|Jimmie Johnson celebrates with his crew (Courtesy Getty Images)|
On lap 13, Carl Edwards began to lose power, and he had to come in to the pits to see what was wrong under the hood. The team believed that they had maybe lost a cylinder, but they instead tried to reset the car, in hopes that it was a computer problem. When they did that, Edwards thought the car was running a little better. When Edwards came back out on track, he was scored 41st, 2 laps down. After running a few laps, he wasn't sure if they had fixed the problem. The team wanted Edwards to bring the car in so they could put new plug wires on, but Edwards wanted to try and wait until a caution.
While Edwards was having his problems, Jamie McMurray came in for a scheduled pit stop. His team was trying to short pit, in hopes of making it on five stops. Around lap 20, with pit stops for some drivers looming, Jimmie Johnson began to cut into Denny Hamlin's lead.
|Jimmie Johnson leads Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle (Courtesy Getty Images)|
Travis Kvapil hit the wall on lap 40 to bring out the first caution of the day. Kvapil's right front tire blew and he pounded the outside wall. The leaders pitted under the caution, and there was a lot of strategy at play under the caution, with many of the leaders taking two tires and fuel. When Kyle Busch left his pit box, his car lost power when his car sputtered black smoke, which happens when the car gets flooded with fuel. Busch crossed the pit exit line in third, but by the time he got his car up to speed, he was scored 13th.
Brad Keselowski didn't pit, and led Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson to the green flag. Keselowski cleared Hamlin, and Johnson was able to get second. Going through Turn 1, Hamlin got up and out of the groove, and fell back to 15th. At the same time, Johnson was able to get around Keselowski for the lead. The caution came out again on lap 48, when Clint Bowyer got damage on the left-rear and was spun into the grass by Juan Pablo Montoya. Bowyer, who was running 27th at the time, was able to continue.
|Keselowski leads Johnson (Courtesy Getty Images)|
On lap 91, Keselowski gave up the lead to make another pit stop. Keselowski's crew was on a different pit strategy than the rest of the field, and he had to pit about 10 laps sooner than Johnson. The third caution of the day came out when Casey Mears hit the wall on lap 93. The field came in to make pit stops, and Regan Smith beat everyone off pit road by just taking fuel, and picked up 12 spots. Brad Keselowski stayed out and inherited the lead.
Keselowski led Smith and Johnson to the green flag on lap 101. In Turn 2, Smith held Keselowski down on the outside, and the 2 car got extremely loose and dropped back in the pack. Johnson was able to get around Smith for the lead. Johnson was pulling away from Jeff Gordon when Jeff Burton's left front tire went down to bring out the day's fourth caution on lap 124. The field came in for what was to be their final stop of the day. Greg Biffle took two tires and won the race off pit road.
|Mark Martin was back behind the wheel in Indy (Courtesy Getty Images)|
The race restarted on lap 140, and Jimmie Johnson was able to speed away from Greg Biffle on the restart. Biffle and Busch fought side-by-side for second, which allowed Johnson to pull away with the lead. Busch was able to get second place away from Biffle. Johnson was able to continue to pull away from Kyle Busch to win his fourth Brickyard 400.
Kyle Busch was never able to catch Johnson and had to settle for a second place finish. Greg Biffle finished third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth, and became the Sprint Cup Series Points Leader. It is the first time Earnhardt has led the points since September 2004. Jeff Gordon finished fifth, and was followed by Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, and Martin Truex Jr. Brad Keselowski couldn't overcome the bad restart he had, and finished ninth. Tony Stewart rounded out the Top 10. Mark Martin returned to the No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine, and finished 11th. 2011 winner Paul Menard finished 14th. Sam Hornish Jr. finished 16th while filling in for the suspended AJ Allmendinger. Carl Edwards finished 29th, four laps down, following his problems early in the race. Matt Kenseth finished 35th and also lost the points lead.
The 2012 Brickyard 400 is in the books, and it has ended the way three previous Brickyards have ended: with Jimmie Johnson kissing the bricks. Next week, the Sprint Cup Series rolls through the Pocono Mountains for the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. I'll be there for all the action, so make sure you follow me on Twitter - @mmarkaholic55 - for live updates all weekend. If you can't be there, you can see it live on ESPN at 12 p.m. next Sunday.
|Courtesy Sunoco Racing Facebook Page|