Jul 3, 2014; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon signs an autograph during practice for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ice Picks - Brickyard 400 - Fantasy Insider

The Brickyard 400 is one of those special races that I call a crown jewel race for the simple reason its at an iconic track where big money is up for grabs and winners’ names are etched in a beautiful trophy.

It’s been a long two weeks since the last race and I can speak for most of us, “it’s time to turn left”.

This track is 2.5 miles long and basically flat with very minimal banking in the turns. You have to look at Pocono and New Hampshire to get an edge to score big points on your fantasy teams.

Only three winners have come from the pole position at Indy.  Ryan Newman did it last year and is a good bet to do it again. He finished fifth two weeks ago at New Hampshire, a track similar to Indy except for the longer backstretch. Newman is top 10 material at Indy with the fourth best average finish the past five years. His price should be right in most fantasy games.

Most wins by active drivers at the Brickyard are the two Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Both have won four times but Jimmie has won back to back in 2007 and 2008. His whopping 3.3 average start the past five years signals the code red siren. Jimmie owns the best driver rating at the Brickyard among all active drivers, which translates to big points on your fantasy team.

Jeff Gordon tops the list with top fives and top 10s at Indy, and even though most of his wins at the Brickyard came during his rainbow days, Jeff is having a great year. He finished eighth at Pocono and led 19 laps at New Hampshire before disaster struck.  Jeff owns the second best average finish for his career at 8.8 with four wins, seven top fives and 11 top 10s. This equals to big points for your fantasy team.

No one has a better average finish at the Brickyard than Tony Stewart. His 7.9 average finish with two wins, seven top fives and 10 top 10s over his lifetime makes him a good candidate for that first win of the season.

The top 10 produces the most winners at Indy with 12 and four coming from the front row. Jeff Gordon came back from the 27th starting spot to win but you need a lot of cautions to work in your favor.

No manufacturer comes close to overtaking Chevrolet with 15 total wins, including the last 11 races with team Hendrick leading all teams with  eight victories.

The drivers that participated in last months tire test were #16 Greg Biffle, #15 Clint Bowyer, #18 Kyle Busch, #22 Joey Logano, #31 Ryan Newman, and #14 Tony Stewart. Goodyear is using the same tire compound D4476 on the right side and left side D4556, the same compunds since 2012, and this concerns me a bit with track temperatures shooting beyond three digits and this year’s new down-force rules.

There is over $9 million up for grabs at the Brickyard’s 20th anniversary of this second highest paying crown jewel event on the NASCAR schedule. Stick with the big guns to get a great points paying race.

Here are my Ice Picks on who I think should give you the most points for The Brickyard:

 

A List

 

Kevin Harvick - has been fast all year.

Kyle Busch- has been knocking on Brickyard’s door.

Jeff Gordon- bounces back from New Hampshire.

 

B List

 

Ryan Newman- could go back-to-back

Brad Keselowski- second at Pocono and first at New Hampshire = a no brainer

Joey Logano- did the tire test and Team Penske has its flat track program on track.

Denny Hamlin- finished eighth at New Hampshire and he loves flat tracks.

 

C List

 

Kyle Larson- finished third at New Hampshire a track similar to Indy in banking.

 

 

ESPN will start its final season with  Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race.  Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Get the phone App so you won’t miss the latest from stockcarspin. Good Luck!

@JoeIcemanNieves

Tags: Brickyard 400 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson NASCAR

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