The #48 car of Jimmie Johnson cruised onto Victory Lane after crossing the brick finish line at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon to claim the Brickyard 400. But the story of the day was the deplorable situation with the racing tires that simply could not withstand the rough surface. Especially the right rear tires became completely worn out after a mere 12-15 laps. This forced NASCAR to mar the race with numerous competition cautions so the cars could come onto pit road for new tires en masse and go back out to race a few more laps. I realize that the Indy Speedway was designed for open wheel racing, and not stock cars, but NASCAR has been using this track for over a decade now, and converting to “the car of tomorrow” should not have made that radical a difference. I don’t know if fault lies with the roughness of the pavement or the engineers at Goodyear, but today’s product was unacceptable. Sprint Cup races are often won in the pits, but not solely by the guys wielding air guns for the lug nuts. A complete race is decided by fuel strategy, tire strategy, and pitting at the correct times along with pit crew speed. Also its nice to see stretches of more than a dozen laps of green flag racing so the drivers with good cars can better differentiate themselves. Take nothing away from Jimmie Johnson’s win; he and his crew made the best of a bad situation, but today’s race is not what auto racing is all about, and it simply should never happen.
Debacle at the Brickyard