Ford Performance NASCAR: Three Ford Drivers Battle for Final Playoff Positions at the Brickyard

FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: INDIANAPOLIS NOTES
The final race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season headlines this weekend鈥檚 activities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the 16-driver field that will contend for the championship is set.聽 Five Ford drivers have clinched spots while three more are in contention for the final two positions.聽 Here鈥檚 a look at Ford鈥檚 Brickyard history in NASCAR.

FORD IN THE MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT IMS
路 聽 聽 聽 聽 Ford has 4 all-time series wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
路 聽 聽 聽 聽 Dale Jarrett owns two of those wins while Ricky Rudd has one.
路 聽 聽 聽 聽 Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of the Brickyard 400.

FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT IMS
路 聽 聽 聽 聽 Ford is looking for its first series win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
路 聽 聽 聽 聽 Brad Keselowski won in 2012 after the race moved from Lucas Oil Raceway.
路 聽 聽 聽 聽 Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards posted wins at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2002 and 2009, respectively.

FORD CUP PLAYOFF SCENARIO DOWN TO THE WIRE


American Muscle

Five Ford drivers have clinched spots in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and three others are in contention for the final two spots as the regular season concludes Sunday.聽 Race winners Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick were joined by Aric Almirola and Ryan Blaney in the field of 16 after they clinched their spots on points Sunday at Darlington.聽 That leaves Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman to battle for the last two positions.聽 Bowyer currently sits 15th in the standings and has an eight-point lead over Suarez, who holds the tiebreaker over Newman for 16th place.聽 Both drivers go into Sunday鈥檚 race tied with 617 points, which is 18 more than Jimmie Johnson.

KESELOWSKI ENDS FORD DROUGHT

Coming on the heels of his triumph at Darlington Raceway in the Southern 500, Brad Keselowski collected his second straight crown jewel victory by winning the Brickyard 400 last season.聽 Keselowski battled Denny Hamlin on a restart with three laps to go and used fresher tires to make the decisive pass and give car owner Roger Penske his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at the track.聽 The win was also Ford鈥檚 first in the Brickyard 400 since Dale Jarrett won in 1999.

THREE JEWELS FOR DJ

The first time Ford found victory lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race was in 1996 when Dale Jarrett won the first of his two Brickyard 400 championships.聽 What made the race most memorable from a Ford perspective is that it ended up being a battle between Jarrett and his Robert Yates Racing teammate, Ernie Irvan.聽 The two ended up breaking away from the field as Irvan found himself in the lead after passing Jarrett on lap 139, but when he pushed up the track going into turn two with only seven laps to go, Jarrett was there to take advantage and make the pass.聽 Jarrett held on to eventually win as the race ended under caution.聽 That completed a trifecta of sorts for Jarrett, who also won the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 earlier that season, and capped a memorable day for Ford with seven finishers in the Top 10 and 11 in the Top 14.

RUDD鈥橲 BIG WIN

Ricky Rudd stretched his fuel to the limit in winning the 1997 Brickyard 400 as he went the final 46 laps without stopping.聽 That decision, along with a pair of timely cautions, enabled him to gain the lead and hold it until the checkered flag.聽 Rudd inherited the lead on lap 147 after the yellow flag came out for debris after Robby Gordon hit the wall.聽 While leader Dale Jarrett and fellow contender Jeff Gordon were forced to pit for fuel under the caution, Rudd stayed out.聽 Another caution with seven laps remaining allowed Rudd to save the necessary fuel to make it the rest of the way.聽 In a single-file restart with three laps to go, Rudd led Bobby Labonte, Johnny Benson, Mark Martin, Jarrett and Gordon.聽 Labonte was never able to get closer than a couple of car lengths as Rudd posted his second win of the season and biggest triumph of his career.

TWO FOR JARRETT

When Dale Jarrett won in 1999 for the second time in four years, it overcame the disappointment from the previous year when he had a dominant Ford Taurus but ran out of gas midway through the race.聽 Jarrett, who qualified fourth, was in a class by himself as he led 81 of the final 82 laps to win his fourth race of the season.聽 The crucial part of the race came under caution when Jarrett came down pit road on lap 143 and opted for two tires.聽 He was able to clear Bobby Labonte on the ensuing restart and was not threatened the rest of the way as he joined Jeff Gordon as the only two-time winners of the event.

A MAST-ERFUL START

Another memorable Brickyard highlight came in the inaugural weekend in 1994 when Rick Mast won the pole while driving the No. 1 Ford of car owner Richard Jackson.聽 Mast went on to lead the first lap at the speedway in official NASCAR competition, but ended up finishing one lap down in 22nd place.聽 The pole was one of four Mast earned during his 15-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.

FORD MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES WINNERS AT THE BRICKYARD

1996 鈥 Dale Jarrett
1997 鈥 Ricky Rudd
1999 鈥 Dale Jarrett
2018 鈥 Brad Keselowski


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