Posted By: David Morgan – Follow at @damorgan86
July 24, 2014
With the final off weekend of the season complete, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series teams turn their attention to Indianapolis and this weekend’s running of the Brickyard 400 and the Indiana 250 for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway “Super Weekend,” with action from both series as well as sports car racing on the historic 2.5 mile track.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at The Brickyard
Seven races remain until the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup and one of the crown jewel events on the schedule looms large for the Sprint Cup Series field. The long straightaways and flat corners of the historic track will put man and machine to the test as the drivers fight for the right to be called a winner at Indianapolis. Horsepower, as well as track position will play a key role in Sunday’s race as passing is at a premium at the track. Those that start near the front of the field more often than not are the ones that find themselves in victory lane. Another thing to keep an eye on is the fact that Indianapolis is a huge barometer for who will win the championship that given year as the winner at Indianapolis has gone on to win the championship eight times.
Who To Watch:
Tony Stewart – Indianapolis marks the place that Stewart has found some of his best success, even though a win eluded him for so long. In the 15 years that Stewart has raced at Indianapolis in the NSCS, he has scored two wins, seven top-five finishes, 11 top-10 finishes, one pole, 227 laps led, and an average finish of 7.9, best among active drivers in the Cup garage. Each and every time Stewart sets foot on the hallowed ground of Indianapolis, he steps up his game and this weekend could finally be the weekend that he returns to victory lane for his first win of the season.
Jeff Gordon – Another driver that has excelled at Indianapolis is Gordon, who has won four times at the track, including the inaugural running in 1994. With a win under his belt already in 2014, Gordon heads to Indianapolis looking to secure more bonus points for the Chase and move himself into the top spot for wins at Indianapolis, which he currently shares with teammate Jimmie Johnson. In 20 starts at Indianapolis and the four wins to his name, Gordon has also racked up 11 top-five finishes, 16 top-10 finishes, three poles, 488 laps led, and an average finish of 8.8.
Kevin Harvick – Without a doubt, Harvick has been the fastest man off the track week in and week out this season and he has two wins to back that up. Though Harvick has had a handful of other wins slip from his grasp, Indianapolis could mark a place for him to return to victory lane once more. In 13 starts at Indianapolis, Harvick has one win, four top-five finishes, seven top-10 finishes, one pole, 94 laps led, and an average finish of 10.9. With the success he has had at Indianapolis as well as the speed he has shown thus far in 2014, Harvick should definitely be one of the drivers to beat on Sunday.
Kyle Busch – Though he has never visited victory lane at Indianapolis, there is always a first time for everything and Sunday could mark that first Indy win for Busch. With one win already in 2014, Busch looks to add his name to the prestigious list of Indianapolis winners. In nine starts, Busch has two top-five finishes, seven top-10 finishes, 42 laps led, and an average finish of 11.6
Greg Biffle – Roush-Fenway Racing may be struggling this season, but for Greg Biffle, Indianapolis could bring some needed change to help him into the Chase. Though the Fords of RFR seem to be down on horsepower compared to the Chevrolets, which will hurt him at a track like Indianapolis, Biffle does have some pretty good stats to fall back on. In 11 starts, Biffle has finished in the top-five three times and top-10 six times, along with 53 laps led and an average finish of 13.2.
Honorable Mention: Jimmie Johnson – Joining his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon atop the winner’s list at Indianapolis with four wins is Johnson, who always seems to be a contender at the track. Though Johnson’s average finish, 15.6 in 12 starts, doesn’t reflect that success, Johnson will be a force to be reckoned with on Sunday. Along with his four wins, Johnson has five top-five finishes, six top-10 finishes, one pole, and 302 laps led. While he is tied with Brad Keselowski with three wins on the season, that could all change after 400 miles at Indianapolis.