Every year, the Brickyard 400 is one of the most debated topics. Some NASCAR fans don’t like racing at Indianapolis since it isn’t conducive to passing and competitive racing. Other fans complain that you can’t see the whole track from your seats like you can at other stops along the series.
And of course, there was that race in 2008 that didn’t help win any popularity contests. A problem with the tires forced 11 cautions for 52 laps.
Give Goodyear and IMS credit for making it better the next year. The left side tires are the same that have been run here since 2010 and are also run at Phoenix. The right side tires are only run at Indianapolis.
What it all comes down to is Indianapolis is the greatest racetrack in the world. If NASCAR wants to continue to market itself as the best series with the best drivers, it needs to go to the best courses.
Remember, when the crowd looks sparse on TV, this place holds well over 200,000 people.
Chevrolet has been dominant at Indianapolis. The 35-time manufacturers’ champion has posted 13 wins in 18 races at Indianapolis in the Sprint Cup Series. However, the fastest Chevy will roll off sixth as three-time winner Jimmie Johnson will start next to Greg Biffle’s Ford in Row 3.
The field features seven former Brickyard 400 Champions as well as three other drivers that have won at Indianapolis in other races and series. Juan Pablo Montoya will start 12th in the Target Chevrolet. In 2000, Montoya drove an Oldsmobile powered Target car to victory lane in the Indianapolis 500. Montoya also raced in the U.S. Grand Prix when it was held at IMS. Sam Hornish Jr. will start 24th for Team Penske today. Hornish took Penske to victory lane in 2006, edging Marco Andretti at the line for the win. Brad Keselowski won the Nationwide Series race yesterday.
Defending champion Paul Menard will start eighth and four-time winner Jeff Gordon will start ninth. Row 14 will have two former winners in 2003 champion Kevin Harvick (27th) and two-time winner and Indiana native Tony Stewart (28th). Stewart boasts an average Sprint Cup finish at Indianapolis of 8.1 in 13 starts and has a 100% lap completion rate. Stewart in 21 total starts between three series at IMS has led 357 total laps.
Picks to click: Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya
Darkhorses: Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch