There were some really big winners Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and some really big losers.
Ironically, the two biggest in each category are on the same team – Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
Jamie McMurray – He made history and established himself as an elite driver by winning the two biggest races of the season. He is no longer Mr. Restrictor Plate.
Kevin Harvick – Runnerup finish and near-win is more proof that the points leader is indeed a legitimate championship contender.
Greg Biffle – Led 38 laps and finished third, showing that Roush Fenway and Ford are turning the corner. Top-five finish also helped stave off Chase challengers.
Clint Bowyer – Fourth-place run helped him hang onto 12th in the standings and hold off Chase challengers.
Kyle Busch – Eighth-place finish not all that impressive until you consider that he wrecked on the first lap.
Juan Pablo Montoya – This was an even more bitter disappointment than last year, when he was caught speeding on pit road. Montoya dominated again, only to lose the lead with the wrong pit strategy and to wreck late in the race.
Jimmie Johnson – His team was totally out to lunch at a track where it had won three of the past four races. Another example of just how up-and-down the champs have been this year.
Jeff Gordon – He, too, was off all day, but a late flat tire doomed him to a 23rd-place finish. Subpar run snapped his streak of top-five finishes.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Late wreck costs him a potential top-10 finish. The 27th-place result cost him another spot in the standings and further hurt his chances of making the Chase.
David Reutimann – So much for the momentum of winning two weeks ago at Chicago. Getting collected in the first-lap wreck took care of that.
Sam Hornish Jr. – Indy was the one place where the former Indy 500 winner was expected to be a contender. Instead, he, too, got caught in the first-lap crash.9
"Bad call. Crew chief error. We should have taken two tires." – Brian Pattie, crew chief for Juan Montoya
“My car was just so tight in. I had guys out-braking me at a track where you really don't charge the corner. We were really confused as to why.” – Jimmie Johnson
"We just didn't have it. … As a group, we'll go back and review everything and try to see what we're missing and we'll pay attention to the competition.” – Jeff Gordon
“I was excited that we could run with the 42 car [Montoya]. The last couple of years he’s been really fast here and we could run with him today. I just wish that we would have done two tires at the end like everybody else did.” – Greg Biffle
“This was a big step forward for us, big-time. Greg [Biffle] should have won that race and that’s cool. That was a good race for us.” – Carl Edwards, who finished seventh, giving Roush Fenway Racing two cars in the top seven.
“The 18 [of Kyle Busch] spun out and we were trying to get checked up, but there was nowhere to go. Somebody ran into the back of me and we all just kind of spun out. It’s just a shame.” – Elliott Sadler, who was involved in the first-lap crash.
"A tough start pretty much cemented our fate today. I was just trying to let things sort out at the start of the race when the 18 got loose. … I tried to keep it from spinning out, but just needed twelve inches to keep it off the wall. It sucks.” – Sam Hornish Jr.
"I don't know what happened there on the opening lap. I just lost it, I guess. It just went around.” – Kyle Busch
"Frustrating to run one lap down – one position all day long. We had a good Camry, we could run with pretty much any car out there but never had a chance really. Every time we were close to the 'lucky dog,’ we just missed it by a lap or two.” – Denny Hamlin, who fell a lap down early but rallied to finish 15th.
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