By Jared Turner
5 Lessons Learned at Indy
Kyle Busch Is Virtually Unstoppable
With four wins in the past five races, Kyle Busch is head and shoulders above the competition right now in the Sprint Cup Series. Will he remain there? Maybe not, but considering he had never won at Indianapolis and did on Sunday, it’s a good sign that his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team has found some serious magic under the hood. Or, heck, maybe it’s that the driver nicknamed “Rowdy” is just really enjoying this parenting thing. After all, all four of his wins have come since wife Samantha gave birth to the couple’s first child on May 18. In any case, Busch is on a tear and shows no signs of a letdown anytime soon.
Joey Logano Is On A Serious Roll
Although he hasn’t gone to Victory Lane since the Daytona 500 all the way back in February, Joey Logano has been a man on a mission these past few weeks. Beginning at Pocono on June 7 and continuing through Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, Logano has finished no worse than fifth in six of the past seven races in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford. On Sunday at Indy, he was in contention for the win all day, led 28 laps and gave race winner Kyle Busch literally all he could handle on the final restart. Look out – if Busch slips at all in the coming weeks, Logano will be there to take advantage.
Martin Truex Jr. Is Back In Form
After opening the season with an amazing 14 top-10 finishes in the first 15 races, Martin Truex Jr. came back down to earth in the next four races as he finished no better than 12th and had two finishes outside the top 35. But at Indianapolis, Truex and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team returned to top form with a hard-earned fourth-place finish that came despite Truex losing a lap due to an ill-time caution near the race’s midway point. Restarting deep in the field after receiving a wave-around, Truex used aggressive driving and solid pit strategy to work his way back into contention, and was in the hunt when it counted.
Gordon’s Final Brickyard Was No Fairytale
Well, what can you say about Jeff Gordon’s final Brickyard 400, other than the fact that it didn’t go as well as planned? Starting 19th after admittedly not being aggressive enough in qualifying, the four-time Sprint Cup Series champ’s race effectively ended on Lap 50 when he was caught up in a wreck triggered when Clint Bowyer spun. With significant damage to his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Gordon eventually came to the garage for extended repairs and returned to the race many laps down. He finished 42nd, failing to put an exclamation point on his legacy at the fabled speedway where he holds a NASCAR-record five wins and dreamed of racing as a teenager growing up not far away in Pittsboro, Indiana.
Chevrolets Can Be Beat At The Brickyard
The streak is finally over. For the first time since 2002 when Bill Elliott went to Victory Lane in a Ray Evernham-owned Dodge, a non-Chevy driver is the winner of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch made sure of it on Sunday, delivering Toyota’s first win at the fabled racetrack and at least for the time being ending the dominance that Chevrolet has enjoyed at the fabled 2.5-mile speedway since NASCAR first ventured here in 1994. Chevy drivers have still won all but six of the Sprint Cup Series races held at Indianapolis, however, so don’t think that the Bowtie Brigade’s reign is completely over. It’s more likely just on temporary leave.