Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Johnson wins but NASCAR appears tired

Matt Kenseth’s Ford spun in the grass when this tire failed. Kenseth finished 38th, 16 laps down.

Getty Images

Matt Kenseth’s Ford spun in the grass when this tire failed. Kenseth finished 38th, 16 laps down.

INDIANAPOLIS — Jimmie Johnson celebrated his second victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a burnout.

Appropriately, one of his tires exploded.

He was lucky he made it that long.

Tire troubles derailed one of NASCAR's crown jewel events Sunday when Goodyear's product could not withstand more than 10 or so laps at a time in the Allstate 400. It created a chaotic, caution-filled race that ended when Johnson outran Carl Edwards in a seven-lap sprint to the finish.

"Every lap. Every lap I was concerned about it. Every corner, for that matter," Johnson said. "As a group, we all knew we couldn't push the envelope. I knew at the end, a seven-lap shootout, I could blast it off in there and I'd be okay."

He was indeed okay, earning the right to "kiss the bricks" for the second time in three years.

Goodyear and NASCAR were not okay, left to explain why a prime Sprint Cup race date became a debacle.

The tire issue cropped up Saturday, when drivers learned during the first practice they could only last three to 10 laps before the rubber wore down to the cords. NASCAR and Goodyear hoped conditions would improve — as in years past — once enough rubber was down on the track.

But the Car of Tomorrow lacks downforce; that, combined with a higher center of gravity, prevented improvement and created very hard conditions for the right side tires.

The sad state of affairs was reminiscent of a Formula One race at Indy in 2005, in which all of the cars on Michelin tires withdrew just before the green flag, leaving just six Bridgestone-shod cars to run the race. That event was a factor in F1 leaving the speedway after last season.

Sunday, there were 11 yellow flags — but six were "competition cautions" thrown by NASCAR to force teams to change tires.

"We came with the best tire we had for the conditions and we fell short. We'll try to get it right," said Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales for Goodyear.

The longest green-flag run was an embarrassing 12 laps as teams feared both tire failures and a possible supply shortage. Goodyear shipped in 800 tires earmarked for use next week in Pocono before the race, but they ultimately weren't needed.

"It was a pretty crazy day," winning crew chief Chad Knaus said.

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton spent the race on pit road, examining tires and talking to frustrated crew chiefs. He defended the job NASCAR did.

"Not every race is a barnburner," Pemberton said. "If you are a good fan, and you didn't get what you wanted, it's okay to be disappointed and we can be disappointed right along with you."

Edwards said he raced at 100 percent over the final run but couldn't catch Johnson.

"That's a long day. I know everybody's trying to do their best," Edwards said. "I just, personally, (want) to say to the fans, everybody's doing their best to make that race, at least we got to run at the end."

Denny Hamlin gave the lead up during the frenzied final sequences of pit stops. He finished third.

"I don't think anyone could push their car as hard as they would have liked to," he said.

Johnson wins but NASCAR appears tired 07/28/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 28, 2008 5:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Morning after off day: Rays ready for slumping O's

    Blogs

     

  2. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  3. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during TCU’s 4-3 win in the College World Series.
  4. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101