Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly--Inaugural Brickyard 400

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew went back to the archives (black and white stills, mainly) to dissect the inaugural Brickyard 400. This is what The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly would have looked like at the inaugural Brickyard 400.


Jeff Gordon: as the race winner, he automatically gets first billing. He led the most laps en route to etching his name in the history books as the inaugural champion of the Brickyard 400. Great calls by his crew chief Ray Evernham throughout the race. Quite a feat for the second-year driver. Good job Jeff!

Brett Bodine: he was stout, and led laps in the race, but didn't quite have enough for Gordon and the Rainbow Warriors.

Bill Elliott: another stout driver, he led laps and was pretty much in contention throughout the race.

Rusty Wallace: he started 12th and climbed and clawed his way into contention. He got stronger as the race went on, but didn't have quite enough to get the win. Still, fourth is a very good showing.

Dale Earnhardt: the Intimidator got the five bonus points for leading a lap. He started third and stayed in the top 5 for much of the race. He was very consistent throughout.

Honorable mention: Todd Bodine, Lake Speed, Ted Musgrave, Ernie Irvan (who might have won if he hadn't cut a tire late in the race), Greg Sacks, Rick Mast.


Mark Martin: he had issues throughout the day, making it a long one for the Roush Racing driver. What made it even worse is that he started 10th. He finished 35th, 20 laps down.

Harry Gant: Handsome Harry was bad from the time the crew unloaded the car until the race was over. He qualified 42nd. The team totally missed on the setup and in spite of leading a lap, the car had issues later in the race. He would finish 37th, 27 laps down.

Jeff Purvis: his day went south when he had issues. Although his crew was able to fix the car and he was able to finish, he finished 34th, 18 laps down.


Jimmy Spencer: his day ended early when on Lap 9, he was involved in an accident. Jimmy, we hardly knew ye. He finished DFL. Dead Freaking Last.

Geoffrey Bodine/Dale Jarrett: these two were involved in an accident that ended their days on Lap 99. Bodine was running well at the time, having picked up five bonus points for leading at least one lap, and had started in the top 10. Very unfortunate for both drivers, as both were on their way to solid finishes.

That was the analysis of the Crappafoni Pictures crew as they pored over the archives of that race. What struck the crew was the number of Ford drivers there were. About half the field were running Fords. Pontiac was running five cars in that race, and the remainder were Chevrolets. What also struck this observer was how Jeff Gordon has been able to transition from one era to another smoothly. At the time of the inaugural race, Gordon was running with Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Dave Marcis, Harry Gant, Morgan Shepherd, and several other great drivers of that earlier era. There was no COT, no SAFER barriers, and the racing was freer. Now, Gordon is the grizzled veteran and statesman. He runs with young bucks like Kyle Busch, Joey Logano (who was only a toddler at the time of that inaugural race), Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski. The COT is here. There are SAFER barriers throughout the track. It remains to be seen how good the racing will be on Sunday.


  1. That was a great blow by blow jon. Hard to imagine Jeff Gordon as a grissly veteran, he still looks like a boy.

    Still remember Irvin losing a tire as he was trying to pass Gordon late. I am having a hard time to think of another Brickyard that had a barn burner finish. You probably can dig that up.


  2. Just watched this race on ESPN Classic...great GBU of the past Jon.

    Unfortunately I agree with RL -- not too much barn burning going on at Indy since...I hope we dont have a bunch of single file tire blow outs.

  3. RL, thanks! Irvin losing a tire WAS a real heartbreaker! Had that race gone another quarter mile, we'd be talking Brett *((*&* Bodine as the inaugural winner! Gordon still has those boyish looks, but if you look closely, there's very small patches of snow. Hard to believe that ALL THREE Bodine Brothers are mentioned, and TWO of them are either Good or Honorable Mention Good! (Including one who had a S&P Meeting Room named after him!)

    Kristen, thanks! Except for the inaugural race, the race itself hasn't lived up to the hype. I may periodically do GBUs of past races.