After dominating the NASCAR Xfinity race, the Lily Diabetes 250 yesterday, Kyle Busch came back and did the same in the Sprint Cup series race, the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard. He is now the first driver to complete the 'Brickyard' weekend sweep, winning the Coors Light Pole Award and both races. The red No. 18 Skittles Toyota driver ran away from the field, leading a total of 149 laps, a Cup series record at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"It’s so cool because it hasn’t been done before," Busch said in a Toyota Racing post-race transcript. "I’ve tried and been successful at being able to do a lot of things that others haven’t been able to do before. I guess I give myself more chances than others because I run more of those races (Xfinity). It helps you and when it helps you win on Sunday, that’s what makes everything so worthwhile on those Saturday races. I can’t say enough about everyone on that NOS Energy Drink Camry – the guys on Saturday do a good job too helping prepare me and being able to do this stuff on Sunday.”
Although he swept the Xfinity event, Busch was not expecting today's machine to be dominant. "I hoped it would be like that and be that good," he said. "Not even some of my teammates could challenge. This was hooked up and on rails. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and these guys are a phenomenal group and I’m proud to be with them. It’s fun to come out here and have such a dominant piece at Indy. They don’t come along often so I was just hoping I didn’t screw it up.”
Busch now ties Brad Keselowski at the top of the Chase grid with four race wins so far this year. With today's effort, Joe Gibbs Racing is sending notice to the other teams. "I think any of us have a shot to win on any given week," Busch said. "Carl (Edwards) was really strong today and Matt (Kenseth) was strong today, Martin Truex showed his strength today as well. Denny (Hamlin) was there as well. We all have a great communication and comradery and are able to work together well and that’s what makes this team so strong. The guys at the shop have been doing a great job and TRD – the guys at Costa Mesa – they’ve done a phenomenal job with these motors. It’s pretty cool to come out here and have another Brickyard 400 victory – two in a row and to celebrate with all this team and of course a beautiful family, too.”
Busch's teammate Matt Kenseth came home second to earn his 11th top-10 finish in 17 races at IMS and his ninth top-10 finish of the 2016 season. "It was a great day for our Dollar General Camry," Kenseth said, also in the Toyota Racing transcript. "We did not have a good Friday, 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.”
Jimmie Johnson was penalized in the early going for speeding on pit road, but the driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Red Vest Chevrolet rebounded for a third-place run. " I got into the top five and then I got caught speeding on pit road," Johnson explained in a Team Chevy transcript after the race. "I’ve got to look and see exactly what happened. I think I might have been released a little bit early into a segment to speed into my pit box and we got dinged on that."
The No. 48 team still improved after the setback. "We’re still not happy, but we’re getting closer. I’m very proud of the effort today," Johnson said about today's effort. "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."
On the final restart, Johnson was able to gain position. "This Chevy was running good," he said. "Once we got back into that lead pack of cars, we were good to go. It’s just so unfortunate about our speeding penalty. I just put a lot of pressure on the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) there coming off of Turn 4 and was able to get him. And then going up through the gearbox through Turns 1 and 2 I was able to get by the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) and then the No. 22 (Joey Logano) as well. I was just digging hard and we got it done.”
When the race ended after two overtime attempts, fans who came to the 2.5-mile racetrack located at 16th and Georgetown in Speedway, Ind. were treated to a very special victory lap by the No. 14 Mobil 1/Chevy Summer Sell Down Chevroletof Tony Stewart, who finished 11th and the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet with Jeff Gordon, who finished 13th. "It was cool," Stewart said. "I knew when we got the checkered we just didn’t want to come in just yet. I wanted to run one more lap and Jeff was around us and before that last green run I told my spotter to go get his spotter and said after this thing is over, we need to go a lap around here together because most likely is the last time we’ll both get a chance to do that. I couldn’t think of a better guy to share that moment with than Jeff.”
Although he finished outside the top 10, Stewart still had a 'relaxing' final weekend at the track. "This has been the most relaxing Brickyard I’ve ever had and the most fun I’ve had at a Brickyard," he said. "It was fun to win those two races, but it was stressful to do it. For some reason this weekend, Drew Brown and Eddie Jarvis and everybody just made my schedule as open as they could to let me enjoy it and we did. We had a lot of fun this weekend from start to finish."
There were four lead changes among three drivers with Keselowski leading 15 laps and his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano leading six. The race took three hours, 17 minutes and 46 seconds to run. Eight cautions and one red flag were thrown.
Next week is a return to Pocono Raceway for the Pennsylvania 400. Race coverage begins at 1:30 PM ET on NBCSN, MRN and Sirius XM Channel 90.
1. Kyle Busch 2. Matt Kenseth 3. Jimmie Johnson 4. Denny Hamlin 5. Kyle Larson 6. Kevin Harvick 7. Joey Logano 8. Martin Truex Jr. 9. Austin Dillon 10. Paul Menard
Coming off the ranch, I didn’t have a motorsports background but my passion was and still is very strong. My first taste of NASCAR came at the age of seven while waiting for music videos to come on the old TNN network. As I grew up, I pursued other interest but eventually rediscovered cars going left when I found the SPEED channel during the 2011-2012 offseason.
I didn’t decide I wanted to pursue a career in NASCAR until the summer of 2012. I’m not a wrench head or strong enough for a pit crew so media was the next best thing. At the beginning of 2013, I started going to races and making connections within the sport. I also studied Motorsports Management at Sports Management Worldwide. Although I love what happens on the track, I’ve always been interested in what goes on behind the scenes and I’ve gotten to know many people throughout the radio, TV and digital media world.
While I’m a long time writer, 2015 was my first year actually covering the sport with www.nascarfemale.com . I also became a media correspondent for Raceline. I’ve been able to help the TV show gain recognition on social media. My current goal is to acquire more experience in covering NASCAR and move up the media ladder. Outside of motorsports, I have been an equine-sports statistician for 16 years.
I currently reside in Gillette, WY where I’m still involved with horses. I enjoy riding them, rodeo, swimming, traveling and meeting people.