INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Harvick’s nearly flawless run yesterday ruined any chance of Jimmie Johnson executing his in-and-in playoff strategy.
A crash with 55 laps to go made it official: Johnson’s perfect postseason record is over.
On a day Harvick won the pole, led all but 42 laps and raced to his second Brickyard 400 victory, Johnson pulled his familiar No. 48 car through pit road and parked it in Gasoline Alley — without a playoff spot for the first time since NASCAR introduced the format in 2004.
“I think our car had good pace. Just these restarts are so crazy with this rules package,” the seven-time Cup champion said after being released from the infield medical center. “Everybody’s trying to get everything they can and we came out on the bad side of the deal there in turn two.”
The result: Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman claimed the final two spots in the 16-driver field, and Daniel Suarez fell four points short of becoming the first Mexican-born driver to make the playoffs that begin next weekend in Las Vegas.
Harvick beat Joey Logano by 6.118 seconds.
Johnson wasn’t the only driver having trouble yesterday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Defending race winner Brad Keselowski wound up climbing out of the cockpit on his knees after his car and Erik Jones’ touched, sending Keselowski sideways into a tire barrier. Neither driver was seriously injured. Two-time race winner and regular-season champion Kyle Busch parked his car on pit road after blowing an engine.
Johnson started the day 18th in points, two spots and 18 points below the cutline and was still down 12 points when the third and final stage began. Then came an eight-car melee that ended Johnson’s long-shot effort.
It started with Johnson and William Byron running side-by-side through the second turn. Johnson’s car spun in front of Kurt Busch, sending both into the outside wall.
“I’m not stoked by the situation at all,” Johnson said, referring to the streak. “I am impressed that we have been in 15 consecutive playoffs. I’m not sure anybody else has done that. So, our record doesn’t stink. We wish we could have kept it going, but life goes on.”
It was one of six crashes in a race that had 48 of 160 laps run under caution.
Major League BaseballCardinals knock off Pirates
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jack Flaherty had another strong start in his scintillating second half, scattering five hits over eight electric innings to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday.
The Cardinals dominated the Pirates this season, capturing 14 of the 19 meetings.
Pro tennisNadal, Andreescu claim
U.S. Open championships
NEW YORK (AP) — Rafael Nadal held off a strong comeback bid to win his 19th Grand Slam title by edging Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in a thrilling men’s U.S. Open final that lasted nearly five hours yesterday.
On Saturday, Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu built a big lead and then held on to upset Serena Williams 6-3, 7-5 in the women’s U.S. Open final for her first Grand Slam title.
Andreescu’s victory Saturday prevented Williams from claiming what would have been her record-tying 24th major singles championship.
This is the second year in a row that Williams has lost in the U.S. Open final.
She has now been the runner-up at four of the seven majors she has entered since returning to the tour after having a baby two years ago.
Andreescu displayed the same sort of big serving and big hitting that Williams usually does. Williams was not at her best, either, getting tight at key moments, including double-faulting on the last point of three games to get broken.
The 19-year-old Andreescu is the first woman to win the U.S. Open in her tournament debut in the Open era, which began in 1968.