The first lap of the race forced hearts to beat a little faster and the excitement built up even more when Jeff Gordon crossed the finish line first. It was the race that embodies the prestige of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the driver who won the inaugural race found himself back in Victory Lane 20 years later…on Jeff Gordon Day.
Kevin Harvick may have had the pole position, but Jeff Gordon showed that Indy is still his house when he took the lead on lap seven. He would get shuffled back after a competition caution was called on lap 20. Rain had created a green racetrack and officials made the call for the caution prior to the race.
Joey Logano did not pit and stayed out to lead until lap 33 when he gave up the lead to hit pit road. Kasey Kahne then assumed the race lead and after green flag pit stops Denny Hamlin stayed out front as pit stop sequences played out for strategy. He would finally pit on lap 55 which handed the lead over to the pole sitter Kevin Harvick.
The second caution came out on lap 67 when Danica Patrick’s car started to smoke after her pit stop. It was a broken rear axle for Patrick which would cause a trip to the garage to fix the damage.
Denny Hamlin got a good restart on lap 73 but Kasey Kahne powered by him after he slipped out of line. Hamlin fell to the fourth position while Kahne got clean air with Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.
Trevor Bayne brought out the third caution after a cut rear tire sent him spinning on lap 97. Kahne would resume as the race leader after pit stops.
Kahne would keep the lead until a caution came out on lap 137 for the slow car of Ryan Truex. That would set up the most important restart of the race.
Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon would line up side by side for the restart and Gordon worked on Kahne on the outside lane and went to the point. Kahne couldn’t make his position stick and slipped back to fifth place. In the meantime, Denny Hamlin made a powerhouse move and slipped into the third spot. Kyle Busch moved by Kahne as Kahne’s car got out of sorts and moved into second.
Gordon would take a comfortable lead from the rest of the field and would go on to claim his fifth victory in the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard.
The top ten: Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Austin Dillon.
Kasey Kahne led the most laps with 70 while race winner Jeff Gordon led 40. Sunoco rookie of the year contender Kyle Larson led five laps.
It was announced that some parts did not meet post-race inspection requirements on Denny Hamlin’s car. Those parts will be further analyzed.
The next NASCAR Sprint Cup race will be Sunday, Aug. 3 at 1 p.m. ET for the GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway.