Rubbin’ is racing, the saying goes. Passing?
Not according to Tony Stewart.
The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion bristled when asked what NASCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway could do to increase passing.
“If you want to see passing we can go out on (Interstate) 465 and pass all you want,” Stewart said. “This is about racing. This is about cars being fast. It doesn’t have to be two- and three-wide racing all day long to be good racing. Racing is about figuring out how to take the package you’re allowed and make it better than what everybody else has.
“For some reason in the last 10 years everybody is on this kick that you have to be passing all the time. It’s racing, not passing.”
Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at IMS saw 20 lead changes among 12 drivers. Of those, 18 came through pit stops and not trading paint.
Even with little door slamming between drivers on Sunday — all 43 cars finished the race and the three cautions were for slow cars or debris on the track — drama did unfold late. Ryan Newman’s first Brickyard 400 victory came down to a bad pit stop for Jimmie Johnson, denying him a record fifth Brickyard title.
“When somebody does a good job, does a great job, everybody hates that,” Stewart said of teams dialing in a dominant car. “I don’t understand that. It baffles me as a race car driver.”
Still, increasing the action on a flat track that sees more single-file than side-by-side racing is a concern for fans. Estimates put the crowd at about 75,000 on Sunday, down from a reported 125,000 in 2012. IMS has seating for 235,000.
Historic start for Patrick: She’s no stranger to IMS, but Danica Patrick still made NASCAR history by become the first female driver to start the Brickyard 400. Patrick lingered in the back of the field much of the race and finished 30th.
“I know this track very well, but I didn’t feel like I knew it in this car,” said Patrick, who has seven career starts at IMS in the IndyCar Series. “It’s not like Indy. You don’t have a whole week (to practice) so you’ve got to get it done in a couple hours.”
Cool breeze: The high on Sunday was 72 degrees, making it the coolest Brickyard in its 20 races. The temperature at race time was an announced 69 degrees. The previous low on race day was 73 degrees on Aug. 6, 1994. Last year? It was 91 degrees.
Chevy dealers happy: Win on Sunday, sell on Monday. Chevrolet hopes that’s still true. Chevy won the Brickyard for the 11th straight season and put 10 Chevrolet SS’s in the top 15. Matt Kenseth was the highest non-Chevy finisher by guiding Toyota to fifth. Joey Logano brought Ford in at eighth.