"I’ve been a sentimental favorite and a legitimate favorite to win there before, but I’ve always come up short. There’s just something about Indy. It’s difficult to win there. It’s probably one of the hardest places to win a race. Just because you’re a favorite doesn’t mean it’s an automatically done deal. It really doesn’t mean anything to me until that last lap happens. If the Home Depot Chevrolet is leading on that last lap, then it’ll mean a lot.” —Tony Stewart, prior to the 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
When he won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard last August, Tony Stewart realized a lifelong dream: a victory at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His victory, along with the post-race climb of the fence near the flagstand — and in turn two — were definitely highlights of both Stewart’s year and the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season.
And as it is with every winner of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (and every Nextel Cup race), the question arises: Can (fill in the blank with previous winner’s name) make a repeat trip to Victory Lane?
By no means will back-to-back victories at the Brickyard be an easy task for the “Rushville Rocket.” Current Nextel Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson, along with another Hoosier, Ryan Newman, and fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be among the Nextel Cup drivers looking for their first victory at the two-and-a-half-mile oval on West 16th Street.
Previous Brickyard 400 winners Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon are looking to add to their Indianapolis trophy collection, with this year’s silver brick that symbolizes having won a Nextel Cup race at the world’s most famous race track.
The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Aug. 6; doors open at 7 a.m., race at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ticket office, or online at www.brickyard.com.