2008 Brickyard 400
The 2008 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, the 15th running of the event, was the twentieth race of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and the fifteenth NASCAR race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). It was also the first race under the ESPN/ABC section of the TV coverage for the 2008 season. The 160-lap, 400 miles (640 km) event was raced on July 27 at the 2.5 miles (4.0 km) Indianapolis Motor Speedway located in Speedway, Indiana (a separate town surrounded by Indiana's state capital). Along with ESPN, the IMS Radio Network, working with Performance Racing Network, provided radio coverage (along with Sirius Satellite Radio) with both broadcasts starting at 1 PM US EDT.
|Race 20 of 36 in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season|
Map of the basic speedway
|Date||July 27, 2008|
|Official name||Allstate 400 at the Brickyard|
|Location||Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana|
Permanent racing facility|
2.5 mi (4.023 km)
|Distance||160 laps, 400 mi (643.737 km)|
|Weather||Hot with temperatures approaching 88 °F (31 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)|
|Average speed||115.117 miles per hour (185.263 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports|
|No. 48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Jerry Punch, Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett|
The race was deemed a "disaster" for NASCAR, Goodyear, and Indianapolis. Due to the new Car of Tomorrow, the surface at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and problems with Goodyear tires, NASCAR was forced to throw competition cautions every 10–12 laps; an average of just 9 green flag laps were run during the race. Tires started to explode if the race was allowed to continue past that distance. Even at that distance, tires were down to the cords/nylon base. At the end of the race, every tire that Goodyear had brought to the track for the weekend had been used and were no longer usable.
The race was starting to rival the Daytona 500 in terms of the biggest race of the NASCAR season before the tire problems at this race. Since this race, attendance has dropped from a 257,000+ sell out to an estimated 100,000 at the 2010 race.
Jimmie Johnson held off Mark Martin to win the pole position. Bill Elliott, after starting the first 14 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, failed in his final run to do so, as he retired following the season.
In pre-race practice, teams realized that the tires provided for the race wore down quickly, due to the abrasive course at Indianapolis and the different characteristics of the fifth-generation car that was being used for the first time at Indianapolis. Concerns led NASCAR to implement caution periods after ten laps for tire wear, a procedure NASCAR debuted at 1969 Talladega 500, which had a driver boycott over tire wear issues, and NASCAR called cautions after a specific time in order to allow teams to pit and change tires.
For Indianapolis, the cautions would be called between 10–12 laps. Because of an accident involving Michael Waltrip on Lap 4, the first competition yellow would not wave until Lap 14. The only other non-competition yellow came halfway through the race when Brian Vickers' Toyota had its engine fail. Some drivers compared the racing to the roots of NASCAR with ten-lap heat races, as nine competition cautions and the two incidents combined effectively led to ten "heat races" were thrown with the final sprint being a "feature" race. Jimmie Johnson won the race after a battle with Carl Edwards after various teams attempted a two-tire stop in what effectively had become the caution leading to the final shootout, similar to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
|Top Ten Finishers|
|Place||Car #||Driver||Car make||Team|
|1||48||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||Hendrick Motorsports|
|2||99||Carl Edwards||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|3||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|4||19||Elliott Sadler||Dodge||Gillett Evernham Motorsports|
|5||24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Hendrick Motorsports|
|6||26||Jamie McMurray||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|7||9||Kasey Kahne||Dodge||Gillett Evernham Motorsports|
|8||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|9||31||Jeff Burton||Chevrolet||Richard Childress Racing|
|10||84||A. J. Allmendinger||Toyota||Team Red Bull|
Two days following the running of the race, NASCAR VP of competition Robin Pemberton formally apologized for the problems, saying that it did not go to IMS with the correct car-tire combination. To rectify those problems, Goodyear staged two additional tire tests at Indy in the fall, the first with only three teams as per the tiremaker's policy September 22 and 23; the other with as many as 12 teams on October 7 and 8 to detect what might have gone wrong and test a new tire to be used for the 2009 race. A total of 7 tests were conducted in preparation for the 2009 race.
The results of these tests indicated an increased amount of load and slip on the right rear tire caused the particle debris to be smaller than anticipated. This prevented rubber from adhering to the track and prevented tire wear from improving as the race progressed.
- Weather information for the 2008 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at The Old Farmers' Almanac
- "2008 Allstate 400 At The Brickyard". Racing-Reference. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
- Indianapolismotorspeedway.com Archived 2009-02-26 at the Wayback Machine "Goodyear, NASCAR Stars Pleased With Progress At Indy Tire Test" Retrieved February 1, 2009