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NASCAR: Johnson dominant in win at Indy

Published: Sunday, July 29 2012 8:43 p.m. MDT

Jimmie Johnson kisses the yard of bricks after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 on Sunday. auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, July 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Tom Strattman)Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, July 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Tom Strattman)

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Jimmie Johnson fondly recalls watching the Indianapolis 500 as a kid in California, rearranging the couch cushions so he could pretend he was sitting in a race car.

Johnson's grandfather was an A.J. Foyt fan. Johnson liked Rick Mears. And now Johnson might be mentioned in the same breath as those two drivers and other Indy greats.

Johnson stamped another exclamation point on his racing resume Sunday, a dominant drive that ended with his fourth career Brickyard 400 victory.

"I'm able to join racing legends, my heroes and people I looked up to my entire life," Johnson said. "To join them was a huge, huge honor."

With the win, Johnson joined Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon as the only NASCAR drivers to win four times at the historic 2.5-mile track, which has hosted stock car racing since 1994.

The victory also puts Johnson among some top names in the track's record books.

Only three drivers have won four Indianapolis 500s: Foyt, Mears and Al Unser Sr. Formula One ace Michael Schumacher won the U.S. Grand Prix five times on Indy's road course configuration.

Johnson took it all in during a unique family moment of his own after the race, taking a victory lap in a pace car with his wife, his daughter and his crew guys all piled on board.

"You can actually soak in the moment, and look around and realize that you're at the Brickyard — and won — was really special," Johnson said.

And while his daughter, Genevieve, enjoyed playing with a microphone in Johnson's postrace news conference, they couldn't convince her to join in as they completed the tradition of kneeling to kiss the yard of bricks at the start/finish line.

"She wasn't into it," Johnson joked.

Johnson also won the Brickyard in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

"They're that good, and they deserve it," Gordon said.

Kyle Busch finished second, followed by Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon. Polesitter Denny Hamlin was sixth.

FORMULA ONE

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX: At BUDAPEST, Hungary, Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, prolonging McLaren's dominance on the slow and winding Hungaroring circuit.

Hamilton completed Sunday's race in 1 hour, 41 minutes, 5.503 seconds — more than a second ahead of Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen. Romain Grosjean, also of Lotus, was third. It was McLaren's sixth win here in eight years.

"Really fantastic," Hamilton said over the team radio after the race. "Let's try to keep this up."

It was Hamilton's third win in Hungary and second of the season. His victory from pole position again demonstrated the advantage of starting first on a track with few opportunities for passing.

The British driver was in the lead for all but eight laps of the race — briefly falling back after his two tire changes — despite strong challenges from the Lotus pair.

Grosjean was often less than 2 seconds behind Hamilton until he was passed by Raikkonen as the Finn came out of the pit lane after his final tire change on lap 45.

Raikkonen kept the pressure on Hamilton until the end.

"If we were on another track where overtaking was much easier, I think perhaps the result would have been different," Hamilton said about the two Lotus drivers.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who finished fifth, leads the championship with 164 points, followed by the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber with 124 and Sebastian Vettel with 122. Hamilton is fourth with 117, ahead of Raikkonen with 116.

The race was cut to 69 laps from 70, after an extra positioning lap was added when Michael Schumacher's Mercedes stalled on the starting grid.

It was a dreadful race for the seven-time world champion, who was assessed a drive-through penalty for speeding on pit lane and retired after 58 laps while in 18th place.

The Hungaroring race was the last event before a monthlong summer break, resuming with the Belgian Grand Prix on Sept. 2.

autoracing

Race for the Chase

DriverPts.

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 731

2. Matt Kenseth 717

3. Greg Biffle 709

4. Jimmie Johnson 704

5. Denny Hamlin 667

6. Kevin Harvick 653

7. Martin Truex Jr. 653

8. Tony Stewart 652

9. Brad Keselowski 649

10. Clint Bowyer 643

11. Kyle Busch 588

12. Carl Edwards 582

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