Event: Brickyard 400 (Round 20 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish: 2nd/6th (Running, completed 167 of 167 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd (683 points, 97 points out of first)
Race Winner: Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet) in overtime
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
● Kevin Harvick started second, finished fourth. Earned seven bonus points.
● Endured a one-hour and 47-minute red-flag condition for rain after only 12 laps.
● Restarted third on lap 18 but dropped to fifth after a lap.
● On competition caution at lap 30, Harvick came to pit road for four tires, fuel and tire pressure adjustments.
● Restarted seventh on lap 35 but climbed back to fifth by the next lap.
● Came to pit road for four tires and fuel following the conclusion of Stage 1. Gained one spot on pit road.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
● Started third, finished fifth. Earned six bonus points.
● Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion was much looser than in previous stage due to increased track temperatures.
● Caution on lap 70 sent many to pit road, but not all. Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a left-rear wedge adjustment.
● Restarted 13th on lap 76 after eight cars stayed out in an effort to gain track position.
● Climbed all the way to fifth by the end of Stage 2.
● Came to pit road for four tires, fuel and another, more significant, left-rear wedge adjustment at the end of the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):
● Started fifth, finished sixth.
● Claimed fourth place on the restart and held that spot through the caution on lap 106.
● Accident between leaders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. during the lap-111 restart allowed Harvick to rise to second.
● Held the second position from lap 120 until coming to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 132 for four tires and fuel.
● Several cars were opting for a fuel mileage strategy in hopes of making it to the end, causing Harvick to drop out of the top-15.
● A multicar wreck on lap 149 brought out a red flag and allowed Harvick to advance from 13th to eighth for the lap-153 restart.
● Avoided a flurry of late-race accidents and emerged with a sixth-place finish in overtime.
● Harvick scored his 13th top-10 finish of 2017 and his 10th top-10 finish in 17 career Cup Series starts at Indianapolis.
● Harvick finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and fifth in Stage 2 to earn an additional six bonus points.
● There were 14 caution periods for a total of 55 laps.
● The race featured 10 lead changes among seven drivers.
● Only 16 of the 40 drivers in the Brickyard 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Kasey Kahne won the Brickyard 400 to score his 18th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Indianapolis. Brad Keselowski finished second as the race ended under caution.
● Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship point standings with 780 points and has a 48-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Larson.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was different, for sure. We knew before the day started that, with the stage racing, everything that was gonna go on, if it didn’t go green and you had a caution come out in the middle of that cycle at the end you were gonna have a situation like that where you had guys staying out and guys doing different things. There at the end we were in the lead cycle, and then you had all those guys that stayed out, and the next thing you knew we were seventh or eighth and we were in the middle of a hornet’s nest back there. There’s nothing you can do about that. They did a great job with our Jimmy John’s Ford all weekend. We just wound up on the wrong cycle there by no doing of our own. We had a decent car, but it didn’t matter in the end.”
What was it like at the end? “We were on the lead strategy, and unfortunately the strategy that wound up taking over was the strategy that was halfway through the middle of the pack. And then when the caution comes out, you know it’s gonna happen when everything gets mixed up, and then we were just stuck in a hornet’s nest and wound up getting beat up a little bit.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!