INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Kyle Busch’s day at the Brickyard 400 finished much better than it began.
Busch caused a seven-car accident in the first lap when he clipped Sam Hornish, Jr.’s car.
“I just lost it, I guess,” Busch said.
The accident wasn’t as serious for Busch as it appeared, and he returned to the track in relatively good shape. He was in 24th place at lap 10, then climbed to sixth at laps 120 and 130 before finishing eighth on Sunday.
“The car drove well,” he said. “Initial restarts and stuff, it was real edgy. Once we got in a single-file line, it was pretty good.”
Things weren’t so good for the other drivers involved in the crash. Hornish, Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson, Todd Bodine, Bobby Labonte and David Reutimann were affected, and none finished higher than 28th.
“A tough start pretty much cemented our fate today,” said Hornish, who finished 30th. “I was just trying to let things sort out at the start of the race when the 18 (Busch) got loose.”
Sadler officially completed one lap before returning during lap 106 and finishing 38th. Bodine completed 59 laps before leaving the race and finishing 37th.
CHILDRESS RACING: Richard Childress’ drivers did everything but win on Sunday.
Three of the owner’s drivers finished in the top six on Sunday at the Brickyard 400. Points leader Kevin Harvick finished second, Clint Bowyer was fourth and Jeff Burton sixth.
Harvick stretched his advantage over Jeff Gordon to 184 points. He was fine with padding his lead.
“I felt like we had a top-five car, but we didn’t have a winning car,” Harvick said. “We had a chance to win at the end and came up just a little short.”
Bowyer solidified his 12th-place standing in the Chase for the Championship.
“It was awesome, a lot of fun, and what was needed,” he said. “It was a good run, and a good points race for us. It wasn’t what we wanted, but it was what we needed.”
Burton wasn’t as happy.
“Didn’t have the grip I thought we would,” he said. “Just not as good as we thought, but we did OK. Not great, but OK. We had a solid day, we need to do better. But if that is going to be a bad day, that’s good.”
LOGANO MAKES CHARGE: Joey Logano was forced to move to the back of the field at the start because of an engine change, but he recovered to finish ninth.
He was also affected by the crash in the first lap.
“That first wreck, I didn’t get in it, but I ran over a brake rotor,” he said. “It popped up over there and hit the front end. Had a bunch of scratches on the grill.”
Logano ran between 10th and 20th for most of the race. He said he was fine with where he finished.
“Finally got the car the best it was at the end,” he said. “Maybe one more little adjustment might have helped. We about finished where we ran.”
ATTENDANCE: Empty seats were plentiful again at the Brickyard.
NASCAR crowd estimates had dropped from 270,000 in 2007 to 240,000 in 2008 and 180,000 last year. This year, the estimate fell to 140,000.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman Eric Powell said the economy played a role, but there was more to it.
“This is a business, and our business is to provide great entertainment for our fans and to sell tickets,” he said. “While I wouldn’t say we’re concerned, I’d say we have a lot of work to do to continue to raise the profile of this event, and find not only creative ways to not only make this a great race, but to make this an affordable race for our fans.”
FORMER INDY 500 WINNERS: Montoya was one of three former Indy 500 winners trying to become the first driver to win the Indy 500 and the Brickyard. He led the most laps with 86, but crashed in lap 146 and finished 32nd.
Jacques Villeneuve, the 1995 Indy 500 winner, finished 29th. Hornish, the 2006 Indy 500 winner, finished 30th.
MISCELLANEOUS: Jeff Gordon, chasing his fifth brickyard win, finished 23rd. … Johnson, who sought his third straight Brickyard win, finished 22nd. … Bodine started in the back of the field because of an engine change and finished 37th. … Indianapolis Colts TE Dallas Clark waved the green flag.
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