Now that we’ve all had a night to digest an absolutely wild Brickyard 400 let’s break down some of the takeaways from the race. A race that will go down as one of the strangest, longest and most unpredictable races in recent NASCAR history. Only three other races in the last 15 years come to mind in terms of wildness. Nevertheless the race finally finished but not before IMSA could run the entire 6 Hours of The Glen.
Kasey Kahne Gets Redemption
When Jeff Gordon had the “restart of his life” in 2014 to win the Brickyard 400 he beat Kasey Kahne. After that race Kahne was a little annoyed because he felt Gordon controlled the restart when Kahne was the leader.
Three years and a lot of frustration later Kasey Kahne got his redemption. This time he had the restart of his lifetime and pulled out his 18th career win while snapping a 102 race winless streak. Kahne needed this win, his job is in doubt for next season at Hendrick Motorsports. A win may not save his job but it certainly does wonders for his confidence.
People will say Kasey wasn’t the best car on Sunday and they aren’t wrong. However he was the smartest car. As soon as the #18 and #78 went out of the race and changed the whole complexion of the race it became anyone’s race. Kahne worked strategy, he held off Keselowski who had newer tires and he stayed out of trouble. Winning races is about being in position and for the first time since Atlanta 2014 Kahne put himself in position.
Maybe Start Before 3pm
Sunday’s race started at 2:45pm, NASCAR moved up the start just a tad due to the threat of rain. 12 laps into the race it rained and a 1 hour and 47 minute delay ensued. As soon as that ended the race restarted and didn’t end up 8:54pm. The race lasted over 6 hours flag to flag. You could have boarded a flight at JFK, landed in Heathrow and caught the finish of the race. That’s absurd. IMSA can run endurance races in that time.
Start the race at 1, no threat of impending darkness at 7pm when the race would have finished. And it makes it easier for spectators to make it home. The 568 spectators that were there on Sunday. Wonder how the west coast felt about the start time?
Indy Is Still Boring Regardless Of What Happened
NASCAR still has a major issue on their hands. Sunday’s race was an absolute snoozer for the first 112 laps. The final 48 laps were electric only because of the impending fuel strategy that would have put Trevor Bayne in victory lane and then the crashes that occurred after.
The Cup series needs the package the Xfinity series had on Saturday. The leader in Cup gets clean air and checks out by 3 seconds every time. Sunday would have finished with the #78 or #18 in victory lane and the winner ahead by 3-6 seconds. That’s not fun for anyone. Maybe the restrictor plate package will make it more exciting. The one downside to that package could be what we saw Sunday. Massive wreck after massive wreck.
Wildest Race Since 2005
In 2005 the Coca Cola 600 lasted 5.5 hours and featured 22 caution flags. Charlotte Motor Speedway levigated the track for that year and it created a wild race that felt like it would never end which is essentially how every Coke 600 feels like. Sunday was the wildest race since 2005. You could toss in the 2008 Brickyard 400 but even Sunday felt wilder than that.
The thing about Sunday is this race wasn’t that wild until Clint Bowyer wrecked with 9 laps to go. Without that massive wreck this race ends around 7:30ish. There were 5 cautions over the last 10 laps of that race. Two resulted in red flags. Four of those cautions were for wrecks with 3 or more cars. The second to last caution had a 7car pile up on the front stretch. This race was absolutely wild with everyone driving like a maniac, guys getting shots they wouldn’t have had and the impending darkness. Crazy day.
Every Driver Needs A Visor Cam
Kurt Busch sported the visor cam this week and for the first time the cam caught a crash from the drivers perspective and it was brutal. We’ve seen drivers watch crashes but never been on board for the impact, FOX could have had that but their producer really enjoyed the California sky.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 23, 2017
BRUTAL. Watching a crash from the driver’s perspective is a billion times more real than your normal onboard camera. The sheer violence of that hit shows just how crazy you have to be if you’re going to strap into a race car. Shoutout to NASCAR for their safety enhancements.
It wasn’t a great race by any means but it was certainly entertaining. Without the #18/#78 wreck this race gets a 1 on a scale of 10. After that crash this race gets a 10 in terms of enjoyment. You have to embrace the chaos, that’s what the drivers were doing so sit back and watch a ludicrous race. Kasey Kahne winning was great to see, Matt D got an 8th place finish and both JTG cars were in the Top 10. Not every Brickyard 400 is going to be like this but once every 10 years we need this type of race to happen.
Follow us on Twitter @ApexOff