The inaugural Brickyard 400 was raced in 1994 and became the first race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway besides the Indianapolis 500 since 1916. Jeff Gordon was the first-ever winner of the NASCAR event. Through the years, there have been some bizarre incidents (tires exploding), close finishes, and exciting races. In what most consider to be one of the top NASCAR events of the season, which driver has the most Brickyard 400 wins?
Multiple drivers tied for third-most Brickyard 400 wins with two
After Jeff Gordon won the first Brickyard 400 in 1994, the next two years the race was won by a couple of Dales. NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt won the 1995 event beating Rusty Wallace to the finish line and earning his only victory in Indianapolis.
The next year, Dale Jarrett found himself in the winner’s circle, taking the checkered flag under caution and ahead of Ernie Irvan. Jarrett earned his second Brickyard 400 win in 1999 due to a successful pit strategy taking only two tires on a caution with 17 laps to go in the race.
Jarrett is in a third-place tie for Brickyard 400 wins with three other drivers, including Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, and Kyle Busch. Stewart won his pair of Brickyards in 2005 and 2007, while Busch won both of his in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016. Harvick has the longest gap between victories at the track winning his first race in 2003. He didn’t win his second title until 2019, when he also won the pole position.
Jimmie Johnson has won four times at Brickyard 400
Jimmie Johnson comes in at second at the Brickyard 400 with four wins in Indianapolis. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion won his first title in 2006 after qualifying in the fifth spot to start the race.
In 2008, Johnson won the pole position and then won a race that was deemed a “disaster” by NASCAR and Goodyear. Tire problems marred the entire race. With tires on the new Car of Tomorrow wearing down at an exceedingly quick and dangerous rate, which included several exploding, caution came out every 10-12 laps for the duration of the event.
Johnson returned to the winner’s circle in 2009 in a much cleaner race as he held of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin late to capture the title. After qualifying eighth in the 2012 race, Johnson stayed near the front throughout the event and eventually pulled to the front for good and held off Kyle Busch to earn his fourth Brickyard 400 win.
Jeff Gordon earned most victories at Brickyard 400
Jeff Gordon’s victory at the first-ever Brickyard 400 in 1994 was a precursor of things to come. Gordon became the first repeat winner of the event in 1998 when he held off a hard-charging Mark Martin.
Three years later, Gordon once again found his way to victory lane and kissed the bricks. Sterling Marlin finished second. The four-time Cup Series champion continued his pattern of winning the NASCAR event every three or four years, earning his fourth Brickyard 400 title in 2004.
It would be another decade, 2014, before Gordon earned his fifth and final Brickyard 400 win at Indy. Following a caution with just over 20 laps remaining, Gordon proved he had the best car in the field when he got a great start on the restart and led comfortably to the finish. The fifth win at Indianapolis was the 90th victory of Gordon’s Hall of Fame career.
The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis is one of the most heralded races of the NASCAR season and generally brings out the best in the field. With Jimmie Johnson out due to the coronavirus, he won’t be tying his former teammate’s record. It will be interesting to see if maybe Kyle Busch or last year’s winner Kevin Harvick can move into sole possession of third-most Brickyard 400 wins at the fabled track.