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McMurray wins 2010 Brickyard 400; Montoya fumbles away another chance

Jamie McMurray's Brickyard 400 winning car (megasportsnews.com)

MEGASPORTSNEWS.COM RACING COVERAGE

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA — Jamie McMurray always seems to come up huge in the Big races.

He won NASCAR’S opening race of 2010, the Daytona 500 and on Sunday, he was a surprise winner of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

McMurray joined Jimmie Johnson (2006) and Dale Jarrett (1996) as the only drivers to win both the Daytona 500 and The Brickyard 400 in the same season by taking full advantage of Juan Pablo Montoya’s mistake.

Jamie McMurray (NASCAR)

Montoya had victory within his grasp at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His miscalculated strategy cost him the lead and the race.

Montoya led for 86 of the 160 laps which make up the 400 miles around the 2.5-mile oval. But he gave up the lead when debris on the track brought out a caution with 23 laps remaining which sent the field to pit road. Crew chief Brian Pattric called for a fresh set of four tires, but the first six drivers off pit road only wanted two tires.

That strategy put McMurray out in the lead on the restart with 18 laps to go, while Montoya fell back to seventh place. He was trying to force his way through traffic to get back up front, and lost control and crashed hard into the wall with 15 laps to go.

The win gave team owner Chip Ganassi a rare feat: He is the only car owner to win the Daytona 500, The Brickyard 400 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same season.

Kevin Harvick finished second, Greg Biffle was third in a Ford, Clint Bowyer ended up fourth and Tony Stewart fifth.

(megasportsnews.com)

RACE NOTES

* Jamie McMurray led the race for only 16 laps.

* The 34-year-old McMurray drives the Number 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet. His Crew chief is Kevin Manion.

* The victory is McMurray’s fifth victory in 278 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

* This is McMurray’s second victory and seventh top-10 finish in 2010.

* This is his first win and fourth top-10 finish in eight races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His previous best was third in 2003.

* This is the eighth consecutive year that a Chevrolet has won the Brickyard 400. Bill Elliott was the last non-Chevy driver to win this event, in 2002 in a Dodge.

* Runner-up Kevin Harvick earned his seventh top-10 finish in 10 Brickyard 400 starts. He won the race in 2003.

* Tony Stewart finished fifth, his eighth top-10 finish in 12 Brickyard 400 starts.

* Jacques Villeneuve finished 29th in his Brickyard 400 debut, becoming the only driver besides Juan Pablo Montoya to race in all three major auto racing events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: The Indy 500, Brickyard 400 and United States Grand Prix.

* Eight-time Brickyard 400 starter Brett Bodine drove the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car during the race. There were three pace laps before the race actually started.

* Mari Hulman George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway chairman of the board, as usual was on hand to tell the drivers to “Start Your Engines.”

* Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Kevin Conway, of the Number 34 Extenze Ford, led Sunday’s Brickyard 400 once for one lap and is the first Raybestos rookie to lead a lap at Indianapolis since Jamie McMurray led twice for 22 laps in 2003, his seventh race.

Conway was sidelined by engine failure and credited with a 34th place finish.

* Juan Pablo Montoya was the WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 leading four times for a race-high 86 laps. Montoya has led the most laps in each of the past two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 202 of a possible 320 laps. He is the first driver in 17 Brickyard 400 races to lead the most laps in consecutive races.

Montoya was sidelined by an accident on lap 145 of the 160-lap race. He was credited with a 32nd place finish.

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