After a week off, the 20th race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup season takes us to Indianapolis Motorspeedway for the Brickyard 400.
There have been 20 races on the famed bricks and a Chevrolet has won 15 times, including the past 11. Yes, that isn’t a typo – 11 straight Chevy wins.
Even though drivers like Ryan Newman and Paul Menard have won two of the past three seasons, the norm for Indy has been that only elite drivers win. Eight Brickyard 400 winners have gone on to win a season championship the same year and 15 have won a championship in their careers. I don’t know of any type of track that has the kind of select group.
Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski come in as the LVH SuperBook’s co-favorites at 5-1win and it’s quite understandable. They both lead the season with three wins each. Johnson has four victories on the storied track and a series leading 109.8 driver rating – over five points better than the second best (Tony Stewart 104.1). He was runner-up last season and his four wins there have come in the past eight seasons.
For Keselowski, he gets high marks because of victories in two of the past three races on the season – contributing to a current Ford streak of four straight wins. Prior to that, a Hendrick Chevy had won five straight.
Keselowski is also co-favored because of how well he ran at Pocono Raceway last month where he led the most laps (95) before settling for second. I always equate Indy and Pocono together because of the long straightaways and the tight flat turns, or at least the tight flat turn 3 at Pocono.
All four turns at Indy are flat and we’ve seen a big correlation there from who was strong at the previous Pocono race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first career race at Pocono in June and at 10-1 should be highly considered to get his first career win at the Brickyard. He would join his daddy, the 1995 Indy winner, in elite status. Junior is tied with Keselowski with nine top-5 finishes and series leading 13 top-10’s.
Keselowski is having a championship-type of season and winning the Brickyard would be a great sign that he is title-bound.
At Pocono, eight Chevys finished in the top-10 and it’s likely we’ll see victory for the 12th straight time at the Brickyard on Sunday. Until Menard and Newman, we rarely saw drivers at odds higher than 12-1 win on the bricks, but a few candidates out there make a strong case just because of Pocono and having great Hendrick horsepower.
Indiana native Stewart (15-1), Kyle Larson (25-1) and Las Vegan Kurt Busch (30-1) all have a great shot. Busch finished sixth in his first Indy 500 run in May.
I’m on four-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon at 8-to-1. He won the first race for NASCAR on the fabled track (1994), drives a Chevy, is a past champion and has been running great all season. Everything fits!
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].