Kyle Busch finished several seconds behind Gordon, and led a 2-3-4 finish for Joe Gibbs Racing with Denny Hamlin finishing 3rd and Matt Kenseth finishing 4th. More on JGR later.
While I am a fan of Gordon and am pleased he won the race and moved up The Chase Grid, I still remain less than a fanatic about racing at the century old Indianapolis track. There was some passing-there always is, but the only car to pass for the lead under green flag conditions was Gordon. Pit strategy, track position, clean air-I hate those phrases, and that is what Indianapolis is all about.
As strong as Gordon’s car was-and it was the best car yesterday-if the late lap caution had not occurred, it might have been Kasey Kahne’s first win of 2014. If Kahne had been able to hold off Gordon on the lap 183 restart, he might have won. Gordon had pulled up to his rear bumper for several laps but had not been able to get around him.
The fact that the race is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway seems to grip the media more than it does fans. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, huge advertising banners would cover up some empty seats-a lot of empty seats in fact, but not even well placed TV cameras could hide the fact that there were more empty seats than seats with fans.
Without passing fans stay away in droves. It is far from a must see event.
I did check to see what ticket prices for the 2015 race would be, but the track website conveniently does not list prices and I did not care to apply for tickets. To make my math easy, say tickets cost between $50-$100, or an average of $75 each. With 100,000+ empty seats, that is between $7,500,000 and $11,250,000 in lost ticket revenue for the race. Ouch. Factor in concessions and souvenir sales and that is a serious amount of green.
Unfortunately for stock car fans, the track has 100 years of history, and tradition trumps ticket sales. . Changes to the facility are unlikely to happen anytime soon-changes like widening the apron to allow more passing, or adding lights to the facility to move the race to a time when temperatures are cooler, millions in lost revenue-be damned.
Finishing 2-3-4 in a NASCAR crown jewel event should have been the biggest story coming out of Joe Gibbs Racing, but two other stories were just as intriguing. First, Roush Fenway Racing revealed that Carl Edwards will not be a part of their team in 2015. Speculation has been that Edwards will become the fourth driver for JGR. Obviously JGR is doing a better job with the new cars this season-Roush has had mediocre finishes in most races and the Brickyard 400 was no exception, with RFR drivers coming home 13th, 15th, and 24th. Perhaps a move by Edwards was inevitable, but at Roush he was the star. With Kyle Busch, Kenseth, and Hamlin I don’t see him being the big star at JGR.
The other JGR story is that apparently bumping on the track isn’t enough for some stock car teams. A plane chartered by JGR ran into a parked plane chartered by Stewart-Haas Racing late Sunday at Concord Regional Airport near Charlotte. No one was hurt, though it appeared both planes were damaged. I have heard that there is a race after the race-drivers trying to get to the airport as soon as possible to get a favorable take off spot, but this is a first.
I like ESPN NASCAR coverage far more than that of TNT-or FOX for that matter. I think Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett, and Andy Petree do a good job in the booth. They make TNT’s announcing triumvirate look like the 3 Stooges. Unfortunately, even they cannot make races like the Brickyard 400 or next week’s GoBowling.com 400 from Pocono seem exciting.
There are just 6 races remaining until the start of NASCAR’s play-offs, The Chase. As of today, Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers, and Tony Stewart are on the outside looking in, as they trail Austin Dillon by anywhere from 4 to 30 points. Right now five of the drivers who would be “in” have not won a race, so wins in August will be huge.
GoBowling.com 400? Wow. Thanks for stopping by.