degree turn down the end of this tunnel full of color. It's really special. When you pull on the track, it takes your breath and you're trying to understand where you're at and what you're doing. But when you have a chance to actually race in the event that's there that weekend, if it's the 500 or the Brickyard 400, it's amazing the experience and how it changes in your mind. The track is a tricky track. Clouds blow over, it changes the track dramatically, and speed, and how the car handles. All four corners are different and technical. The true character of that track shows up and the challenge of that track presents to everybody shows up. And for a lot of years, it's haunted me. But, here, the last couple times, it's been good to me."
Ryan Newman The driver from South Bend, Ind., has no wins, one top-five finish (fourth in 2002) and no other top-10s in eight starts at Indy. He was 18th last year for Penske Racing. "I'm a big racing historian," Newman said. "I like the history of the sport, and I've always said to know that ... A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti and Jim Hurtubise and Mel Kenyon, all those people have been through here at some point walking the same path out to the pit lane and driving the same line on the racetrack. That to me means more than anything else, just the history of all of auto racing here at this racetrack. It's a great race. It's a unique racetrack. We all know that. It's a lot of fun, especially when you're up front. It seems like the straightaways become forever, and you can just sit there and relax and drive the race car. It's a great racetrack, a lot of great fans, both Tony (Stewart) and I being from this area, meaning Indiana, with the open-wheel side of things, the racing that we've done all across every part of Indiana pretty much. I would speculate there's very few racetracks in this state that either one of us hasn't raced at. It's just a great place to come back and enjoy the racing and the fans."
Joey Logano Logano will be making his first start at Indy. "It is going to be something special because all of the history at this place," said Logano. "But we have to approach it just like we have all of the other tracks that we had not raced on before this year -- just learn as much as we can in practice and try to get better as the race goes along."
Kevin Harvick Harvick has five top-10 finishes in eight starts at Indy, including a win in 2003 when he sat on the pole. He has finished in the top seven in two of the last three races at the track. "We had a really fast car (last year)," said Harvick. "Kurt Busch spun out right in front of us and we wound up getting wrecked."
Kyle Busch Busch has no wins, one top-five finish and three top-10s in four Indy starts. He was 15th last year.
Jeff Gordon Although Tony Stewart has a sizeable lead, Gordon is safely positioned to make the Chase. He has one win, 10 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. He has won $3,835,490.
Jamie McMurray McMurray finished sixth a year ago at Indy for his third top-10 finish in six starts at the track. "Indy is a track that is on every driver's list of places they want to win at, and I've always looked forward to our race there," said McMurray. "Coming off a weekend off, I'm ready to jump back in the car and eager to get a solid run at Indy for our team."
Matt Kenseth Kenseth has finished in the top 10 in five of his nine starts at Indy, including two runner-up finishes. "We've had some tough outings lately and some bad luck as well, and I can't think of a better place to go to get our season back on track," said Kenseth, who has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races at Indy.
Casey Mears Mears has only one top-10 finish in six starts at Indy, but he did win the pole for the 400 in 2004. He will be running a new chassis this weekend. "Obviously, my family history has been a big part of racing at Indy with my Uncle Rick winning the Indy 500 four times," said Mears.
Jeff Burton Burton will be seeking his third straight top-10 finish at Indy on Sunday, and that is exactly what he needs in his quest to keep alive his slim hopes of making the Chase. Burton stands 17th in the standings, 182 points out of the top 12, with only seven races remaining until the Chase for the Championship begins.
Kurt Busch Busch has no wins, one top-five finish and three top-10s in seven Indy starts. He was 40th last year. "Indianapolis has got to be the number two race for us on our schedule," Busch said. "If you don't win Daytona, the list is short after that whether it's Indy or whether it's Charlotte. We're coming in there looking at the big picture -- getting a solid finish and boosting our chances of making the Chase this season. As far as the 'race for the Chase' goes, we're definitely hoping to be competitive at Indy, build a little more on our confidence level and pad our comfort zone. I told them before the Chicagoland race that we were pretty comfortable where we were at the time -- sitting 313 points ahead of the 12th-place guy. That 17th-place finish at Chicago narrowed that advantage to 241 points. With seven races to go before the Chase kicks in, we're hoping to survive and prosper this weekend at Indy. Then we have Watkins Glen, Pocono and Michigan. We need to run consistently strong enough in those races to have enough of a lead where we can really go on the offensive trying to win races and pick up bonus points heading into the Chase. I really feel like we can run really strong in the races right before the Chase starts -- the races back at Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond -- and if we can pick up a win or two at those tracks that would be 30 bonus points that would come along with us in the Chase."
Carl Edwards Edwards has no wins, one top-five finish and two top-10s in four starts at the Brickyard. "Last year, finishing second at the Brickyard was close enough to give me a taste of what it would be like to win there," Edwards said. "That's a race that is at the top of every driver's list. It would be spectacular to win it. It's an extremely important points race, and as we get closer to the Chase, it's crunch time. We need to go there and perform flawlessly."
Elliott Sadler A year ago, Sadler qualified sixth and ran in the top 10 all day as he finished fourth for his second top-five finish in 10 starts at Indy. "It was a crazy race -- there's no doubt about that," said Sadler. "The tire situation was unfortunate for the fans. It was kind of like heat racing -- 10 to 12 laps at a time. We had maybe our best car of the year there last year and really had great pit stops all day long."