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Jimmie Johnson leads NASCAR Brickyard 400 at halfway point

Stock Car RacingAuto RacingJimmie JohnsonDale Earnhardt, Jr.Tony StewartRyan NewmanJoe Gibbs Racing

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jimmie Johnson was the halfway leader in his quest to win a record fifth NASCAR Brickyard 400 on Sunday.

Johnson led 43 of the first 80 laps of the 160-lap race on an unseasonably cool day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The temperature was 68 degrees when the race started.

Carl Edwards was running second, pole-sitter Ryan Newman was third, Kasey Kahne was fourth and two-time Brickyard 400 winner Tony Stewart was running fifth.

Kyle Busch had climbed to eighth after starting 19th in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who started 15th, found trouble early when he had a loose tire on his No. 88 Chevrolet and was forced to pit after only 12 laps.

But Earnhardt caught a break when the caution flag appeared on Lap 59, enabling him to get back on the same lap as the leaders. He was running 13th.

Danica Patrick was running 32nd in the 43-car field, one lap down to the leaders.

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