Kevin Harvick wins Brickyard 400 after Denny Hamlin crashes while leading

·6 min read

Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick were once again the cars to beat on Sunday. And Harvick beat Hamlin after Hamlin crashed while leading.

Hamlin seemed set to cruise to his first Brickyard 400 win when his right-front tire failed with fewer than 10 laps to go and he slammed into the wall. Harvick, who was running second, then sprinted away on the race’s final restart to claim the win over Matt Kenseth.

Hamlin’s crash was one of many tire failures over the course of Sunday’s race. Goodyear issued this tweet before the start of the rain-delayed race and, well, it was prescient.

Hamlin’s tire failure happened after his teammate Erik Jones had a hard crash after a flat right-front tire. And Alex Bowman and William Byron both had tire issues during the race as well.

“It’s kind of roulette if you’re going to get one that’s going to stay together or not, and I didn’t and you saw the end result” Hamlin said of his crash.

There were no practices or qualifying sessions ahead of Sunday’s race because of NASCAR’s coronavirus protocols. And that might have helped lead to the tire issues we saw on Sunday as there was no green-flag run longer than 30 laps due to cautions for tire failures.

And let’s be real: tire failures at Indianapolis are unexpected. The Brickyard 400 lost a lot of its luster in 2008 after tire problems forced NASCAR to call planned cautions during the race to prevent cars from hitting the wall. Couple IMS’ history on tires with the increased corner speeds of Cup Series cars with the rules NASCAR instituted in 2019 and the lack of practice time ahead of the race and you have the problems like we saw on Sunday.

Hamlin got the lead ahead of Harvick during the race’s final set of green-flag pit stops because he pitted a lap ahead of Harvick, who was leading at the time. But that ultimately didn’t matter because a caution came out for Bowman’s flat tire on lap 132. That caution put Hamlin and Harvick side-by-side on a restart and while Hamlin came away with the lead after it, Harvick ended up with the win.

Harvick’s 4th win of 2020

Harvick and Hamlin have combined to win half of the season’s 16 races so far.

The duo split the doubleheader at Pocono last weekend and Harvick tied Hamlin at four wins with the Brickyard win on Sunday. And while Harvick is tied with Hamlin for the series lead in wins, he’s kicking everyone’s butt when it comes to the points standings. Harvick can sit out a race whenever he wants before the playoffs and can still retain the points lead. He’s more than 80 points ahead of second-place Chase Ellott.

Green flag passes for the lead = nonexistent

If a driver had the lead he wasn’t going to relinquish it. It’s always been hard to pass the leader at the Brickyard in the Cup Series but it was exceptionally so on Sunday. The only time that the leader got passed was either immediately after a restart or under caution.

Yeah, NASCAR’s current rules do not jive with the Brickyard. And that comes in contrast with the Xfinity Series, which ran the infield road course at IMS for the first time on Saturday. That race, won by Chase Briscoe, had a fantastic finish. The Xfinity Series should never run the oval again.

Allgaier finishes 37th as Johnson’s replacement

Justin Allgaier’s stint as Jimmie Johnson’s coronavirus sub did not get off to a great start.

Allgaier finished 37th when he was caught up in a crash on pit road. The crash collected numerous cars and Ryan Blaney’s rear tire changer. Zach Price was taken to a local hospital after he was hit by Brennan Poole’s car when he was changing the right-side tires on Blaney’s car.

Johnson was supposed to start fourth on Sunday but since he wasn’t in the car, Allgaier had to start at the back of the field. That’s why he was in the crash.

“Starting in the back trying to go forward, [Poole] actually got in the back of me,” Allgaier said. “I didn’t know if I got the gentleman on the No. 12 or not. Once the wreck started happening in front of us and we all got bottled-up there, one car after another were getting run into. It’s just a shame. I hate it for these guys on this Ally No. 48. They’ve done such a great job. They’ve prepared so well for the circumstances.”

Points standings

1. Kevin Harvick, 637 points

2. Chase Elliott, 552

3. Brad Keselowski, 549

4. Ryan Blaney, 534

5. Denny Hamlin, 528

6. Joey Logano, 527

7. Martin Truex Jr., 501

8. Alex Bowman, 471

9. Aric Almirola, 465

10. Kyle Busch, 461

11. Kurt Busch, 457

12. Matt DiBenedetto, 413

13. Clint Bowyer

14. William Byron, 392

15. Jimmie Johnson, 390

16. Austin Dillon, 360

17. Erik Jones, 354

18. Tyler Reddick, 354

19. Bubba Wallace, 318

20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 312

Full results

1. Kevin Harvick

2. Matt Kenseth

3. Aric Almirola

4. Brad Keselowski

5. Cole Custer

6. Kyle Busch

7. Michael McDowell

8. Tyler Reddick

9. Bubba Wallace

10. Joey Logano

11. Chase Elliott

12. Christopher Bell

13. Kurt Busch

14. Ty Dillon

15. John Hunter Nemechek

16. Clint Bowyer

17. Ross Chastain

18. Austin Dillon

19. Matt DiBenedetto

20. Daniel Suarez

21. JJ Yeley

22. BJ McLeod

23. Quin Houff

24. Garrett Smithley

25. Josh Bilicki

26. Joey Gase

27. William Byron

28. Denny Hamlin

29. Timmy Hill

30. Alex Bowman

31. Chris Buescher

32. Ryan Blaney

33. Erik Jones

34. Ryan Newman

35. Brennan Poole

36. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

37. Justin Allgaier

38. Martin Truex Jr.

39. Corey Lajoie

40. Ryan Preece

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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