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2008 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard

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Title: 2008 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard  
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Subject: Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya, Bobby Labonte, Brickyard 400, Mark Martin, Kenny Wallace, Bill Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Max Papis, Dario Franchitti
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2008 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard

2008 Sprint Cup Series
Chase for the Sprint Cup
Italics - Non-Points Races

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 27th 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.

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. Tires started to explode if the race was allowed to continue past that distance. Even at that distance, tires were down to the chords/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.

Pre-Race News

As there was a two week gap in the schedule between the LifeLock.com 400 and this race, the last break of the season before a stretch of seventeen straight races, there was plenty of news stories to go around.

Qualifying

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 will retire following the season.

Failed to qualify: Bill Elliott (#21), Stanton Barrett (#50), Johnny Sauter (#08), Tony Raines (#34).

Race

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 safety car 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

Post-Race

Two days following the running of the race, NASCAR VP of competition Robin Pemberton formally apologized for the problems, saying that it didn't 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.[1]

See also

  • Indygate - a similar situation at the same track during the 2005 Formula One race
  • 1969 Talladega 500 - First Talladega race with a similar situation

References

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