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Kasey Kahne, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, was third and Stewart was fourth as Chevrolet swept the top four spots. All four cars were also powered by Hendrick Motorsports.
"We had pretty good power all day long. There were a lot of scenarios where I noticed how good it was," Stewart said. "That’s what you expect out of the Hendrick engine department. That’s the standard that they set."
Matt Kenseth was fifth in a Toyota and followed by Hendrick’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, as all four Hendrick entries landed inside the top seven. Earnhardt rallied from a loose wheel on the opening run of the race to grab his top-10 finish.
"I knew it was loose," said Earnhardt, adding it was a no-brainer to pit. "You have a wheel falling off, you have something serious happening. Come in, it’s dangerous staying out there. You can hit the wall, or wreck something, or wreck some other people. I don’t want to do that. It is a long race. We had an early chance to fix that, and that is fine. It gave us an opportunity to try some different strategies, and it worked out for us."
Joey Logano was eighth in a Ford, and followed by Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch, who picked up his first career win at the Brickyard in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race.
NASCAR’s 20th running at the historic Brickyard wasn’t the most exciting race — there were three cautions, for stalled cars or debris, and no accidents or spins — and the field spread out into single-file racing and passing wasn’t easy. Montoya complained at one point over his radio that attempting to pass another car only cost him position on track.
"It’s just Indy, it’s always hard to pass," Kahne shrugged. "The competition’s close, so you can get runs and then you can kill your run a little bit if that guy runs a certain part of the race track. So the guys that know where to put their car when a car being them is faster, it’s tough to pass them."
The in-race intrigue came via varied strategies among the teams as they all tried different methods to steal a good finish in a race that logged as the fastest Brickyard in history at 2 hours, 36 minutes and 22 seconds.
"Overall I thought it was an exciting race," said Kenseth. "I thought there was a lot of different strategies there at the end and the two fastest cars ended up battling for the win. It wasn’t any harder (to pass) than normal. It’s just always hard to pass here."
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