Jeff Gordon wins the 2014 Brickyard 400

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jeff Gordon in 2012
Image: jez s.

On Sunday, Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports recorded his 90th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in the 2014 Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Starting the race in second, Gordon won his second race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and his fifth at the track, breaking a tie with teammate Jimmie Johnson for the most event wins, while tying Formula One driver Michael Schumacher for the most wins at the track. The win marked his first 400 win since 2004, and was on the twenty-year anniversary of his 1994 Brickyard 400 win; Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard declared the day "Jeff Gordon Day". Additionally, the win was the twelfth consecutive Brickyard 400 victory for Chevrolet, and the ninth for Hendrick Motorsports.

The race began at 1:19 PM EDT (1719 UTC), with Kevin Harvick holding pole position, his series-high fourth of the season. Harvick's lead would end after just one lap, yielding to Gordon, who led the following 20 laps. Joey Logano would lead for the next ten laps, with the lead later being split by Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, and Clint Bowyer. After claiming the lead from Bowyer, Kahne would lead for 25 consecutive laps; he would end the race leading the most laps with 70.

The first caution flag was flown as an arranged competition caution on lap 22, allowing Cole Whitt to become the beneficiary, nicknamed the "lucky dog", and gain back a lap. On lap 69, the second caution, for Danica Patrick stopping in turn 1, allowing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to become the beneficiary; Trevor Bayne's crash in turn 3 on lap 98 led to Brad Keselowski gaining a lap. The final caution occurred on lap 140 due to Ryan Truex being too slow in turn 2, with Michael McDowell being the "lucky dog".

On the final restart with 17 laps remaining, and Gordon, who struggled with restarts for seasons, passed teammate Kahne and led for the remainder of the race. Kyle Busch finished second, 2.325 seconds behind Gordon, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, with the top five being rounded out by Logano. Kahne dropped to fifth on the restart, and ran out of fuel on the last lap, finishing sixth, with the top ten closed out by Larson, Harvick, Earnhardt, Jr., and Dillon.

After the race, Hamlin had firewall plates, which protect the driver from smoke and fire, but can assist a car's aerodynamic performace if airflow is permitted, confiscated by NASCAR.

The drivers' points standings after the race featured Gordon in the lead with 717 points. Earnhardt, Jr. with 693; Keselowski, 666; Kenseth, 661; Johnson, 628; Kyle Busch, 609; Ryan Newman, 606; Carl Edwards, 603; Logano, 591; and Bowyer, 577, closed out the top ten. With the new Chase for the Sprint Cup format introduced for the 2014 season, Gordon, Edwards, Johnson, and Logano clinched spots in the Chase Grid, which Keselowski leads, with Johnson, Gordon, Earnhardt, Jr., Edwards, Logano, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Kenseth, Newman, Bowyer, Larson, and Dillon comprising the remainder of the current leaders for the sixteen-driver Grid.

The race was officially named the Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 Powered by Walding, who served in Iraq as a member of the Green Berets, had his lower leg amputated after being shot. His name was chosen for the race as part of Crown Royal's "Your Hero Name Here" program.

The next race, the 400, is to be held on August 3 at Pocono Raceway, and will air on ESPN at 1:00 PM EDT.

Official Top-10 Race Results for the 2014 Brickyard 400
Position Car Number Team Driver
1 24 Hendrick Motorsports Jeff Gordon
2 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Kyle Busch
3 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Denny Hamlin
4 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Matt Kenseth
5 22 Team Penske Joey Logano
6 5 Hendrick Motorsports Kasey Kahne
7 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Kyle Larson
8 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Kevin Harvick
9 88 Hendrick Motorsports Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
10 3 Richard Childress Racing Austin Dillon