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Jimmy Johnson: Another 4-Time Winner at IMS Brickyard 400
July 30th 2012 - by Paul Gohde - July 29, 2012 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Speedway, Indiana (Video Recap)

Jimmie Johnson became the second four-time winner of the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, as he scored a dominating win over Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and a field of stunned rivals.
Johnson, who first won the event in 2006, and again in 2008 and 2009, tied teammate Jeff Gordon’s four-win total today as he also scored his 58thseries victory.

Johnson’s Lowe’s/ Kobalt Tools Chevrolet was strong throughout the race, leading five times for 99 laps-in every segment of the race-as he sped to a 4.758 sec victory over Busch.

“I had a 6:00am wake-up call this morning when the cannon went off to open the track. It was loud,” said the winner, who also gave the field a ‘wake-up call’ with his dominating performance. “I thought the 24 and 2 (Gordon and Brad Keselowski) had the same pace as us but I was able to open up a good margin on the restarts.”

Biffle and Busch were often victims of those restarts and each paid tribute to Johnson’s dominance.

“If it wasn’t for the 48, we were probably in our own zip code on the rest of the field, but Jimmie Johnson was in his own country today, so we just couldn’t keep up with him.” Busch gushed.

Biffle agreed with that evaluation: “It didn’t really matter if you were in front of him or not, he was going to pass you in about four or five laps anyway. Sometimes it’s not an advantage to be in front of him, to be honest. It puts you in a position for more guys to be battling with you than one.”

Gordon, who brought Johnson to the Hendrick team as a Sprint Cup rookie, was frustrated with finishing fifth as consistency isn’t what he needs to make the Chase field.

“We started in the outside lane on both of those last two restarts and that did not do us any favors. You really need to be on the inside,” Gordon said. “My car was really tight, especially on the outside lane, and a little bit in traffic, but it was fast. We proved it all day long by being really fast. But with 20 laps to go, you lose spots like that; it’s going to be hard to make it up. But we got fifth so that’s really solid.”
Another driver who needs a win to get closer to making the chase is Carl Edwards who pitted his Fastenal Ford twice early-on and couldn’t recover. “We know it’s some issue. We think it’s with the ECU. We changed that along with the spark plugs, and the engine started running better, said the Edwards, who finished second to Tony Stewart in the 2011 Chase. “I don’t think we’re points racing any more. I think we are officially racing only for wins. We do not quit. We keep going. We put our best effort forth, and if it’s (making the Chase) meant to be, then it’s meant to be.”

And as Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and team owner Rick Hendrick  basked in the glow of their dominating win, it was time for JJ and Knaus to reflect on the day’s accomplishments.

“Wow, man that victory lap around the track is something special,” said the five-time Sprint Cup Champion “To come here and win is a huge honor. Then to have four wins-I’m at a loss for words. Chad Knaus gave me one heck of a race car today and pit road was awesome, too.”

“The guys at Hendrick Motorsports really took a lot of effort and time and paid attention to details in this race car, Knaus said. “And as we know in this industry, details are what makes the difference. Everybody at HM and especially the 48-88 shop really honed in on the two cars that we brought here.”

The race was shaping up to be a fuel mileage run, but an extended caution period from laps 132-140, after an incident in the south chute involving Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano and Bobby Labonte, gave the field the extra fuel they needed to race to the end.

“When the caution came out before our (fuel) window, but it was only 2-3 laps before our window, everybody was going to pit, and then try to go the rest of the way, Busch explained. “That really long caution gave everybody the fuel that they needed to in order to go the rest of the way.”

But whether it was a fuel mileage race or an all-out sprint, no one was going to catch the “Johnson Rocket’ this day.

He took leads on laps 29, 46, 90,101 and 132, showing his total domination of the entire event.
And team owner Rick Hendrick perhaps said it best about his winning team: “These two are phenomenal. I’m glad I don’t have to race against them.”

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