Page last updated on Sat Dec 20 11:30:51 EST 2014
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 04:41 PM EDT

Seven races remain until the NASCAR Cup Series reaches the Chase, or the postseason if you will. After enjoying the last weekend off, the drivers get back to work at famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where they’ve been coming once annually for the Brickyard 400 ever since ’94. There has been just a short list of dominant drivers here historically, with Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett sharing honors in the early years and since passing the torch on to Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. In fact, those latter two have won the last five races at Indy and for good reason are listed as the favorites for Sunday according to Odds

When NASCAR’s Cup Series last left you, it was David Reutimann basking in the limelight of a second career win. This time around however, it was no fluke, as he was upfront for most of the 400, a much different scenario to his first win at Charlotte in 2009, a rain-shortened event. Perhaps more important to Reutimann than the win was the ground he made up in the points standings. He was able to climb two spots up to 15th and now finds himself just 96-points out of the Chase behind Clint Bowyer. In between him and Bowyer are Dale Earnhardt, Jr (-15) and Mark Martin (-37). At this point, you’d have to believe that anyone beyond Kasey Kahne (-120) in 17th is in trouble. Remaining at the top of the standings is Kevin Harvick, 103 points out in front of Jeff Gordon. Jimmie Johnson (-188), Denny Hamlin (-203) and Kurt Busch (-221) round out the top 5. Las Vegas Odds

With just seven races remaining to qualify for the Chase, this race takes on significance, perhaps even more than usual, since Indianapolis’ sister track, Pocono Raceway, also is on the upcoming schedule. Drivers that fare well at this 2-1/2 mile flat superspeedway typically do well at Pocono, which has similar features. That said, a victory this week is a much-coveted one, both for the pageantry of the host venue, the Brickyard, as well as the prize money disbursed to the winner. As is usually the case, the stars tend shine brightest on the biggest stage, as the last seven winners of this race are mega-stars. Jimmie Johnson & Tony Stewart have won the last five Brickyard 400’s, with Johnson being the defending two-time champion. Jeff Gordon won the 2004 event and Kevin Harvick reached Victory Lane in 2003. Of course, those latter two are currently the 2010 standings.It’s interesting to note that Johnson, winner of three of the last four races here, went on to his first of four straight series titles after taking home his first Checkered Flag from Indy. In fact, that feat has happened now eight times in 16 years, further signifying the importance of winning the Brickyard 400.

The 2009 race was described as “boring”, with a record-low tying nine lead changes and only three cautions disrupting the green flag action. However, for Indy officials, the results were just fine when considering the debacle of 2008, when tire problems dominated the race. They were so severe that the longest green flag run was 12 laps. Goodyear has done continuous testing in the two years since and judging by the lack of trouble a year ago, the tire problems seem to be behind them. That said, there are still many fans that may be growing weary of Indy anyhow. The racing at the Brickyard has always been more conducive to open-wheel cars. As for the stock cars, track positioning and pit strategy have always been key at IMS, as the minimal banking on the track has mandated cautious driving with minimal passing. Naturally, fans aren’t turned on by that type of racing.

Most experts believe that there is only a slight difference between the car setups used at Indianapolis to those at Pocono. Keep that in mind when handicapping, since coincidentally, another trip to Pocono follows this week’s event. The top three in the June race at Pocono were Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Tony Stewart. Looking at the results at the two tracks combined in the COT (since ’08), you’ll find Jimmie Johnson atop the heap in almost every key statistical category. In seven total races, he leads in Poles (2), Wins (2), Average Finish (5.1), Top 5’s (4), Top 10’s (6), and Laps Led (241). It’s no wonder that oddsmakers have established him as the 7-2 favorite. Stewart is next at 7-1, and he boasts four Top 5’s as well in that 7-race stretch, along with an average finish of 11.0. Denny Hamlin is listed at 8-1, with 222 laps led and four Top 5’s. However, his success has come mostly at Pocono, with his average finish at Indy in four career starts just 17.3.

Beyond the three favorites in terms of stats and odds, you’ll find a handful of other drivers capable of competing for the win on Sunday. Jeff Gordon, at 8-1 heads that list. He has a remarkable 10 Top 5’s in 2010, though he’s yet to reach Victory Lane. Having spent time in his childhood in Indiana, many consider this Gordon’s home track, and he could break the winless drought on Sunday. It would be his career-leading 5th Indy win. Kyle Busch also shares 8-1 odds, although he has not won in five Inday starts, and has averaged just a 24.6 finish in the seven flat superspeedway races in the COT. Juan Montoya (12-1), Kevin Harvick (12-1), Jeff Burton (14-1), Carl Edwards (20-1) and Kasey Kahne (20-1)will wrap up my own personal short list of contenders for the weekend. Typically, a driver has to be either running very well at the time, or have a rich history at Indy to win the Brickyard 400. All five meet one or both of that criteria. Of the group, Kahne & Edwards are the only winners at a track like this in the last seven COT races, though Montoya has threatened to win and seems to love coming back to the Brickyard, a track he ran while in open wheel racing. The Childress guys, Harvick and Burton, are running very well over the last month. Scores

Among the drivers you may want to avoid this week, at least in terms of the numbers, are Kurt Busch (12-1), Matt Kenseth (25-1), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (30-1), Martin Truex (35-1), and Jamie McMurray (35-1).Busch has surprisingly bad numbers at Pocono and Indy in the COT, with an average finish of 23.6 and two DNF’s. Kenseth is struggling to put things together during his break-in period with his new crew chief, and has averaged just 15.7 in the past seven flat superspeedway races. Junior, Truex, and McMurray are longshots as the odds suggest, and have combined for only three Top 10 finishes and 17 laps led in 21 starts.

This week’s qualifying for the Brickyard 400 begins Saturday at 10:10 AM ET, with the race green flag scheduled for Sunday at 1:19 PM ET. With track position being critical, the qualifying usually plays a huge factor, with eight of the previous 16 winners starting in the top 5. Jimmie Johnson started 16th a year ago and won. No winner has ever come from worse than the 27th starting spot. Johnson has also finished 3rd in ’09, and 1st in ’08 in Happy Hour, so if he demonstrates similar speed this weekend in practice, look out. As always, the StatFox NASCAR FoxSheet, Driver Pages, and Matchup Analyzer are ready to prepare you for all of the racing action…

Sponsored Links

Download Printable Schedules
Now you can download and print schedules for each sport so you can plan ahead and track your results.
FOOTBALL: 8/3/2014 - 11/3/2014
11/4/2014 - 2/1/2015
BASKETBALL 12/16/2014 - 1/12/2015
11/13/2014 - 12/15/2014
HOCKEY 12/15/2014 - 1/12/2015
11/13/2014 - 12/15/2014
RK Team
Philadelphia Eagles
San Diego Chargers
Ul - Lafayette
Germany - BundesligaSCHALKE 04 vs. HAMBURGER06:30 AM PST
Germany - BundesligaB LEVERKUSEN vs. E FRANKFURT06:30 AM PST
Germany - BundesligaAUGSBURG vs. B MÖNCHENGLADBACH06:30 AM PST
Germany - BundesligaW BREMEN vs. B DORTMUND06:30 AM PST
Germany - BundesligaSTUTTGART vs. PADERBORN06:30 AM PST
England - Premier LeagueA VILLA vs. MAN UTD07:00 AM PST
England - Premier LeagueHULL vs. SWANSEA07:00 AM PST
England - Premier LeagueQPR vs. WEST BROM07:00 AM PST
England - Premier LeagueSOUTHAMPTON vs. EVERTON07:00 AM PST
England - Premier LeagueTOTTENHAM vs. BURNLEY07:00 AM PST
England - Premier LeagueWEST HAM vs. LEICESTER07:00 AM PST
England - ChampionshipCARDIFF vs. BRENTFORD07:00 AM PST
England - ChampionshipREADING vs. WATFORD07:00 AM PST
England - ChampionshipFULHAM vs. SHEFFIELD WED07:00 AM PST
England - ChampionshipIPSWICH vs. MIDDLESBROUGH07:00 AM PST
England - ChampionshipBLACKBURN vs. CHARLTON07:00 AM PST
England - ChampionshipHUDDERSFIELD vs. BIRMINGHAM07:00 AM PST
England - ChampionshipWIGAN vs. ROTHERHAM07:00 AM PST
England - Conference PremierALFRETON vs. MACCLESFIELD07:00 AM PST
England - Conference PremierALTRINCHAM vs. DOVER ATH07:00 AM PST
England - Conference PremierBARNET vs. CHESTER07:00 AM PST
England - Conference PremierBRAINTREE vs. TORQUAY UTD07:00 AM PST
England - Conference PremierWREXHAM vs. DARTFORD07:00 AM PST
England - League OneSHEFFIELD UTD vs. WALSALL07:00 AM PST
Scotland - PremierABERDEEN vs. KILMARNOCK07:00 AM PST
Scotland - PremierPARTICK THISTLE vs. DUNDEE07:00 AM PST
Scotland - PremierST MIRREN vs. MOTHERWELL07:00 AM PST
Spain - La LigaBARCELONA vs. CORDOBA07:00 AM PST
Spain - Segunda DivisionGIRONA vs. ALAVES07:00 AM PST
Greece - Super LeaguePLATANIAS vs. OFI KRETA07:15 AM PST
College FootballNevada vs UL - Lafayette08:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 1PSG vs. MONTPELLIER08:00 AM PST
Israel - Premier LeagueH HAIFA vs. H AKKO08:00 AM PST
Israel - Premier LeagueH IRONI K SHMONA vs. ASHDOD08:00 AM PST
Spain - Segunda DivisionPONFERRADINA vs. MALLORCA08:00 AM PST
Intl FIFA Club World CupCRUZ AZUL vs. AUCKLAND08:30 AM PST
Israel - Premier LeagueH PETACH TIKVA vs. H RAANANA08:30 AM PST
Israel - Premier LeagueH BNEI SAKHNIN vs. M HAIFA08:45 AM PST
Italy - Serie ASASSUOLO vs. CESENA09:00 AM PST
Spain - La LigaLEVANTE vs. R SOCIEDAD09:00 AM PST
Wales -Premier LeagueNEW SAINTS vs. BALA TOWN09:00 AM PST
England - ChampionshipNOTTINGHAM vs. LEEDS UTD09:15 AM PST
Spain - Segunda DivisionMIRANDES vs. ZARAGOZA09:15 AM PST
Germany - BundesligaWOLFSBURG vs. KÖLN09:30 AM PST
Greece - Super LeagueAEL KALLONI vs. O PIRAEUS09:30 AM PST
Holland - EredivisieC LEEUWARDEN vs. PEC ZWOLLE09:30 AM PST
Israel - Premier LeagueM NETANYA vs. H TEL AVIV09:30 AM PST
NBASuns vs Knicks10:05 AM PST
Holland - EredivisieDORDRECHT vs. GRONINGEN10:45 AM PST
Holland - EredivisiePSV vs. GO A EAGLES10:45 AM PST
Belgium - Pro LeagueKV OOSTENDE vs. CERCLE BRUGGE11:00 AM PST
Belgium - Pro LeagueROYAL CHARLEROI SC vs. LIERSE SK11:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 1CAEN vs. BASTIA11:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 1LORIENT vs. NANTES11:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 1METZ vs. MONACO11:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 1S RENNES vs. S DE REIMS11:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 1TOULOUSE vs. GUINGAMP11:00 AM PST
Spain - La LigaEIBAR vs. VALENCIA11:00 AM PST
College FootballUTEP vs Utah State11:20 AM PST
Holland - EredivisieAZ ALKMAAR vs. UTRECHT11:45 AM PST
Italy - Serie AROMA vs. MILAN11:45 AM PST
Spain - Segunda DivisionNUMANCIA vs. LUGO12:00 PM PST
Portugal - Primeira LigaESTORIL vs. V GUIMARAES12:15 PM PST
College FootballUtah vs Colorado State12:30 PM PST
NFLEagles vs Redskins1:30 PM PST
College FootballWestern Michigan vs Air Force2:45 PM PST
UFCV Miranda vs J Collier4:00 PM PST
NBATrail Blazers vs Pelicans4:05 PM PST
NBAJazz vs Hornets4:05 PM PST
UFCM Alexandre Jr vs T Means4:25 PM PST
NBAHawks vs Rockets5:05 PM PST
UFCL Issa vs Y Sasaki5:05 PM PST
NFLChargers vs 49ers5:25 PM PST
UFCH Dias vs D Elkins5:30 PM PST
NBASpurs vs Mavericks5:35 PM PST
UFCR Carneiro vs T Niinimaki5:55 PM PST
Costa Rica - Primera DivisionHEREDIANO vs. SAPRISSA6:00 PM PST
NBAPacers vs Nuggets6:05 PM PST
College FootballSouth Alabama vs Bowling Green6:15 PM PST
UFCI Pokrajac vs M Rogerio De Lima6:25 PM PST
UFCA Dos Santos Jr vs D Sarafian7:05 PM PST
UFCM Rhodes vs E Silva7:30 PM PST
NBABucks vs Clippers7:35 PM PST
UFCE Silverio vs R Magomedov7:55 PM PST
UFCA Carlos Junior vs P Cummins8:20 PM PST
UFCCB Dollaway vs L Machida9:15 PM PST
Spain - Segunda DivisionBETIS vs. RACING03:00 AM PST
Spain - Segunda DivisionALBACETE vs. LLAGOSTERA03:15 AM PST
Holland - EredivisieV ARNHEM vs. HERACLES03:30 AM PST
Italy - Serie AHELLAS vs. CHIEVO03:30 AM PST
Scotland - PremierDUNDEE UTD vs. CELTIC04:15 AM PST
France - Ligue 1O MARSEILLE vs. LILLE05:00 AM PST
Greece - Super LeaguePANIONIOS vs. ATROMITOS05:00 AM PST
Wales -Premier LeaguePRESTATYN vs. BANGOR05:00 AM PST
England - Premier LeagueNEWCASTLE vs. SUNDERLAND05:30 AM PST
Holland - EredivisieNAC BREDA vs. FEYENOORD05:30 AM PST
Holland - EredivisieEXCELSIOR vs. AJAX05:30 AM PST
Italy - Serie AATALANTA vs. PALERMO06:00 AM PST
Italy - Serie AFIORENTINA vs. EMPOLI06:00 AM PST
Italy - Serie ASAMPDORIA vs. UDINESE06:00 AM PST
Italy - Serie ATORINO vs. GENOA06:00 AM PST
Germany - BundesligaHERTHA BERLIN vs. HOFFENHEIM06:30 AM PST
Greece - Super LeagueA TRIPOLIS vs. S XANTHI07:15 AM PST
Greece - Super LeagueERGOTELIS vs. GIANNINA07:15 AM PST
Greece - Super LeagueNIKI VOLOU vs. PANAITOLIKOS07:15 AM PST
Holland - EredivisieTWENTE vs. WILLEM II07:45 AM PST
England - Premier LeagueLIVERPOOL vs. ARSENAL08:00 AM PST
France - Ligue 1ST ETIENNE vs. EVIAN08:00 AM PST
Portugal - Primeira LigaACAD DE COIMBRA vs. PENAFIEL08:00 AM PST
Portugal - Primeira LigaAROUCA vs. MARITIMO08:00 AM PST
Portugal - Primeira LigaMOREIRENSE vs. BOAVISTA08:00 AM PST
Spain - La LigaGRANADA vs. GETAFE08:00 AM PST
Spain - Segunda DivisionSP GIJON vs. ALCORCON08:00 AM PST
Germany - BundesligaFREIBURG vs. HANNOVER08:30 AM PST
Portugal - Primeira LigaBENFICA vs. GIL VICENTE09:00 AM PST
Spain - Segunda DivisionLEGANES vs. RECREATIVO09:15 AM PST
Greece - Super LeagueLEVADIAKOS vs. P THESSALONIKI09:30 AM PST
NFLVikings vs Dolphins10:00 AM PST
NFLRavens vs Texans10:00 AM PST
NFLLions vs Bears10:00 AM PST
NFLBrowns vs Panthers10:00 AM PST
NFLFalcons vs Saints10:00 AM PST
NFLPackers vs Buccaneers10:00 AM PST
NFLChiefs vs Steelers10:00 AM PST
NFLPatriots vs Jets10:00 AM PST
Spain - La LigaELCHE vs. MALAGA10:00 AM PST
Spain - Segunda DivisionVALLADOLID vs. BARCELONA B10:00 AM PST
Spain - Segunda DivisionU DEP LAS PALMAS vs. OSASUNA10:00 AM PST
Israel - Premier LeagueM TEL AVIV vs. M PETACH TIKVA10:15 AM PST
Bolivia - Liga Profesional BolivianaJ WILSTERMANN vs. NAC POTOSI11:00 AM PST
Portugal - Primeira LigaNAC MADEIRA vs. SPORTING11:15 AM PST
Italy - Serie AINTER vs. LAZIO11:45 AM PST
Bolivia - Liga Profesional BolivianaBLOOMING vs. BOLIVAR12:00 PM PST
France - Ligue 1G BORDEAUX vs. O LYONNAIS12:00 PM PST
Peru - PrimeraSP CRISTAL vs. JUAN AURICH12:00 PM PST
Spain - La LigaATH BILBAO vs. ATL MADRID12:00 PM PST
NBAKnicks vs Raptors12:35 PM PST
NFLGiants vs Rams1:05 PM PST
NFLBills vs Raiders1:25 PM PST
NFLColts vs Cowboys1:25 PM PST
NBAGrizzlies vs Cavaliers1:35 PM PST
Colombia - Liga Postobon IIIND SANTA FE vs. IND MEDELLIN2:30 PM PST
NBA76ers vs Magic3:05 PM PST
NBACeltics vs Heat3:05 PM PST
NBAPistons vs Nets3:05 PM PST
NBALakers vs Kings3:05 PM PST
NBASuns vs Wizards3:05 PM PST
NBAPelicans vs Thunder4:05 PM PST
NBAPacers vs Timberwolves4:05 PM PST
Ecuador - Serie AEMELEC vs. BARCELONA5:00 PM PST
NFLSeahawks vs Cardinals5:30 PM PST
Italy - SupercoppaJUVENTUS vs. NAPOLI09:00 AM PST
Greece - Super LeaguePANATHINAIKOS vs. AOK KERKYRA09:30 AM PST
Israel - Premier LeagueB JERUSALEM vs. H BEER SHEVA10:55 AM PST
College FootballBYU vs Memphis11:00 AM PST
Portugal - Primeira LigaSP BRAGA vs. P FERREIRA11:00 AM PST
England - Premier LeagueSTOKE vs. CHELSEA12:00 PM PST
Portugal - Primeira LigaRIO AVE vs. BELENENSES1:00 PM PST
NFLBroncos vs Bengals5:30 PM PST
College FootballNorthern Illinois vs Marshall3:00 PM PST
College FootballNavy vs San Diego State6:30 PM PST
College FootballCentral Michigan vs Western Kentucky09:00 AM PST
College FootballFresno State vs Rice5:00 PM PST
College FootballIllinois vs Louisiana Tech10:00 AM PST
College FootballRutgers vs North Carolina1:30 PM PST
College FootballNC State vs Central Florida5:00 PM PST
College FootballVirginia Tech vs Cincinnati10:00 AM PST
College FootballDuke vs Arizona State11:00 AM PST
College FootballMiami Florida vs South Carolina12:30 PM PST
College FootballPenn State vs Boston College1:30 PM PST
College FootballNebraska vs USC5:00 PM PST
College FootballWest Virginia vs Texas A&M11:00 AM PST
College FootballClemson vs Oklahoma2:30 PM PST
College FootballTexas vs Arkansas6:00 PM PST
College FootballNotre Dame vs LSU12:00 PM PST
College FootballLouisville vs Georgia3:30 PM PST
College FootballMaryland vs Stanford7:00 PM PST
College FootballMississippi vs TCU09:30 AM PST
College FootballBoise State vs Arizona1:00 PM PST
College FootballGeorgia Tech vs Mississippi State5:00 PM PST
College FootballWisconsin vs Auburn09:00 AM PST
College FootballMichigan State vs Baylor09:30 AM PST
College FootballMinnesota vs Missouri10:00 AM PST
College FootballFlorida State vs Oregon2:00 PM PST
College FootballOhio State vs Alabama5:30 PM PST
College FootballPittsburgh vs Houston09:00 AM PST
College FootballIowa vs Tennessee12:20 PM PST
College FootballUCLA vs Kansas State3:45 PM PST
College FootballOklahoma State vs Washington7:15 PM PST
College FootballEast Carolina vs Florida09:00 AM PST
College FootballToledo vs Arkansas State6:00 PM PST