Jamie McMurray used a two-tire gamble to become only the third driver to win the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same season, joining Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson. The win also gave team owner Chip Ganassi victories in the Daytona 500, the Indy 500, and the Brickyard 400 in the same year.
With about 20 laps to go, McMurray took two tires after a caution for debris. He restarted with the lead, but was passed by Kevin Harvick shortly before the caution came out for a wreck between McMurray’s teammate Juan Montoya, who led the most laps, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. McMurray restarted with 10 laps to go in second, on the outside, and drove by Harvick within one lap. He then drove to victory.
Honestly, when Juan was leading and I was in second [before the debris caution on Lap 137] — I’m a big believer in fate — I thought this was how it was meant to be. I won the Daytona 500, Dario [Franchitti] won the 500, and I thought Juan was going to win this one. I’m just shocked I won the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same year.
Top 5: McMurray, Harvick, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, and Tony Stewart.
Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Kurt Busch finished sixth through 10th, respectively.
Notables: Mark Martin (11th), Matt Kenseth (12th), Kasey Kahne (13th), Denny Hamlin (15th), Jimmie Johnson (22nd), Jeff Gordon (23rd), Dale Earnhardt Jr (27th), and Juan Montoya (32nd).
Hendrick Motorsports did not have a great day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jimmie Johnson led early, but after about lap 30th he began losing the handle of the car and he lost positions. Around lap 70, he spent extended time on pit road, and ended up running around 22nd place.
By lap 84, he was 20 seconds off the lead, and wasn’t making up any ground. On lap 119, the team changed shocks under caution. Chad Knaus was trying to get the crew to hurry to beat the pace car to prevent losing a lap. But, the team did not make it. Johnson was a lap down. He never recovered. He finished 22nd.
Jeff Gordon was having a decent run for most of the day, but late in the race he reported that the oil and water temperatures were high. He faded to 23rd, where he finished.
Dale Earnhardt Jr had to pit early after Kyle Busch and Sam Hornish Jr spun, kicking wet grass onto the track, which was then caught on the splitters of several cars. Many of those cars began overheating and had to pit, including Dale Earnhardt Jr.
He spent most of the race running in the top 20, before he found his way into the top 15 with about 20 laps to go. He, like Juan Montoya and Greg Biffle, elected to take four tires when about six cars took two. Running in dirty air, Montoya’s car was nowhere near as strong as it was in the front.
With about 14 to go, Montoya got loose and hit the wall hard. He slid down the track into Dale Earnhardt Jr, who had nowhere to go. Earnhardt Jr’s crew made repairs, but his day was ruined. Montoya was also done for the day. They finished 27th and 32nd, respectively.