FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: INDIANAPOLIS NOTES
The NASCAR Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series return to action this weekend at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For the first time, the speedway’s infield road course will be used to host a NASCAR event as the XFINITY Series races there on Saturday, followed by the Cup drivers on the historic oval one day later.
FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT IMS
· Ford has 5 all-time series wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
· Ford has won the last 2 Cup races (Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick).
· Dale Jarrett is the lone Ford driver with two victories at the track.
FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT IMS
· Ford is looking for its first series win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
· Ryan Blaney pole has Ford’s lone series pole (2018).
· Team Penske has one series win at the track (2012).
FORD WIN TOTAL REACHES EIGHT
Kevin Harvick’s win in Saturday’s Pocono opener gave Ford eight wins this season, most among manufacturers, and six in the 11 events held since returning to action on May 17 at Darlington Raceway. Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski hold the top three spots, respectively, in the regular season point standings after 15 races, and Ford holds a 32-point lead in the manufacturers’ battle with Toyota and Chevrolet.
BRISCOE TAKES NXS POINTS LEAD
Chase Briscoe’s series-leading fourth win on Sunday at Pocono Raceway, which was his second straight overtime triumph, moved him into the points lead by three over second-place Noah Gragson. Briscoe, who grew up in Mitchell, IN, and considers the Indianapolis Motor Speedway one of his home tracks, now has six career series victories in three seasons.
HARVICK LOOKS TO DEFEND BRICKYARD VICTORY
Kevin Harvick captured his first Brickyard 400 with Stewart-Haas Racing and second overall with a dominating performance in last year’s race. Harvick was fast all weekend as he claimed the pole and then led 118-of-160 laps, which included wins in the final two stages. The race, which served as the final event of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season, saw Ford lead all but 11 laps on the day and have seven of the top 11 finishers.
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. 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 NASCAR Cup Series win at the track. The win was also Ford’s 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 NASCAR Cup Series race was in 1996 when Dale Jarrett won the first of his two Brickyard 400 championships. 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. 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. Jarrett held on to eventually win as the race ended under caution. 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’S 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. That decision, along with a pair of timely cautions, enabled him to gain the lead and hold it until the checkered flag. Rudd inherited the lead on lap 147 after the yellow flag came out for debris after Robby Gordon hit the wall. While leader Dale Jarrett and fellow contender Jeff Gordon were forced to pit for fuel under the caution, Rudd stayed out. Another caution with seven laps remaining allowed Rudd to save the necessary fuel to make it the rest of the way. In a single-file restart with three laps to go, Rudd led Bobby Labonte, Johnny Benson, Mark Martin, Jarrett and Gordon. 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. 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. The crucial part of the race came under caution when Jarrett came down pit road on lap 143 and opted for two tires. 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. 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. The pole was one of four Mast earned during his 15-year NASCAR Cup Series career.
FORD NASCAR CUP SERIES WINNERS AT THE BRICKYARD
1996 – Dale Jarrett
1997 – Ricky Rudd
1999 – Dale Jarrett
2018 – Brad Keselowski
2019 – Kevin Harvick