Brickyard 400 turns 20

ASSOCIATED PRESS Richard Childress: 'It doesn't seem 20 years ago when Dale Earnhardt pulled up there to run our first test.'
ASSOCIATED PRESS Richard Childress: 'It doesn't seem 20 years ago when Dale Earnhardt pulled up there to run our first test.'
Posted: July 26, 2013

TWENTY YEARS of Brickyard races at Indianapolis . . . time flies when the stock-car carnival-on-wheels is having fun.

Richard Childress has been involved as a team owner in all previous Brickyard races. He is the only owner to win three Brickyard races with three different drivers: Dale Earnhardt in 1995, Kevin Harvick in 2003 and Paul Menard 2 years ago . . .

"Twenty years, it kind of reminds me of that old song Bob Seger sings, '20 years ago, where does it go?' " Childress said on a conference call earlier this week. "It doesn't seem 20 years ago when Dale Earnhardt pulled up there to run our first test. I guess that was a year before we went up there and raced, just to see how the Cup cars would do.

"To be able to see that car go around the racetrack in such a historical place as Indy with all the history there, to have Dale go around there, it was pretty amazing."

Referring to the scene at the first Brickyard, won by Jeff Gordon in 1994, Childress said, "It was just the amount of people that were in the grandstands, the enthusiasm, walking out on pit road, thinking about all the history of the people that had walked out there on the starting grid before the race and stand out there, you take pictures and see everything."

Childress believes the Brickyard race is it still a marquee event to teams, owners and sponsors.

"If you want to win a race, you want to win the Daytona 500, the Coke 600 and the Brickyard 400. Those are the three, in my opinion, of the biggest crowns you can win."

Childress' grandson Austin Dillon is scheduled to run his first Brickyard race Sunday.

Good vibrations

Chevrolet drivers have won the last 10 Brickyard races. Jimmie Johnson collected four of those W's (all since 2006).

Chad Knaus has been Johnson's crew chief for all the Brickyard victories and Johnson's five consecutive Sprint Cup titles. Talking about their long relationship, Knaus said, "It grows and there's an ebb and flow of good times and bad. Jimmie and I have been very fortunate over the years to have gotten a good appreciation and mutual respect for one another.

"Now we are to the point where I can understand where it is and how off we are with the race car based on his body language and what he says and his feedback. And he can definitely see with my feedback and my body language and the tone of my voice, he knows what's happening from my perspective and that's always good."

Racing's new TV home

Maybe NBC should change its traditional peacock logo to crossed wrenches over an emblem of a tire jack.

The addition of NASCAR in 2015 will give NBC and the NBC Sports channel an auto-racing hat trick: NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula One.

"We are probably the most dominant home for motorsports, and that circulation of motorsports will be good for all [fans]," Mark Lazarus, NBC Sports Group chairman, said Tuesday after the 10-year deal was announced.

While Lazarus said it's too early to talk about NBC's on-air talent for auto racing, it's almost certain that the network will bring over some ESPN and TNT racing people.

"When we hire talent, we do it with the thought of being relevant to the core fan but also being welcoming and open to the casual or new fan," Lazarus said. "I think when you look around our Mount Rushmore of broadcasters, whether it's Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Johnny Miller, Bob Costas, Dan Patrick and others, we are second to none both in play-by-play and analysts, and we will continue that with NASCAR."

Newman vs. Busch

Fans and media will be keeping their eyes on Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch in Sunday's race. After Newman and Kyle's older brother Kurt were involved in a wreck during the July 21 Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire, Kyle called Newman "a stupid idiot" and "big ogre." Newman responded saying, "I'm just afraid if I rearranged his face, I might fix it."

ARCA champ loves NJ

No one has to drag Chris Buescher, the defending ARCA Racing Series champion, to Millville, N.J., this weekend. Buescher is eager to get to New Jersey Motorsports Park for Sunday's Barbera's Auto Land 150 race. He enjoys racing on Thunderbolt Raceway's 2.25-mile 14-turn track.

"I love New Jersey," Buescher said. "The biggest thing for me is that at New Jersey you can see through the corners. You're not running in completely blind. You can see where the corner's going, which is really helpful. You can run New Jersey more like a short track, which always works for me. I love the track, love the layout at New Jersey; it's a lot of fun to drive."

comments powered by Disqus