NASCAR Nation in Town
With the Indianapolis 500 racing right in our backyard, car enthusiasts can count on that get-your-motor-running excitement every May. And that’s not all! Since 1994, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has played host to one of NASCAR’s toughest races called the Brickyard 400 for short. This year, NASCAR Nation will descend on IMS for the weekend of festivities beginning Thursday, July 23, culminating with the running of the Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 26.
Big Beginnings for Brickyard 400
In 1991, legendary driver A.J. Foyt and IMS President Tony George take a joy ride around the prestigious Indy track in Foyt’s NASCAR Winston Cup car. Soon tongues are wagging and mental wheels are turning over how to bring stock car racing to Indy. The inaugural Brickyard 400 takes place three years later in front of the largest crowd ever assembled for a NASCAR event. A young rookie by the name of Jeff Gordon grabs the checkered flag and one of the largest purses for a NASCAR race to date.
It’s a Super Weekend at the Brickyard
The Brickyard 400 has grown from a single race to an entire weekend devoted to stock car racing. Fans stream into the raceway for four days to listen to music, participate in fan events and watch the parade of race car haulers. They witness NASCAR practice rounds while drivers get down to business with race qualifiers as well as the 100 lap Lilly Diabetes 250 race. Then, drivers take to the track for the main event: a 160 lap race for the Brickyard 400 trophy.
Jeff Gordon Holds Record for Most Wins
Many famous drivers have crossed the finish line at the Brickyard 400. Besides being the first winner, Jeff Gordon holds several other distinctions. He is the youngest driver to win at 23 years old, and he has the most wins with a total of five, including last year’s race. Bill Elliott holds the title of the oldest winner at 46 years old when he won in 2002.
Pucker Up and Kiss Those Bricks
In 1996 Dale Jarrett and his racing crew start the tradition of the winner and crew kissing the row of bricks at the start/ finish line. Winners and their crews have been lining up to plant a big one on the bricks ever since. This brick-a-licious photo op eventually became a tradition at the Indy 500 as well.
Girl Power Comes to the Brickyard
Who are we to leave women out? Danica Patrick is the only woman to qualify and race in the Brickyard 400, in 2013 and 2014. Shauna Robinson attempted to qualify back in 2001. Still these ladies opened the doors for many future female drivers.
Jeff Kyle – American Hero Presents Winner’s Trophy
The official name for this year’s race honors U.S. Marine Jeff Kyle. Sergeant Kyle was deployed numerous times to Iraq and Africa where he earned the Navy Achievement Medal for leading the first Marine detachment to transport a nuclear submarine through hostile waters. Since retiring, Kyle now dedicates his life to bringing awareness to veterans’ needs through the charitable organization, Guardian for Heroes Foundation. Kyle is the brother of CPO and U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle whose life is immortalized in the movie, “American Sniper.”
Let’s Go Racing at the Brickyard 400
This Super Weekend is sure to be a NASCAR lover’s dream. Only at IMS can you cram this much into one weekend: Fun events, great entertainment and fantastic racing all come together at the Brickyard 400. Race fans unite. As motorsports analyst Darrell Waltrip loves to say, "Boogity, boogity, boogity, let's go racing boys and girls!"
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