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July 29, 2012 | By
INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, July 29, 2012 – Make room for Jimmie Johnson among the legends of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Johnson won the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com on Sunday, July 29, joining Jeff Gordon as the only four-time winners of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at IMS.
Five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson also won in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He joins Gordon and Indianapolis 500 legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time winners of an oval race at IMS. Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix five times on the IMS road course.
“Man, you just hope to race here,” Johnson said. “To come here and win is a huge honor. And to win four – four wins! I’m at a loss for words. It was a total team effort. We put it on them today. It was nice.”
Johnson drove his No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet to a 4.758-second victory over the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota of Kyle Busch. He earned $430,461. Hendrick Motorsports earned its eighth Brickyard victory, extending its event record.
Greg Biffle finished third in the No. 16 3M Ford.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished a Brickyard career best fourth in the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, taking the Sprint Cup points lead. Gordon was fifth in the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, his 11th top-five finish in 19 starts at this event.
Johnson led 99 of 160 laps in a dominant performance. He took the lead for good by passing Biffle on Lap 132. Johnson’s crew won the race in the pits on the final stop of the race, under caution on Lap 134. Johnson then did his part by holding off Biffle on the final restart of the race, on Lap 141, and he pulled away over the final laps on the 2.5-mile oval.
Pole sitter Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski were Johnson’s toughest challengers over the first 100 laps.
Hamlin led the first 26 laps in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota and one lap thereafter but finished sixth. Keselowski led three times for 22 laps in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge but faded to ninth.
Indiana natives and Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart both finished in the top 10. Newman, from South Bend, placed seventh in the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet. Stewart, from Columbus, finished 10th in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet.
2011 “400” winner Paul Menard finished 14th in the No. 29 Menards/Nibco Chevrolet.
The next event at IMS is the Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP World Championship motorcycle race Aug. 17-19.
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