The Brickyard 400 started out like a historic nightmare on repeat, on the verge of a second debacle in three years – only this time, the culprit was going to be poorly manicured grass. But Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing had no such issues, avoiding overheating from the “lawn” as the race settled in while Juan Pablo Montoya turned the race for the lead into a yawner. But when the Colombian faltered, it was teammate Jamie McMurray who assumed the role of white knight, bringing Chip Ganassi the trifecta of United States Auto Racing made up of the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400.
It was another big win for a team that has a habit of showing up for the sport’s biggest races. But does that inconsistency keep him from assuming the number one spot in our rankings this week? Could Jimmie Johnson still eke out in front instead, despite what amounted to a 160-lap experiment for him on Sunday? Or will Kevin Harvick‘s runner-up effort vault him over the top? Read this week’s Power Rankings to see if Indianapolis was a historically significant race for your favorite, or if he left feeling as empty as the stands on Sunday.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP-15 POWER RANKINGS: JULY 28th|
|Rank||Driver (First-Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Kevin Harvick (8)||213||3|
|Another runner-up finish, leading the points by almost 200? Kevin, this Bud’s for… oh wait, we can’t say that until Watkins Glen next weekend. Sorry!|
|2||Jeff Gordon (1)||191||1|
|As Indy attendance and interest declines, so does Gordon’s performance at the Brickyard – just seven laps led the last six years.|
|If you were to tell us that Johnson and Gordon swapped cars with Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. this weekend, we wouldn’t even blink. It would make perfect sense.|
|4||Jeff Burton (1)||181||4|
|Even with a sixth-place finish and a purple car with lightning bolts on it, received hardly any attention at the Brickyard. For shame.|
|5||Tony Stewart (1)||157||7|
|Late-race sideways save proved the difference between a solid top five and bursting that Chase bubble a little early.|
|262 points out of first, but only two points out of third. Completely irrelevant with the Chase seeding format, but highlights again why this playoff doesn’t work.|
|Whoever guessed Richard Childress would have all three cars in the Chase after going 0-for-4 last year… well, let’s just say they’re six weeks away from owning their own island out in the Caribbean.|
|First a bum knee, then a runaway hood, and now… bad grass? This year has been one for the Twilight Zone…|
|Today’s poem is titled: “Inconsistency.” Up, down, all around, won his owner the Triple Crown… but Sunday comes, a new king’s found, and Pocono means giant frown.|
|Nobody was thinking eighth-place finish when the No. 18 was going around in turn 2 on lap number 1.|
|We don’t know which one to be more worried about: Carl going after Brad Keselowski, or this blossoming bromance with… Kyle Busch?!|
|Encapsulated racing at Indy. Took on four tires, passed five cars, then couldn’t get by Harvick who was obviously slower in the closing laps.|
|So desperate to find out where he’s headed for 2011, you can find him leaving five messages a day on Martin’s cell phone. No wonder why Mark’s so pissed off! The guy’s not even asking with the word “please.”|
|Suggested that they make a car cover that looks like the Crown Royal purple bag while he was on Bob and Tom this weekend. That is marketing brilliance.|
|Celebrated his new contract extension by running… 28th. Whoops!|
|Dropped Out: None.|
|Also Receiving Votes: Mark Martin (50), Joey Logano (49), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (36), AJ Allmendinger (36), Juan Pablo Montoya (28), Ryan Newman (23), Martin Truex Jr. (15), Paul Menard (7), Sam Hornish Jr. (7), Brad Keselowski (4), Marcos Ambrose (3), Bill Elliott (2), David Ragan (2).|
|Writer Voting Panel: Phillip Allaway, Brock Beard, Thomas Bowles, Bryan Davis Keith, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff, Vito Pugliese, Mike Ravesi, Kurt Smith and Matt Taliaferro.|
About the author
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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