Senior staff writer
That was a perfect description by a local television station of the mayhem Sunday in the 24th Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The rain-interrupted and crash-filled race took six hours, 18 minutes to complete, had three red flags, 14 cautions and 16 stock cars running at the finish – the result of 11 crashes with five multi-car accidents in the last 18 laps.
Kasey Kahne narrowly missed being taken out late in the race by a sliding Jimmie Johnson as they tried to go three-wide with Brad Keselowski in the third turn. Kahne out-dueled Keselowski on the last restart for his first NASCAR Cup Monster Energy win since August 2014 in Atlanta.
“I had a great restart, enginewise, gearingwise, and was able to clear Brad off Turn 1,” said Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet owned by Rick Hendrick. “It worked out perfect – we got the win.”
Kahne, 37, also survived severe cramps, dehydration and fatigue. After leaping atop his car, one of NASCAR’s more popular drivers later slumped near his car and needed an IV in the infield hospital before going to the winner’s press conference in the media center.
The Washington native has a grassroots USAC midget and sprint car background. He and his father had their shop in Gasoline Alley south of the track. He took his first ride around the Speedway in 1999 in one of the track’s tour buses. Kahne owns a World of Outlaws winged sprint car team, based in Mooresville, N.C.
By beating Keselowski, Kahne foiled team owner Roger Penske’s first Brickyard 400 win.
Hoosier Ryan Newman was third in a Richard Childress-owned Chevrolet. He was not that critical of the crash-fest.
“I think what we saw was some crazy strategy, some crazy restarts,” the 2013 Brickyard winner said. “I’ve seen worse racing here, by far, as far as not being able to pass … I didn’t think it was ideal, but it was definitely crazy.”
Going for a three-peat, Kyle Busch led all but 15 of the first 102 before crashing into front-runner Martin Truex on Lap 111.
• The 250-mile Xfinity Lilly’s Diabetes race was held with experimental rules of a restrictor plate, higher rear spoiler and front air dams that led to a record number of passes and drivers being able to draft and slingshot down the straightaways. The rules could be adapted for next year’s Brickyard 400 but wouldn’t resolve the late-race crashes with a tightly-packed field.
• The silver anniversary Brickyard 400 will be Sept. 9, 2018, the final race to determine playoff spots.
• Drew Skillman of Greenwood became the first NHRA Pro Stock competitor to win two consecutive events this season Sunday in Denver, Colo. Sponsored by Ray Skillman Auto Group, Skillman defeated Bo Butner in the final round with a 6.916-seconds run against Hoosier Bo Butner. Skillman won two weeks ago in Joliet, Ill. He has six career wins.
• Southsider Mark Tunny recovered from a crossover collision and won the 37th annual Sonny Thompson Memorial 100-lap Figure-8 Saturday at the Indianapolis Speedrome. Tunny did a complete 360-degree after being clipped by eventual runner-up Jeff Harmon of Louisville. Whiteland’s Charlie Reed, a retired figure-8 veteran and inaugural General Tire National Figure-8 champion, was inducted into the Speedrome Hall of Fame during on-track ceremonies.