It was a mixed day for my 2 favorite drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Gordon has more wins at this historic track than any other driver with 4 victories including the inaugural race while Johnson captured both the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 last season en route to his 1st Nextel Cup Championship. Funny thing but we'll be calling this series the "Sprint Cup" next season. I had just gotten really used to calling it the Nextel Cup and they're changing it already. lol. What will I do with my Nextel Cup polo that I just bought this year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Not to mention my "Winston Cup" polo which hasn't left the closet since they switched title sponsorship. Gordon started 21st and quickly moved through the field and was constantly in the top 10 for pretty much the whole day. He had an awesome race car today! Late in the race I was kind of hoping for a caution so that Montoya and Gordon could have a chance at passing Stewart. 😛 Gordon finished great in the 3rd spot so that made me happy! However Johnson who was running strong early in the race got caught up in an eight car wreck on lap 45 leaving his left front with heavy damage. While they did their best to fix the damage and get him back onto the track while losing just 1 lap the repairs didn't hold up as he developed a bad tire rub on his left front panel. And on lap 60 Johnson's tire blew out as he was just heading into the turn sending him hard into the outer wall. Thank goodness for the softer barriers but the hard impact did start a fire which got into the cockpit of his car. It was a scary moment as he was trying to get to the inside of the track while cars were speeding by him on the outsides while his car continued to burn with heavy flames. Johnson got out quickly and I'm so happy to see that he is okay! His eyebrows did get a little singed though. Johnson took a hit in the points and is now in 9th place and is 607 points behind his team mate and points leader Jeff Gordon. The hard racing between Stewart and Harvick towards the end of the race with about 14 to go was intense and great to watch as they battled back and forth for the lead. They're great friends but when a Brickyard 400 trophy is on the line I think that pretty much goes out the window. With just 5 laps left Jeff Gordon was timed as the fastest car on the track and…where's that caution that I was hoping for?! 😛 It was yet another awesome race at this incredible facility. This place is absolutely gigantic! This 2.5 mile long track which is basically flat with very minimal banking (9 degrees) in the turns and 0 banking on the straightaways creates such incredible speeds going into the turns! It's always a thrill to watch and since the Cup Series only comes here once a year it's an event to really look forward to. 250,000 fans pack this place every year for the Cup Series and it's not hard to see why. Congratulations to Tony Stewart on winning his 2nd Brickyard 400!! Tony is so feisty though and I wish he had held back a bit during the post race interview as he slipped out a swear word on national television. :O
This race also marked the return of ESPN to broadcasting NASCAR's top series. With their great resources they really impressed me with today's presentation of the race. Great camera work, entertaining and informative commentary by a great staff including Dr. Jerry Punch and former Cup Series Champion Rusty Wallace, and one of the most innovative new features that I've ever seen come to the sport in recent years. "Draft tracks" enables the viewer to actually see the air and its effects on the cars. Pretty cool stuff! Now we can all see what the late Dale Sr. was able to see all those years! ESPN really did a great job! I also enjoy the FOX broadcasts as I enjoy the commentary by Darrell Waltrip a lot! He has such great passion and understanding of the sport that he really is a joy to watch and listen to. "Boogity Boogity Boogity! Next week the series is off to Pocono Raceway! Can anyone stop that FedEx driver?!! Maybe we'll see Tony up there again or better yet Gordon & Johnson!