Jimmie Johnson accused of desecrating Brickyard

August 1, 2012
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Long after the NASCAR haulers have left Speedway late Sunday night and Monday morning, a group of racing fans are still fuming over the way Brickyard 400 champ Jimmie Johnson celebrated his record-tying fourth Brickyard 400 victory.

Some—mainly open-wheel aficionados—are charging Johnson and his crew with “desecrating” the famed yard of bricks.

The exuberant Johnson did the customary NASCAR burnout after Sunday’s race. But as part of the celebration, Johnson put the nose of his car into the pit wall at the start/finish line and burned smelly, stinky rubber all over and right on top of the historic three-feet wide yard of bricks.

The burning celebration burned a spot into many Hoosiers hearts.

The celebration shown on network television lit up the social networks with more than a few complaints. Many complained Johnson showed a lack of respect for the track and its heritage and the historical significance of that hallowed ground where he burned rubber. More than a few called Johnson “classless” and downright “rude.”

“I had no issues with his smoky burnout down the front straight that included the three feet of brick at the flag stand. Nor was I concerned with Brad Keselowski’s burnout after his nationwide win, or any burnout done after a win. Smokey, stinky burnouts are cool and a huge part of racing. Celebrate, but don’t roast them right on top of the bricks. That’s just disrespectful,” wrote motorsports blogger Eric Hall.

The complainants’ hackles were raised further when Johnson and his crew appeared to sign their names on the yard of bricks after the race. Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman Doug Boles said he wasn’t aware of the signing.

“That is not a normal part of the celebration,” Boles said, adding that he was going to check the yard of bricks himself to see if there were signatures there. It’s unclear what was going to be done if there were signatures on the hallowed ground.

Aside from the abnormal ground-level autograph session, Boles said IMS officials had no problem with Johnson’s celebration, adding “it doesn’t hurt the [structural] integrity of the yard of bricks.”

“It’s no different than when they do the burnout on the Daytona 500 logo on the infield in Daytona,” Boles said.

Boles thinks criticism of Johnson’s post-race celebration is unfair.

“People who were upset by this should listen to Jimmie’s comments,” Boles said. “There’s not a driver in the NASCAR paddock who understands and respects the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway more than Jimmie Johnson. He grew up wanting to race here. He reveres this place.”

If Johnson reveres the Speedway, many open-wheel followers think he has a funny way of showing it.

"I do not doubt JJ’s knowledge of the history and lore of the Speedway and I am positive he understands the importance of the facility to Indianapolis area residents, American open-wheel fanatics and the larger motorsports community as a whole” Hall wrote. “But any machines other than open-wheelers during May are visitors in our house and they should respect the Brickyard as such.”

  • Seriously?
    Lighten up. It's not the altar in a cathedral. And I hope he DID sign the bricks...if IMS is smart, they'll invite all the other four-time winners to do the same.
    • NASCAR = No Class
      It should not come as a suprise. IMS almost desrves what it gets. At one time, when Tony George took over and began great works at the IMS, the speedway was the epitomy of class. Not so much now. It has jumped the shark. NASCAR is crass, borish, ugly, and classless. I went to the race and found it boring and dirty. NASCAR is low-brow, really. That is just how it is. And burnouts are cliche'. They appeal to lower class people.
    • Tony George
      and his band of gomers desecrated the track
    • Jimmie Johnson
      Thundermutt.....right on!
    • burning rubber
      big deal.
    • Borish?
      Burl, your name is borish, ugly, and crass. The fans at the Brickyard are much easier to deal with than the fans at the Indianapolis 500. You obviously do not know what you are talking about (snakepit). I have been going to both races for over 25 years, and I have seen things at the 500 that would make the devil blush. What do you know...obviously nothing about that track and its history!! Write about doll babies or something.
    • And I wonder how big of an issue this really is among race fans. A group and many are hard terms to define. 10, 20 30 people? While I am not sure burning rubber on the bricks is a great idea and I am not really sure Johnson knew he was on the bricks when he did it, it is not a big deal. I like the idea of four time winners signing the bricks, but they would last exactly until the next race and the ink would be worn off. You would have to use some heavy duty sealer to try to preserve the signature.
      Heck ya!! Burn rubber baby...agree with thundermutt. Lighten up people. Burning rubber is their celebration and excitement. Go big or go home!
    • Don't Hate
      Most people don't like that He's a 5 Time Champ....let alone tie Gordon's record....GET OVER IT!!!
    • Agree with Burl
      NASCAR just seems low class and crass. No two ways about it. No matter how hard their fans wish to be considered mainstream, the majority of people out there laugh at NASCAR and its fans and reagrd it as "hillbilly", low class. That is just how it is. All one has to do is look at the Jabba The Hut's in Dale Sr. and Dale Jr. t-shirts with the Rosanne Barrr-ish wives wearing dirty flip-flops and giving the finger to Jeff Gordon when we drives past to understand that. Dirty, unkept, poorly-educated people is the "NASCAR" image most non-racing fans have of the sport and its people. The mainstream drivers counter this image until soembody does something hillbilly like Jimmie Johnson did. NASCAR racing will always be regarded as a hick sport in America for lower-class illeterate-type people. That is just how it is, true or not. Partly true.
      • Source Material
        Good discussion going on here! If your interested in the source article for my quotes follow the link. http://anotherindycarblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/burnouts-and-fandom-at-ims/
      • WOW Reggerio
        You really hurt my feelings. I have been watching NASCAR for several years besides being a Club 94 member of the IMS Brickyard 400. We are not hillbilly, low class. I am a mediam income maker and mother of 2 children, live in a median priced home and don't wear dirty flip-flops. I am also a 30 year ticket holder for the Indy 500. You can find the same type of fans you are describing in your comments at the Indy 500 as well. You must watch NASCAR from time to time in order to complain about the fans and their looks!
      • Not everyone, PO
        I didn't say everyone who watches NASCAR races fits the stereotype. I did not even say I agree. However, that is the public perception of NASCAR and the fans who follow it. The public perception on IndyCar racing is one of a sophisticated fanbase. That is not entirely true either. Plenty of lowlife-type images to be seen every May. It also depends on where one is at in viewing a NASCAR race. I have been to Dover and saw a very nice, All-American crowd, mostly family-types. Same with the track near Kansas City. Out in Calfifornia, at Fontana, where I attended races three years in a row, the crowd was brutally low class and filthy. Things observed at the Fontana race: 1- Soiled underwear (and I mean a pants full) left at the entrance to the men's room. 2 - Soiled baby diaper tossed in the walkway in front of the mainstretch grandstands during the final laps the year Biffle won. 3 -Drunken, bare-chested man throwing up on stairway leading from main grandstands after race and then laughing about it. 4 - Two drunken "gang-banger types" fist-fighting until the Police arrives and then running off in different directions, laughing at the cops. 5- A woman breast-feeding her infant during the race. 6 - Several fans at various times throwing their trash over the main grandstand railings down to the walkway below. 7 - A comment from one of the Sprint vendors that "NASCAR fans are the filthiest people I have ever seen in sports". I attended the 2002 through 2005 IRL races at Fontana, and the 2002 Nazareth, 2006 Homsestead, and 2008 Chicagoland races, and saw no such activity. At all. Period. Sorry I offended you PO. That was not my intent. You are most likely the type of fan the sport wants and needs. But perception is everything. NASCAR perception = low class.
      • As Will I AM said 500 years ago
        much ado about nothing. He foresaw the wretched state of American racing back then.
      • Class. Get Some.
        The problem with Johnson's burnout atop the yard of bricks is twofold. 1) It reinforces the stereotype that NASCAR participants are classless rednecks who yee-haw their way to almost everything. 2) If it was not for IMS, there would be no NASCAR as we know it. The genesis for their racing today came about after Bill France visited IMS (and got tossed by Clarence Cagle for using fraudulent credentials) and was inspired by the visit to build Daytona. Therefore, the least someone the supposed caliber of Jimmie Johnson can do is show a little respect If the yard of bricks is sacred enough to kiss, why act like a teenager in a hot car? My grandaddy always used to suggest I should never $#!+ where I eat. Perhaps NASCAR's finest should learn that lesson.
      • For once, I agree...
        ...with Disciple. Unimaginable. He just called it like it is.
      • Arlington National Cemetery
        is sacred. The brickyard not so much. If it was sacred you wouldn't drive on it. much ado about nothing
      • But it sure is fun
        seeing the gomeratti all up in a wad. After all, if it wasn't for NASCAR, the IRL would have never been borned.
      • We Can Always Count on Nutty Responses Here
        One of the most whacko comparisons apologists tend to concoct is IMS and Arlington National Cemetary. Huh? Apples and asphalt. Zero legitimate comparison. In terms of motor sports, IMS has earned the respect it deserves. Pollution of bricks with some juvenile display of immaturity insults those of us who hold it in esteemed regard.
      • History, understand it
        Tony George brought NASCAR to race at Indy...all other history is negated by that simple fact. BIll France or Clarence Cagle are irrelevant. These times are-a-changin'. IMS sold all the place fans out to the almighty DOLLAR. So, don't blame Jimmy Johnson or NASCAR...they paid their money so they can do what they please. Blame IMS management, it's all their fault.
      • Respect For The Institution That Gave Them Life
        If the times they are a' changin'....why can't you and your little friends get past the split? Look, I appreciate NASCAR's money flowing into the great track, but if they respect the place as much as they claim they need to put a lid on celebrating like 15-year-old kids in a Wal-Mart parking lot at 10pm on a Friday.
      • Sure...
        Climbing the fences, driving around on a "Polish" victory lap...all tarnished the precious "brickyard" tradition. But you were ok with that? Jimmy Johnson didn't act in some premeditated fashion to destroy Indy's traditions. It was a victory celebration. Grow up place fans, stop acting like pouting teenagers.
      • You Have a Choice
        I don't mind fence climbing. I don't mind 'polish victory laps.' I don't mind most any form of spontaneity. I don't even mind burnouts. Just keep that nonsense away from the yard of bricks. Those of us who actually 'get' the aura of the place understand why. Those who don't? Who cares. I can't really do anything about the ignorance (in many cases willful) of others.
      • Explain why tar burnin is so bad?
        Then what is the beef? A guy celebrates a win with a burnout (not out of character for even AOW ala doughnuts etc) and because he does it by the start-finish line where the stands might not be empty, it's a sacrilege? So, you allow the lips of hundreds of southern NASCAR series families, owners, children, even Dario's dogs (and wife) kiss, lick, hug and dance upon them bricks....yet a guy does a burnout in celebration and it's irreverent to the great altar of Indy? I think some folks need some sensory impairment treatment/counseling. You've been allowing desecration for decades...and now it is all of a sudden bad?
      • Your Synapses Are Not Firing on All Cylinders
        This is a lot like attempting to explain molecular biology to a special needs class. So I'll simplify it as much as possible: People kneeling and kissing the bricks = a sign of respect. Drivers going all Dukes of Hazzard on top of them = a sign of disrespect. I would like to suggest to future NASCAR winners that they concentrate on rubbing out all remnants of the old F-1 starting grid lines instead.
      • F1 start grid lines
        Bwahhahahaha...another desecration allowed. They are bricks, dood. Let it go....where was IMS management in all of this? Isn't it in the contract that no-man shall burn rubber upon the sacred bricks? Belskus should resign IMMEDIATELY! Place blame where it should be...with IMS management. NASCAR and JJ did nothing wrong. Heck, if it rained, the rubber would wash right off them stupid bricks anyway. Untwist your shorts fella!
      • 2 + 2 = 17
        LOL. Only your little handful could possibly concoct a link between Jimmie Johnson's lack of respect and the job Belskus is perceived to be doing. That little whacko world of yours seems like the Almight's own private little mystery.
      • No Wonder Folks Watch It On TV
        The drivers seem to enjoy it. That said...nothing like being there in person. And the leg room is nice.
      • New Tradition: Peeling out on the bricks!
        I vote this is newest bestest Indy tradition! It drives the place-fan old farts nuts! There, now Belskus can take credit for it. And, all the old farts can go the way of evolution. Just like the iMS wants. new generation, new stuff, new interest. Not your old stuffy IMS. I like it! They are now 'hip'.
      • Obviously a slow month
        at the Dipsicles unread blog
      • I will donate $500 to Charity
        for every driver that donuts the bricks.
      • Because it's so much fun
        watching gomerratti have conniption fits.
      • NASCAR = Bleh
        NASCAR is too Hee Haw for me. I am a stick and ball guy and have been for forty-plus years. But I do repsect some forms of auto racing. And I do think the drivers are certainly athletes. They are fit and it is physically tough. I am not ignorant. I know the effort must be a ton to drive a race car at most places. And it is a very competitive sport. I get all that. We went to the NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year, and I also went to a NASCAR race at the big track in Michigan one year, it was summer 2008. I was a guest of my company for that one. Free tix and beer. Not too bad. Although the race was really dull and I almost took a nap. The one thing that kept coming to mind at that race and the Brickyard thing: NASCAR tries to be trendy and hip. They set it up to seem cool and edgy. But it is not. Everything about it seems sort of faked. Contrived. It still is a hick-type sport. I don't get why they have that race at Indy. I associate that track with the Indianapolis 500. Fast, sleek. NASCAR seems too country-bumpkin and clunky for a place like that. I'll watch Daytona every year and usually the last race if there is a champion to be crowned. Other than that, why? I just ask why all the NASCAR? It is so dull.
      • TF
        is melting down nicely with all the normal "place fan" handwringing about the this new tardition. As usual Defender has shown he cares more for some bricks than an actual race. Typical for a fan of his ilk. Comparing the bricks to a monument is priceless to me. I commend nascar for bringing their own tarditions and creating one of their own with the burnout on the bricks thingy. That is Vibrant!
      • All this drama
        over some baked mud. Hilarious
      • Nascar vs indy
        most indy car driver are rich ass hole who only think about #1 unlike most nascar drivers who give a lot more with less then them you have never been pour unlike me and how some of nascar drivers grow up and he did it to honar the brickyard

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