The tradition of NASCAR at Indianapolis may of had its first race in 1994, but it started the year before, at a simple test session. Fans clamored to see what was going to happen, and it appeared as if it was going to be accepted at a track where it’s always been open-wheel action.
That first race in 1994 brought in a new era of NASCAR at what is truly the most famous track in the world.
However, it wasn’t until 1996 that a new tradition began, all because one man wanted the ultimate experience. That year, Dale Jarrett held off teammate Ernie Irvin to win his first Brickyard event. When doing the parade lap around the track to salute the fans, the car came to a stop at the start/finish line. He got out, and went to the “Yard of Bricks” which signifies the original track surface of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He knelt down on his knees, and of all things planted his lips on the bricks.
At that moment, not one person that attended that event knew the effect it had on the sport, as one year later, Ricky Rudd did it again, and since then it has become an annual event. The “kissing of the bricks” has happened after every NASCAR race since then, and has now included the driver, the team and family members.
What has occurred since then is this tradition has expanded to every genre of motorsports that runs at this track. For seven years, Formula 1 ran the road course at the track, and that victory was sealed with a kiss. IndyCar now has three traditions during their May classic, a wreath around the winner, a sip or chug of milk (depending on what the driver prefers), and finally a kiss worth waiting for.
Sports cars, super trucks, open-wheel, closed-bodied vehicles, it doesn’t matter the kind of car or truck, it is now a moment that happens every time a checkered flag waved.
Some have kissed those bricks just once, others a couple times, while a select few have done so on multiple occasions. The track may be sticky with rubber, not to mention hot from a burnout and exhaust, and may smell like used Goodyear tires. The kiss is likely the nastiest, grittiest and stickiest in all of sports, and it’s not recommended to plant a smooch on one’s significant other afterward unless it involved some Crest and Listerine.
But in the end, it’s a moment to pucker up for one of the most prestigious kisses in all of motorsports.
RESULTS: 1-Gordon 2-Kyle Busch 3-Hamlin 4-Kenseth 5-Logano 6-Kahne 7-Larson 8-Harvick 9-Earnhardt Jr. 10-Dillon
NOTABLE FINISHES: 12-Keselowski 14-Johnson 15-Edwards 21-Almirola 28-Kurt Busch
CAUTIONS: 4 for 16 laps. Lap 22-25 (Competition caution), 69-72 (#10 Stopped on track-T1), 98-101 (#21 accident-T2), 140-143 (#83 Slow on track-T2).
LEAD CHANGES: 15 among 9 drivers. Harvick 1, Gordon 2-21, Logano 22-31, Kahne 32-37, Larson 38-42, Dillon 43, Hamlin 44-54, Harvick 55-65, Hamlin 66-72, Kahne 73-98, Bowyer 99-101, Kahne 102-126, Gordon 127-129, Annett 130, Kahne 131-143, Gordon 144-160.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 39 Mins, 41 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 150.297 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 2.325 Seconds
POINT STANDINGS: 1. Gordon, 717 points*; 2. Earnhardt Jr, -24*; 3. Keselowski, -51*; 4. Kenseth, -56; 5. Johnson, -89*; 6. Kyle Busch, -108*; 7. Newman, -111; 8. Edwards, -114*; 9. Logano, -126*; 10. Bowyer, -140.
*Race Winner, Chase Eligible
Other eligible Chase drivers: Harvick (12th, 2 wins), Hamlin (21st, 1 win), Almirola (22nd, 1 win), Kurt Busch (25th, 1 win)
Denny Hamlin has been penalized after failing post-race inspection at Indianapolis. Hamlin finished third in Sunday’s race, however in post-race inspection, the officials discovered issues with firewall block-off plates at the rear of the car. A NASCAR spokesman said if the plates were to come loose or detach, air would flow into the car and would create more downforce.
The penalties fall under the P5 level in NASCAR’s new penalty process. The penalties are as follows:
- Denny Hamlin and car owner J.D. Gibbs lose 75 championship points, 50 being for the penalty and the additional 25 for the issues being discovered in post-race inspection.
- Crew chief Darian Grubb fined a total of $125,000, with $75,000 being for the penalty itself, and another $50,000 due to it being discovered in post-race inspection.
- Grubb and Car Chief Wesley Sherrill are suspended for the next six NASCAR championship events, and will remain on probation for the next six months.
Hamlin now falls to 21st in the standings, yet has his lone win at Talladega keeping him locked into the Chase, despite him missing the race at California due to metal in his eye.