Jimmie Johnson adds to his legacy

July, 31, 2012

There are few venues across all of sports that are more historic than Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Which makes me, a fan of NASCAR's legacy, a happy man.

That being said, I'm well aware that Indianapolis doesn't provide the most thrilling race. That's understandable. The track wasn't built for stock cars, but it's important for the series to visit that venue and it's huge for a driver to pick up a victory there.

It's even bigger when a driver wins four races there, as Jimmie Johnson has after he won on Sunday, tying teammate Jeff Gordon for the most Brickyard 400 wins.

In the major races that have been held at Indianapolis (Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and U.S. Grand Prix), only six drivers have come away with four or more wins, and they are all legends across all of motorsports (check out the sweet chart).

Venue aside, Johnson picked up his third win of the season, tied for the most in the series; it's the 10th time in his career that he's had at least three wins in a season.

In Cup series history, only seven other drivers have had at least 10 three-win seasons, and it reads like a Hall of Fame roll call: Richard Petty (20), Bobby Allison (13), Jeff Gordon (13), Cale Yarborough (13), Dale Earnhardt (12), Darrell Waltrip (12) and David Pearson (11).

Trivia break! Johnson has had 11 straight multiwin seasons. What's the record for consecutive multiwin seasons?

Johnson's domination

Johnson was dominant in the win, crossing the finish line 4.758 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch, a Brickyard 400 record.

He also put up a perfect 150 driver rating, something that hadn't been done since the 2010 season finale by Carl Edwards at Homestead.

Johnson has shown this year that he has the highest ceiling in races. Not only does he have the best driver rating of the season, he also put up the second-highest number in his Dover win.

Johnson was the fastest driver on more than 35 percent of green-flag laps at Indy, the best mark this season. Johnson actually holds three of the five highest marks of fastest laps run percentage, also doing it at Dover and Phoenix.

Trivia break! There have been 12 perfect driver ratings since the stat was introduced in 2005. Johnson has three, but who is the only driver with more?

Your new leader

Tom Carnegie was famous at Indianapolis for his call, "It's a new track record!" Well, this week, we'll pay homage by saying, "It's a new points leader!"

Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the points lead with his top-5 finish at the Brickyard, passing Matt Kenseth, who got into a wreck. It's the first time Junior's been atop the points since September 2004, after the first Chase race … ever.

He's also finished on the lead lap in every race this year, the longest streak to start a season in series history, and now is just one off the overall record, set by Jeff Gordon in 1998-99, according to our friends at Racing Resources.

Trivia break! Before his wreck Sunday, Kenseth had run all but one lap this season. Now who is second behind Earnhardt in laps completed this year?

Trivia break answers

1. Richard Petty won multiple races for 18 straight seasons from 1960 to 1977.

2. Kurt Busch has four perfect driver ratings.

3. Greg Biffle has completed all but two laps this year.

Matt Willis | email

ESPN Staff Writer
Matt Willis has been a studio researcher at ESPN since 2006, working on "NASCAR Now" and "SportsCenter," among other shows. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with a degree in journalism. While there, he worked on ICTV, on shows such as "Ya Think You Know Sports?" and "Sports Final." He also was a member of the IC Comedy Club and figures about half of the jokes he makes in his column are actually funny.


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