Kyle Busch worth another win bet at Brickyard 400
July 18, 2017 3:07 AM
by Micah Roberts
Joe Gibbs Racing finally got a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win last week with Denny Hamlin at New Hampshire – in the 19th race of the season – and they might be poised to win again right away this weekend at the storied grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Brickyard 400.
The past two seasons have seen JGR’s Kyle Busch win on the famed bricks which gave Toyota its first wins there as well. What has me liking Busch more this week than what he’s done so well doing the past two seasons on the flat-2.5 mile layout is what he did at Pocono Raceway last month.
The reason Pocono is used as a comparison is because it’s the only track somewhat similar to Indy. Pocono only has three turns and each with varied banking, but its long straightaway is similar to the frontstretch and backstretch of Indy. The tight Turn 3 at Pocono is also similar to all four of the turns at Indy so crew chiefs can get a nice feel how the car balance should be based on what they saw last month.
In that Pocono race, Ryan Blaney ended up winning his first career race and he did it by an amazing restart with 10 laps to go. Those would be the only 10 laps he’d lead all day and he’d hold off a tenacious Kevin Harvick for the win. Kyle Busch would lead 100 of the 160 laps that day and was leading with 10 laps to go, but was a sitting duck with older tires.
Another angle to consider Busch over some of the upstarts like Ryan Larson, Martin Truex Jr and Blaney is that this has been a race won mostly by champions. In 23 Brickyard 400’s, 19 of them have been won by former Cup champions. And nine times the winner of the Brickyard 400 won the championship in the same year. Busch was the last in 2015.
That’s a pretty slanted angle. Jeff Gordon is the only driver to have raced in all 23 Brickyard 400’s, but he’s fully retired now and holds many of the tracks records, including five wins. He won the inaugural race in 1994 which kind catapulted Gordon and NASCAR to a new level.
Jimmie Johnson is second behind Gordon with four Brickyard wins, the last coming in 2012. Hendrick Motorsports has won there a record nine times. Chase Elliott, whose father Bill won there in 2002, is driving the No. 24 now and this could be a good spot for him to break through for his first win.
A driver to take a look at who may fetch more than 50-1 odds is Kurt Busch who finished fourth at Pocono. Should he win, he would be the fourth driver to win the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same season.