The Brickyard 400 is one of the crown jewel races on the NASCAR schedule, and when you win here, your name gets etched on one of the most beautiful trophies in all of motor sports.
In order to score big at Indy, you need to look back at Pocono and New Hampshire. These races should still be fresh in your mind. Let me refresh your memory. Brad Keselowski led the most laps at Pocono and finished second. Two weeks ago in New Hampshire, he did donuts after leading 138 laps. His average start at the Brickyard is 12.5 and his average finish is 14.5, but don’t let that bother you. It seems like team Penske has its ducks in a row this year and Brad seems to be the front-runner to give the #48 a run for its money come Chase time.
Kyle Busch has to be considered a threat for the Brickyard with his 7.5 average finish the past five years. He’s never won at Indy but has the fifth best driver rating among all active drivers and second best rating the past five years. He led 62 laps at New Hampshire and finished second, and if his crew chief can keep up with the changes, then KB should have an outstanding day.
This is the race you want to have Kyle Larson; his price should still be good if you haven’t joined the bandwagon. I know he doesn’t have any stats for Indy, but after leading 14 laps at New Hampshire, a third place finish should make Uncle Fester’s light bulb shine very bright.
Tony Stewart owns the second best driver rating at Indy and at Pocono. Earlier this year, he led 62 laps but shot himself in the foot. Tony doesn’t qualify well at Indy(15.9) for his career, but he tops the charts among all drivers with a 7.9 average finish and two lifetime wins. He finished seventh at New Hampshire and looks to be a good buy on most fantasy games.
Jimmie Johnson has the best driver rating at Indy, including four wins to add to that impressive resume. No one comes close to his qualifying average at a blistering 3.3 the past five years at Indy. His average finish is 11.0 the past five years and those are still good points for your fantasy team. The question is, can you afford to have him on your fantasy team? The answer is YES! Why? The Chase is right around the corner, and if you wait too long, his price might not be obtainable for that Chase run coming down the stretch.
All the drivers mentioned above are driving Chevrolets; they have more wins at Indy, including the last 11 races.
When it comes to crown jewel races, all the big teams will be firing on all cylinders with over $9 million of prize money at stake, so load up on the big boys if you can.
Here’s Indy’s power rankings for the last five years:
10 Kasey Kahne- 1 top 5 and 1 top 10, average finish 11.5.
9 Kevin Harvick- 1 top 5 and 1 top 10, average finish 11.3.
8 Jimmie Johnson- 1 win, 2 top 5s and 2 top 10s, average finish 11.0.
7 Jamie McMurray- 1 win, 2 top 5s and 2 top 10s, average finish 10.5.
6 Paul Menard- 1 win, 1 top 5 and 1 top 10, average finish 10.3.
5 Jeff Gordon- 2 top 5s and 3 top 10s, average finish 9.3.
4 Ryan Newman- 1 win, 1 top 5 and 2 top 10s, average finish 9.3.
3 Greg Biffle- 2 top 5s and 3 top 10s, average finish 9.3.
2 Kyle Busch- 1 top 5 and 4 top 10s, average finish 7.5.
1 Tony Stewart- 2 top 5s and 4 top 10s, average finish 6.3.
A reminder that ESPN will broadcast its final season of NASCAR, beginning with qualifying on Saturday and race day Sunday. I will post my “Ice Picks” on Friday for the drivers that will give you the most points for Sunday’s race. Check out my “Millennium Rookies” Part I & II. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Thanks for stopping in.