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Kyle Busch Wins Brickyard; Owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 24 2016
Kyle Busch capped a huge Indy weekend by winning the Brickyard on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

Kyle Busch capped a huge Indy weekend by winning the Brickyard on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

During Friday’s first Sprint Cup Series practice of the weekend, Kyle Busch gently spun his race car. Only that incident – which was not really his fault – stood between Busch and perfection at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2016.

sprint-logo-08On Sunday, Busch capped his weekend in Indiana with an overtime victory in the Brickyard 400. The victory was his second straight in the event and came a day after he won the pole and race in the Xfinity Series at IMS, and, the pole for the Cup race.

Yes, that’s a Brickyard weekend first. As were his 149 laps led.

“No, I guess I didn’t,” Busch said in Victory Circle after being asked if thought he would have such a dominating performance at the world’s most famous race track. “I hoped it would be like that and be that good.

“This Toyota was awesome today. Man, it was just so fast. Not even some of my teammates could challenge us. We just had it hooked up. Man, this thing was on rails.”

Busch, who had to survive a series of cautions and restarts over the final 10 laps, won by a comfortable 2.1 seconds over Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth.

“Every caution that came out it (caution) was like, ‘Ahh, again always.’ You always seem to get them,” Busch said. “We had such a really good car and I didn’t want to see any yellows. I figured our strength was our long run speed, but we also had short run speed too and could get out on the field there the first couple of laps. It was a great day for us. This was really fun. All those restarts just made it more challenging and we rose to the occasion and we were able to win this thing.”

Kenseth was asked if he ever thought capable of getting past Busch.

“It didn’t seem like it,” Kenseth said. “We never got in front of him all day and the clean air is always really big here. It was a great day for our Dollar General Camry. We did not have a goodFriday, did not have a good Saturday and pretty respectable Sunday, so I have to thank all my teammates for helping us out. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) made some great changes. We were pretty competitive all day, just never got quite to the lead to see what we had.”

Six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports, finished third even though he had to serve a drive-through penalty earlier in the race.

“We’ve been working really hard to get our cars where they need to be,” Johnson said. “We’re still not happy, but we’re getting closer. I’m very proud of the effort today. Unfortunately a mistake on my part in that second segment, trying to get in the pits I got dinged for speeding and then rallied from like 24th back. So, I’m just very proud of this race team and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and I’m very proud to run this red car and represent all the men and women who work in Lowe’s stores all around the country. We got third but I wish we would have gotten a win.”

Gibbs driver Denny Hamlin was fourth and Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing, was fifth.

Busch led the first 26 laps and by gaps of well over 5 seconds. But on Lap 27, Busch, as did many others at the front field, pitted early well before fuel and tires dictated.

Brad Keselowski opted to implement a differing strategy and stay out for his entire fuel run. He led until pitting on Lap 42. Utilizing the same strategy was Team Penske teammate Joey Logano.

Taking back the lead when Keselowski pitted was Busch. JGR teammages Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards sat third and fourth. On Lap 52, Greg Biffle wrecked to bring out a caution.

“We blew a right-front tire and went straight into the fence,” Biffle said. “We were either real loose or real tight, and we just couldn’t get the balance right.  We’ve just got to get them to turn a little better.”

Keselowski pitted but Logano did not as he opted to stay with the strategy of shooting for a three-stop race.

“As hard as it is to pass, limiting time on pit road can put you in the best position,” Logano’s crew chief, Todd Gordon, said of the strategy.

Behind Logano on the Lap 58 restart was Busch. Keselowski was third thanks to just taking two tires.

On Lap 62, Busch blew past Logano and his old tires.

At about the half way point of the 160-lap race, most of those on the lead lap began to pit under green – well ahead of schedule ala Keselowski and Logano earlier in the race. It all affected Logano not at all. When pitting cycled through, Busch had actually increased his lead by over 4 seconds over Edwards.

Busch went basically unchallenged the rest of the way, even through a series of late-race cautions, a red flag, an absurd wreck or two and resulting race-perfection threatening restarts.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Speedway, Indiana

Sunday, July 24, 2016

  1. (1) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 170.
  2. (18) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 170.
  3. (13) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 170.
  4. (4) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 170.
  5. (10) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 170.
  6. (7) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 170.
  7. (14) Joey Logano, Ford, 170.
  8. (8) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 170.
  9. (12) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 170.
  10. (23) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 170.
  11. (3) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 170.
  12. (16) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 170.
  13. (21) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 170.
  14. (22) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 170.
  15. (15) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 170.
  16. (11) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 170.
  17. (5) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 170.
  18. (26) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 170.
  19. (9) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 170.
  20. (33) Landon Cassill, Ford, 169.
  21. (31) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 169.
  22. (24) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 169.
  23. (27) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 168.
  24. (34) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 168.
  25. (29) Aric Almirola, Ford, 168.
  26. (37) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 168.
  27. (32) Brian Scott #, Ford, 168.
  28. (38) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 167.
  29. (35) * Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 167.
  30. (20) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 167.
  31. (6) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, Accident, 166.
  32. (36) * Ryan Ellis(i), Toyota, 166.
  33. (39) * Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 165.
  34. (40) Patrick Carpentier, Ford, 164.
  35. (2) Carl Edwards, Toyota, Accident, 154.
  36. (17) * Ryan Blaney #, Ford, Accident, 152.
  37. (28) David Ragan, Toyota, Accident, 117.
  38. (25) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, Overheating, 71.
  39. (19) Greg Biffle, Ford, Accident, 53.
  40. (30) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, Engine, 4.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  128.94 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 17 Mins, 46 Secs. Margin of Victory:  2.126 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  8 for 34 laps.

Lead Changes:  4 among 3 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   Kyle Busch 1-26; B. Keselowski 27-41; Kyle Busch 42-55; J. Logano 56-61; Kyle Busch 62-170.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 3 times for 149 laps; B. Keselowski 1 time for 15 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 6 laps.

Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick – 671; B. Keselowski – 647; Kurt Busch – 627; J. Logano – 606; Kyle Busch – 601; C. Edwards – 593; M. Truex Jr. – 573; J. Johnson – 552; M. Kenseth – 545; D. Hamlin – 542; C. Elliott # – 525; A. Dillon – 520; R. Newman – 507; J. Mcmurray – 496; K. Larson – 472; K. Kahne – 462.

 

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 24 2016
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