This weekend NASCAR is in Indianapolis for the Indiana 250 Nationwide race Saturday at 5 P.M. ET on ESPN. Then Sunday the Sprint Cup cars take to the famed track for the Brickyard 400. That race gets underway 2 p.m. ET and it will also air on ESPN.
The last Sprint Cup race took place at Pocono and it is a 2 mile, banked, super speedway. So, the long straightaways at Indy and Pocono make the tracks similar, but the flat banking of Pocono’s turn 3 is a bigger factor because it’s similar to all four turns at the Brickyard. Drivers who got around turn 3 well at Pocono will have an immediate edge this Sunday.
The Brickyard is basically all alone in the way it is set up It its flat and really only turn 3 at Pocono comes close as a marker for drivers. Indy is a race that tests the driver, the car and the team. So it should come as no surprise that eight of the Brickyard 400 winners have gone on to win the Sprint Cup title the same year, and 15 of the 19 winners have won at least one Cup title overall.
Only the Daytona 500 ranks higher than the The Brickyard 400 when it comes to the race most coveted in NASCAR garages. Every driver grew up one way or another wanting to win the Indianapolis 500 and the drivers with good programs have the opportunity to excel at a high level with pure racing, without all the side show restrictor-plate stuff that’s part of the season-opening Daytona 500. Race teams, of course, always want to win, but there’s just more thirst for victory at Indy – and more of a chance to shine without someone getting goofy in a draft and causing a 12-car pileup like at Daytona.
So who are the favorites this weekend at Indy?
Jimmie Johnson has won there four times, Tony Stewart grew up not far from Indy, has done well at the Brickyard winning there twice. An interesting stat is that a Chevrolet powered car has won the past 10 years and 15 of the last 19 Brickyard 400’s.
The Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch have been doing very well this season neither can be counted out this Sunday. If you want a Ford that could win this week it would likely be Brad Keselowski. He drives for Roger Penske has won 15 Indianapolis 500s as an IndyCar owner, he has yet to claim a victory there in NASCAR.
No matter who wins at Indy this weekend one thing is for sure and that is the Brickyard 400 is destination viewing.