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Last Updated Monday, Aug 2, 2010 1:42 am, EDT

Race Capsule

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 20 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, IN

  • When:

    July 25, 2010 1:19 pm EDT

  • Laps:


  • Track Length:

    2.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    400.00 miles

  • Purse:


Drivers to Watch

Juan Pablo Montoya Montoya dominated the Indy race a year ago as he led 116 of the 160 laps and seemed en route to his first oval-track victory in NASCAR before getting caught for speeding on pit road. He ended up 11th. Montoya finished second in his first Cup start at the track. "There are huge expectations heading into this weekend," Montoya said. "We were fast at the tire test, and after last year's performance people are expecting big things."
Jimmie Johnson Johnson has three wins in his last four Brickyard starts, including victories the last two years. The one year he didn't win in that streak, he finished 39th in 2007. But those wins are his only top-five finishes and are three of his four top-10s in eight Indy starts. "I have a lot of memories watching the (Indianapolis) 500 with my grandfather and my dad," Johnson said. "And then even watching the (Brickyard) 400 -- watching Earnhardt fight so hard to be the first car on track for that test session, Jeff (Gordon) winning the inaugural race. It's definitely a race that I'm excited to go to. And the history of the track means a lot to me, and the fact that I've won three there means a lot to me as well. It would be a huge honor to join the list of four-time winners; just to win there once is a career-maker for anyone. So to have three victories there means a lot to me, and when I went to do the winners-circle appearance a month or so ago, I was there with Rick Mears, and to see him as a four-time winner and to talk about his experiences at the track and what it's done for his life and career was neat and helped me open my eyes to his world and the open-wheel world there. So I'm pumped and excited."
Mark Martin Martin won the pole and finished second to teammate Jimmie Johnson a year ago at Indy. It was his second runner-up finish at IMS and his 10th top-10 finish in 16 starts at the track. "I don't usually say that I want to win one race over another, but Indy is different," said Martin. "Well, Indy and the Daytona 500. Of course those two stand apart from the rest."
Jamie McMurray McMurray has three top-10 finishes in seven starts at Indy, including a third in his first race at the track in 2003. "Indy is just special -- it would be really special for me to do well there -- but to win would be really neat as Chip (Ganassi, car owner) would become the first owner in history to win both the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400 (in the same season)," said McMurray, the Daytona 500 winner.
Ryan Newman Newman has only one top-10 finish in nine starts at Indy. Newman knows "we have to be better every weekend than we have been (to secure a spot in the Chase for the Championship). We are in a position (99 points out of the top 12) we definitely did not want to be in at this point in the season. We haven't put together a string of top-fives and top-10s like we did last season, and that's something we need to do right now to get into that top-12."
Clint Bowyer Bowyer has only one top-five finish, a fourth, in four starts at Indy. "Indy definitely hasn't been kind to us since 2006," said Bowyer. "We've struggled a little bit to have as good of a car as we did when we finished fourth there. We started on the outside pole and finished fourth. For it being our first race there, it was pretty incredible. But our cars have been running well this year."
Greg Biffle Biffle will be seeking his third straight top-10 finish at Indy. He was fourth a year ago. "Needless to say, our last couple of races have been disappointing, and we really can't afford any more bad races before the Chase," said Biffle. "We are looking forward to this weekend though as an opportunity to get some points back."
Jeff Gordon Gordon, who won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994 and also won the race in 1998, 2001 and 2004, has nine top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 16 starts at Indy. He has eight top-10 finishes in his last nine starts and 11 top-10s in the last 13, including ninth last year, fifth in 2008 and third in 2007. "When I first heard about it (NASCAR racing at the Brickyard), I thought it was too good to be true and that there was no way that it was ever going to happen because that was just like a dream for me," Gordon said. "I thought when I chose to go NASCAR racing, or got chosen, that there was no way that I was ever going to race at Indy, and I kind of hated that that dream that I've had since I was a young kid was going to go away. That was the best news I've ever heard. I certainly was excited about it and never thought we'd go there and win it, and then when we did, I honestly still look back on it and it felt like somebody needed to pinch me, wake me up, because it wasn't real."
Kevin Harvick Harvick started on the pole and led 33 laps to win the Brickyard 400 in 2003. That is his only win there; in nine starts he has three top-five finishes and six top-10s. He finished sixth in this race last year after finishing 37th in 2008 and has three top-10 finishes in his last four Indianapolis starts. "Indy has a lot of tradition," Harvick said. "It's one of those places where everybody wants to win. It's the second place that you check off in the year that you want to try to win the race next to Daytona. We've been fortunate to win there and know what that feels like. And (after) growing up as a fan of IndyCars and really wanting to race open-wheel cars ... to be able to win there and just to compete there is pretty cool. Track position is pretty key there. Obviously, you need to have a fast car, and usually Indy is the place where everybody brings out all their new stuff to try to take that next step on performance, and hopefully we do that. I know we have a plan to do that and I think we will. You car has got to turn, but you've got to be able to lay the throttle down and still maintain grip up off the corner."
Brad Keselowski Keselowski will be making his first Sprint Cup start at Indianapolis. "You can't go to the Brickyard without thinking about what the track means not only to NASCAR but to auto racing in general," said Keselowski. "Being from the Midwestern section (Rochester Hills, Mich.) of the country myself, I always looked to the spectacle of the Indianapolis 500 and wondered what it would be like to compete there."
Martin Truex Jr. Truex is still looking for his first top-10 finish at Indy. In five starts at the track, his best finish is 12th. "Obviously we're coming off a big weekend (for Michael Waltrip Racing) with David (Reutimann) winning, and we had a great night (finishing 11th), so things are going well at MWR," said Truex. "I can't wait to get back to the track. I'm really looking forward to this weekend."
Matt Kenseth Kenseth has no wins, four top-five finishes and six top-10s in 10 Indy starts, including four top-10s in the last five races. He was 10th last year and 38th in 2008. "Indy ranks right up there as one of the races you'd like to win during your career," Kenseth said. "We were fortunate enough to win the Daytona 500 last year, and when you look at races that people want to have wins in it's the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. We've been close to a win a few times over the years, and we've been really competitive. We also have had some problems there a couple of times, but we've always run pretty good. I always feel like we have a shot to win when we go there, and it's certainly one we'd like to pull off this weekend. We've had some tough outings lately, but I can't think of a better place to go get our season back on track than Indianapolis."
Kurt Busch Busch has only one top-five finish (fifth in 2001) and three top-10s in nine starts at Indy. He was 27th last year and 40th in 2008 and hasn't finished in the top 10 at the Brickyard since he was 10th in 2004. "Ever since they diamond cut the track, whatever they've done to the asphalt surface, I've struggled horribly there," Busch said. "Add the Car of Tomorrow and that's twice as many struggles. Indy has definitely been a tough place for me. The first time I raced there, I got a fifth-place finish and didn't even know what I was doing. Sometimes ignorance is bliss."
Tony Stewart Stewart is a two-time Brickyard winner (2005 and 2007) and has five top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 11 starts. He was third last year, 23rd in 2008 and has five top-10 finishes in his last six starts at Indy. When Stewart was an up-and-coming USAC driver in the early 1990s, he remembered his first reaction to NASCAR was considering a race at the home of the Indianapolis 500. "I'll be honest, when I first heard about the test that was going to happen there, I was against it," Stewart said. "I've always said that. But on that day, I was a guy that had grown up in Indiana. I remember the month of May literally being the full month of May at Indianapolis, and I was against it. But after seeing the test session there and after the first race there, it was like, wow, this really does work and it really does belong there. I was against it because I thought that the Indy 500 was the only thing that deserved to be at the Brickyard. But as time has gone and obviously what we have seen with the success of the Brickyard 400, Formula One came in -- I thought it was a great idea. You realize that you have got this great facility, and to be able to bring the major forms of racing into one facility like that was a pretty cool deal."
AJ Allmendinger Allmendinger has one top-10 finish in his two starts at Indy. "I never got to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a Champ car, so it has always meant a lot to me to be able to race there in NASCAR," said Allmendinger. "Indy really means a lot to me. A lot of my racing heroes growing up raced there, and just knowing that I've had enough success in my career to be able to race at a track as historic as Indy is unbelievable."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt has only two top-10 finishes in 10 starts at Indy. "When somebody asks me what it would feel like to win there, I think about the open-wheel history of the track, and I think about drivers like (Mario) Andretti and (A.J.) Foyt and the guys even before them," said Earnhardt. "I think about the history of the track and how it's survived the war and closed down and opened back up and everything it's been through."
Denny Hamlin Hamlin has no wins, one top-five finish (third in 2008) and two top-10s in four starts at Indianapolis. He was 34th last year -- his worst finish at this track. "There is so much history here, and I think every driver wants to win here and be a part of that history," Hamlin said. "I had the chance to visit the museum here a few years ago, and to see all of the race-winning cars and the people who made racing here what it is today was really cool. This track has seen it all. Indy is a lot like Daytona because winning means so much at those places that it almost lives outside of the schedule and points and thinking about the Chase. I know how I felt winning at Richmond, and I know from talking to Tony (Stewart) and Mike (Ford) what Indy means to them. This is definitely one I want to win for this team. 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. 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 go your way. If we take the issues that have hurt us here -- we had motor trouble, a speeding penalty and then more mechanical problems last season -- if you take those issues away there is no reason we can't run up front."
Carl Edwards Edwards has no wins, one top-five (second in 2008) and two top-10 finishes in five starts at Indianapolis. He was 15th last year. "After a second-place finish at Chicago, I feel really good about our chances at Indy," Edwards said. "The new FR9 engine will be huge there, and the guys have worked on that a lot. We've run second there before, and I can only imagine what it would feel like to win there. For us, we're going there to go for the win, and at the very least we hope to build a bigger cushion on 13th in the points (he's 74 points ahead). Right now we've got some good momentum that we'd like to continue."
Kyle Busch Busch has no wins, one top-five finish (fourth in 2007) and three top-10s in five starts at Indy. He was 38th last year and 15th in 2008. "It's a very difficult track to master," Busch said. "I'm not even sure that I've done it. Just racing the races I've run there, I've finished well a couple of times. I think I've had a seventh and a 10th and a fourth. To me, it has been one of those race tracks that is very unforgiving. It's narrow, tight. Not a lot of passing goes on there. It's tough to get your car set up perfectly there, so you have to do what you can to make it the best you can. All four corners being so different, remembering exactly how to drive all four of them and just trying to be able to be able to qualify up front and to race up front is so important there. It's very tight down the straightaways. You roll through (turn) one and (turn) two, and there are people on the inside, there are people on the outside, there are people in the grass, just sitting along the back straightaway on the inside. You've got the golf course there and fans sitting on the hills underneath the trees. You start back up into turn three, with the grandstands going around (turn) three and (turn) four, and then down the frontstretch and, again, there are two tunnels. There's a tunnel at the (turns) one and two side and on the (turns) three and four side. There's a center road that runs all the way through, and then coming down the frontstretch again, looking on both sides of you, you've got the pit road, which is really narrow and really tight, and the grandstands on the inside and the outside, so you're going down a 'V' of just people -- a sea of people. Coming to the Pagoda and the media center, the way it is, and of course the scoring pylon being as tall as it is, you come down there and, if you're leading the race, sometimes you can't see that high, so you're kind of wondering who is second and third or who is behind you. It stinks when you're running in the back because you can see yourself right there."
Kasey Kahne Kahne has finished seventh in the last two races at Indy to give him four top-10 finishes in six starts at the track, including a second in the 2005 event. "We've come close at Indy," said Kahne. "It's definitely one of the races I look forward to each year. It's a neat track. To me it's just tough because all four corners are different, so you have to get your car to handle in each of them and get down the straightaways."
Paul Menard Menard has not finished better than 20th in his three starts at IMS. "I never take for granted the fact that I'm racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said Menard. "I grew up racing in Indiana and the Indianapolis area. This is definitely the one race on the schedule that I keep my eye on, and it's definitely one of my favorite venues."
David Ragan Ragan is still looking for his first top-10 finish at Indy. His best finish in three starts at the track is 14th. "Indy is a track with a lot of history, so it's always a special place to race and definitely a highlight of the season," said Ragan. "Only going there once a year really makes you get worked up and excited to race there."
David Reutimann Reutimann finished eighth at Indy a year ago for his first top-10 finish in three starts at the track. Reutimann is still flying high after his impressive victory at Chicagoland Speedway. "I've always had confidence in this team, knew if we get things going in the right direction we could win races, regardless of whether everybody else thought we could," said Reutimann. "With that being said, it does help my confidence. Every win helps (your) confidence."
Joey Logano After having to start at the back of the field after an engine change, Logano raced his way to a 12th-place finish in his Indy debut a year ago. "Indy is a tough place to pass -- that I remember well," said Logano. "I finished 12th but did all my passing on the restarts and luckily had a good enough car to do that. I am sure qualifying is going to be really important again."