SPEEDWAY, Ind. – It took three red flags and two overtime restarts to decide Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and in the end, Kasey Kahne was in Victory Lane.
Kahne lined up second for the final restart of the race and powered the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS past the leader, and he was leading the field when a caution flag flew just as he passed the overtime line, signaling the end of the race.
“To win at Indy, it’s unbelievable,” Kahne said. “I wish my son Tanner was here.”
It marked Hendrick Motorsports’ 10th NASCAR Cup Series win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It’s so much fun to win with these guys and to win for everyone at Hendrick Motorsports,” No. 5 team crew chief Keith Rodden said. “I’m really proud of everybody.”
Jimmie Johnson was racing three-wide for the lead with less than two laps to go, but spun out and made contact with the wall to force overtime. The damage ended his day and he was scored 27th.
"As I went into Turn 3, I had a shot to win the Brickyard 400 for a fifth time,” Johnson said. “I got really loose going into the corner. So close to a fifth win at the Brickyard."
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS took damage during a restart in Stage 2 that ultimately sent him to the garage, ending his day. He was scored 36th.
"We had a great car, I was having a lot of fun and the car was fast," Earnhardt said. "Kind of frustrating because I was really enjoying being out there. Hopefully our luck's going to turn around. It's been pretty tough and this was a difficult one."
Chase Elliott was scored 39th after engine issues ended his day just prior to the conclusion of Stage 1.
“I don’t know what happened or what broke, but I’ve been running Hendrick Motorsports engines since 2013 and this is the first one I’ve had ever give me a problem, so I will take those odds all day long,” Elliott said. “We are all pushing it pretty hard with engines and tape and temperatures and it’s not cool out here today. A lot of variables obviously that we don’t really know what broke, but we will move on to next week and try to go get ‘em there.”
Below is a closer look at how all four teammates fared Sunday at Indianapolis.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Kahne took the green flag in 19th and picked up three positions in Stage 1. Kahne maintained his top-20 position in Stage 2, finishing the segment back in 19th. Following a caution involving the first- and second-place cars with 50 laps to go, Kahne pushed into the top 15 on the ensuing restart and was running 15th with 30 laps remaining. As competitors began to make green-flag pit stops, Kahne stayed on the track to move up to third with 27 laps to go. He continued to ride in third before heading to pit road with 11 laps remaining, just prior to a multiple-car incident that caused a caution and ultimately a red flag. When pit road opened following the red flag, Kahne stayed on the track, setting himself up to restart as the race leader with seven laps to go. He held the lead on the restart until a caution flag flew a lap later. He stayed on the track to restart in the lead again with two laps to go, and he was battling three-wide for the lead when a caution flag forced overtime with Kahne in the lead. He elected to take the outside lane as the leader for the overtime restart, but a multiple-car incident occurred, forcing a second restart. That time, Kahne lined up second, and he powered into the race lead and held it past the overtime line just before a caution flag waved, signaling the end of the race and securing the win for Kahne.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Starting Sunday’s race 16th, Elliott reported to his team over the radio that he might be experiencing engine issues following an extended red flag period due to inclement weather. During a competition caution, the No. 24 team evaluated the issue and Elliott returned to the track. The engine issues flared up again, however, ending Elliott’s day just before the end of Stage 1. He was scored 39th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Starting at the rear of the field due to a rear gear change, Johnson quickly got to work, finding ninth by the end of Stage 1. A trip to pit road during a caution left Johnson 17th at the end of Stage 2. He got back to work in the final segment, finding the top 15 with 50 laps to go just before a caution that involved both the first- and second-place competitors. When the race went green once again, he pushed ahead to 12th with 30 laps to go. As competitors began to make green-flag pit stops, Johnson stayed on the track to move into the runner-up position with 27 laps to go. He maintained that position without pitting until a caution flag – and ultimately a red flag – flew with 10 laps to go. When pit road opened following the red flag, Johnson headed to pit road and was third in the race off of pit road. That set him up to restart fifth with seven laps to go. He jumped up to third before another caution flag flew a lap later. He stayed on the track to restart third with two laps to go, and was battling three-wide for the lead with smoke trailing from the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS when he spun and made contact with the wall. The damage ended his day and he was scored 27th.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Rolling off the grid 13th, Earnhardt moved to 10th by the end of Stage 1. With 24 laps to go in Stage 2, however, a “chain reaction” during a restart caused damage to the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS. Earnhardt relayed that the damage “knocked the radiator right out” and he headed to the garage, ending his day. He was scored 36th.