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For Brickyard, think Pocono

Jul 22, 2008 7:04 PM

Finish Line by Micah Roberts | Fresh from a week off, NASCARís Sprint Cup circuit hits famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Allstate Brickyard 400 this Sunday.

Itís no coincidence that the very rise of NASCAR at Indy with the Brickyard race came at a time that saw a marked downturn in popularity for both the Indianapolis 500 and open wheel racing. This edition of the Brickyard 400 figures to be no less competitive from previous years. The one difference will be that this will mark the first time a Car of Tomorrow race is held at Indy.

Normally we compare the past results of Pocono to the Indy since the link between the two tracks is strong due to the common long straightaways and flat, tight turns. Even though this is the COT debut, itís not hard to come up with a few candidates for success off past Pocono results.

The favorite at Station Casinos is Kasey Kahne, who is worthy of his 4-1 odds on the strength of his June 8 victory at Pocono. In that victory Kahne was the dominant racer, having led the most laps.

With horsepower being the major component at both tracks, itís wise to look at the big money teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing to be at or near the top. A nice longshot, however, at Indy could be Brian Vickers. The 25-1 shot for the Brickyard finished second at Pocono.

Denny Hamlin, who was third at Pocono, goes off at 8-1 along with Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Johnson finished sixth at Pocono, despite leading the race more than any other driver aside from Kahne. Earnhardt, second in the points chase to Kyle Busch, placed fourth at Pocono.

As for Busch, he posted his worst result of the season at Pocono, finished dead last after being involved in an early accident. Still, off Kyleís phenomenal season that included a victory at Chicago in the last Sprint Cup race prior to Indy, he rates the second choice at 9-2.

Carl Edwards, who won the Nationwide event last week in St. Louis, stands at 7-1 for the Brickyard. Edwards finished ninth at Pocono and probably wonít figure in the Top 5 this week.

The Indy race is especially big for Earnhardt, who trails Busch by 162 points in the points chase. Jeff Burton, who finished fifth at Pocono, is 291 behind in third place. Edwards and Johnson round out the top five. Kyleís brother, Kurt Busch, was eighth in the Pocono race.

Micah Roberts has been the Race & Sports Director at Station Casinos and a contributing writer to GamingToday for the last 11 years.

Copyright 2008 GamingToday
at Indianapolis
1. #9 Kasey Kahne 4-1
2. #11 Denny Hamlin 8-1
3. #48 Jimmie Johnson 8-1
4. #83 Brian Vickers 25-1
5. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr 8-1


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