Jimmie Johnson powered his way to his fourth career Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 victory. He led 99 laps of the 160-lap race, finished nearly five seconds ahead of runner-up driver Kyle Busch, and completely dominated the last 30 laps.
His teammate Jeff Gordon, who finished fifth, said, "He had it easy, there was no one that could race with him."
Johnson took command with 31-laps remaining and pulled away from the rest of the field.
"To get four wins at this track is awesome," said Johnson. "We put it on them today, but it was a total team effort. The guys in the pits got me out, and I never lost any positions on the track."
Kyle Busch had an up and down race, but near the end he clearly had the second-best car.
"I had to congratulate Jimmie and his team," said Busch. "They really had the car dialed in. We couldn't even get close to them."
Greg Biffle led four laps, but at the end, his No. 16 Ford was no match for Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet, and he was third.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth to take over the points lead.
This is the first time he's led the points since 2004.
"We worked on the car all day," said Earnhardt. "We were fast, but we only had about a fourth or fifth-place car. We've still got a long ways to go in the season, and I feel like we should be able to get some more wins."
Jeff Gordon had a fast car, but he had problems in the pits, and finished fifth.
"Track position cost us," he said. "We had a car that could compete with Jimmie, but we lost track position several times. On that last restart, I had to start on the outside, and that killed me."
Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex, Brad Keselowski, and Tony Stewart were the remaining top-10 finishers.
Carl Edwards, one of the drivers struggling to make the Chase field had engine problems and finished 29th, four laps off the pace.
Previous points leader Matt Kenseth was the victim of a Joey Logano spin during lap 133, and wound up 35th with a DNF.
Top-12 Chase leaders after 20 of 36: 1. Earnhardt-731, 2.
Kenseth-717, 3. Biffle-709, 4. Johnson-704, 5. Hamlin-667, 6.
Harvick-653, 7. Truex-653, 8. Stewart-652, 9. Keselowski-649, 10.
Bowyer-643, 11. Kyle Busch-588, 12. Edwards-582.
KESELOWSKI WINS CONTROVERSIAL NATIONWIDE RACE
Brad Keselowski won Saturday's Nationwide race at Indy, after Elliott Sadler was penalized for jumping a restart.
"NASCAR got it all wrong," Sadler said.
Taking advantage of the NASCAR penalty to Elliott Sadler, Brad Keselowski cruised to victory ahead of Sam Hornish.
Sadler, who got a push into the lead from Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon on a restart late in the race, asserted that race leader Keselowski had spun his tires coming to the green flag, and that is why he crossed the stripe ahead of Keselowski, who was the leader.
"It's so wrong to penalize me for a mistake they made," Sadler radioed to his crew. "NASCAR just took the championship away from me.
They just took the darn championship right out of our hands."
Keselowski beat Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr. to the finish line by 3.3 seconds. Ty Dillon ran third, followed by Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, Michael Annett, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Ricky Stenhouse, and Jeremy Clements.
Top-10 leaders after 19 of 33: 1. Sadler-704, 2. A. Dillon-703, 3.
Stenhouse-691, 4. Hornish-676, 5. Allgaier-629, 6. Annett-607, 7.
Whitt-577, 8. Bliss-525, 9. Scott-460, 10. Patrick-452.
FRANCE TO IMPROVE RACING
NASCAR chairman Brian France doesn't buy the argument that if it isn't broke, don't fix it. France said he is committed to ensuring the Cup series has the best racing possible, even if some believe there's nothing wrong with the current product.
"We can do better. We can have the packages better, tighter racing,"
France told The Associated Press. "That's our stated goal and we have to get there. With the new car coming, we want to get this right. And we know it will be hard to keep it right."
Fans have complained about stretches of racing this season, particularly a two-month swing that saw lots of strung-out, green- flag racing.
NASCAR has made slight aerodynamic changes to the cars twice this season to try to make passing easier, and series leaders want the best possible package on next year's car.
France said if there are improvements that can be implemented now; he won't wait for the 2013 car.
In other news, NASCAR is kicking around the idea of qualifying the
top-38 drivers on time and cutting the number of provisionals down to four plus one for former champions.
With sponsors at a premium right now, it could be catastrophic to eliminate provisionals altogether, particularly when a driver missing a race could result in a sponsor pulling out.
NASCAR is sticking to its policy of not disclosing the specific substances that cause positive drug tests.
President Mike Helton said Thursday that even though the rulebook allows series officials to disclose which drugs a competitor has tested positive for, he does not intend to stray from the long- standing policy of keeping those results private.
Helton cited federal privacy laws as one reason the series has not publicly said what caused A.J. Allmendinger's positive test.
Allmendinger was suspended hours before the July 7 race and is now serving an indefinite suspension. His business manager, Tara Ragan, said he tested positive for an amphetamine.
Allmendinger has said he did not knowingly ingest a banned substance, and has hired an independent laboratory in an attempt to figure out how he tested positive. But Allmendinger is not fighting the suspension and has instead said he will participate in NASCAR's anti-drug program, which includes an evaluation by a substance abuse professional, along with potential counseling and rehabilitation, so he can be reinstated.
Weekend Racing: The Cup and truck teams will be at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway, while the Nationwide series is at the seven-eighths- mile Newton, Iowa track.
Sat., Aug. 4, Camping World Truck Series Pennsylvania Mountains 125, race 11 of 22; Starting time: 12:30 p.m. ET; TV: SPEED.
Sat., Aug. 4, Nationwide Series Iowa Summer 250, race 20 of 33; Starting time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2.
Sun., Aug. 5, Sprint Cup Pennsylvania 400, race 21 of 36; Starting
time: 12 noon; TV: ESPN.
Racing Trivia Question: Which Cup team does Jeff Burton drive for?
Last Week's Question: Note: Last week's question should have read:
Who was the first driver to win three consecutive NASCAR Cup championships? Hint. They came in 1976, '77, '78. Answer. Cale Yarborough.
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