Saturday, July 23, 2016

Brickyard Betting Notes: Chevrolet or Toyota?

Is Tony Stewart worth a shot at 25/1 to win Sunday? Sure, why not. 
With a 12-year run of NASCAR Sprint Cup victories — from 2003, when Kevin Harvick won from the pole, to 2014, when Jeff Gordon won for the fifth-time — and 16 wins out of 22 races there all time, Chevrolet clearly has been dominant at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, Toyota won there for the first time last season with Las Vegan Kyle Busch, and the Camry has won nine of 19 Sprint Cup races this season.

Which is the most relevant trend for Sunday’s 23rd running of the Brickyard 400, this year known as the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard?

During Friday’s first 85-minute practice session, the guys in bow ties laid down seven of the fastest nine laps with four-time Brickyard winner Jimmie Johnson being almost 4 mph faster (184.185 mph) than the third-fastest. In the final session, Kyle Busch’s Toyota paced the way (184.619), but nine of the next 12 fastest speeds were Chevrolet. Denny Hamlin’s Toyota got set-up for race simulations and ran a session high 57 laps. He only had the 17th fastest lap going against teams who were also working on faster qualifying set-ups, but he ended up with the best 10-consecutive lap average.

Toyota also flexed its muscles during Saturday’s qualifying with Kyle Busch (6-1 odds to win race) taking the pole (184.634) and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Carl Edwards (8-1) second and Hamlin (18-1) fourth.

LEGENDS RACING — Indiana native Tony Stewart (25-1) qualified third in his 18th and final start at his home track. The two-time Brickyard winner practiced well on Friday and has a little more zip in his step since winning at Sonoma in late June. Gordon (20-1) won the inaugural race in 1994 and is the only driver to start all 23 events. He’s come out of retirement to drive Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s (concussion) Chevrolet, of which he is part owner. He qualified 21st and practiced so-so. Either one of these NASCAR legends winning would be the NASCAR story of the year, and also pay decent at the sports books.

LOOK TO POCONO — A trend that can be followed to help pick the winner is reviewing what happened at Pocono Raceway’s 2.5-mile tricky triangle. Because Indy has a flat 2.5-mile layout with both tracks featuring the longest straightaways, there has always been a strong correlation between them. The tight Turn 3 at Pocono can also be referenced for balance setups this week by teams. Prior to last fall, Chevrolet had won six straight at Pocono. Matt Kenseth won one week after teammate Kyle won at Indy. Kurt Busch (12-1) would win for Chevrolet at Pocono in June. In fact, four of the top-six finishers at Pocono were Chevrolets, three of them driven by a Hendrick Motorsports driver and, surprisingly, one of them wasn’t Johnson.

Read More Betting Notes Here......Las Vegas Review-Journal

Micah Roberts' final Brickyard Driver Ratings

Final 2016 Brickyard 400 Driver Ratings following all practices and qualifying

Kyle Busch is the driver to beat in Sunday's Brickyard 400.
LAS VEGAS -- During Friday's first 85-minute practice session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday's 23rd running of the Brickyard 400, the guys in bow-ties laid down seven of the fastest nine laps with four-time Brickyard winner Jimmie Johnson being almost 4 mph faster (184.185 mph) than the third fastest.

It was a different story during Friday's final session as last years winner Kyle Busch Toyota paced the way with the top speed of the day (184.619). However, nine of the next 12 fastest speeds were Chevrolet.

Denny Hamlin's Toyota got set-up for race simulations and ran a session high 57 laps. He only had the 17th fastest lap going against teams who were also working on faster qualifying set-ups, but he ended up with the best 10-consecutive lap average.

Toyota flexed its muscles during Saturday's qualifying with Kyle Busch winning the pole (184.634) followed by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Carl Edwards second and Hamlin fourth. Toyota might have a slight edge in overall speed, but Chevrolet has them beat in numbers simply by having more more quality cars on the track this week.

FINAL INDY RACE FOR LEGENDS
Indiana native Tony Stewart (25/1) qualified third in his 18th and final start at his home track. The two-time Brickyard winner practiced well on Friday and has a little more zip in his step since winning at Sonoma in late June. Gordon (20/1) has five wins, including the inaugural race in 1994, and is the only driver to start all 23 events. He's come out of retirement to drive Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s (concussion) Chevrolet which he's part owner of. He qualified 21st and practiced so-so. Either one of these NASCAR legends winning would be the NASCAR story of the year.

GOOD LONG SHOTS
Larson at 18-to-1 odds is down from his usual 30-to-1 because of a strong two day Indy test last week. In addition to the fast testing, where it was reported he had the un-official fastest lap on the first day, he's also averaged an eighth-place finish in two Indy starts. He had the third fastest lap in final practice and starts 10th. Hamlin probably offers the best value among all drivers at 18-to-1. He loves flat tracks and was fifth last year and third in 2014. With a win he'd be the third driver to capture the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same season.


Micah Roberts' Sprint Cup Driver Ratings
Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 12:20 pm PT

RATING  DRIVER    ODDS         PRACTICE 1          PRACTICE 2         QUALIFIED         POCONO* 
 1. Kyle Busch 6/1                  12th                  1st                 1st            31st
2016 winner, 9.7 average in 11 starts; second fastest 10-consecutive lap average in practice 2.
 2. Jimmie Johnson 8/1             1st                  7th                13th            35th   
Four-time winner, the last in 2012; fastest on second of two day test session at Indy last week.    
 3. Kevin Harvick 6/1                 4th                  2nd                 7th             9th
2003 winner from the pole. Using 2014 chassis that had win and three runner-ups in five starts.
 4. Denny Hamlin 18/1              2nd                 17th                 4th           14th 
Career-best third twice, fifth last year; fastest 10-consecutive lap average during practice 2.
 5. Carl Edwards 8/1                  6th                  5th                 2nd            8th 
2008 runner-up; his race trim practice runs had several in garages saying he's the driver to beat.
 6. Brad Keselowski 8/1           14th                 18th                 5th            3rd
Career-best ninth twice, 10th last year. Best chance Ford has to win Indy for first time since 1999.
 7. Chase Elliott 15/1                 7th                 12th                15th            4th
Finished 18th in track debut last year; struggling in last four, but led race-high 51 laps at Pocono.
 8. Martin Truex Jr. 7/1             10th                   8th                 8th           19th
Career-best fourth last year; comes big in big races: second in Daytona 500, won Coca-Cola 600.
 9. Kyle Larson 18/1                 17th                   3rd                10th          11th
Seventh as a rookie in 2014 and ninth last year; fastest lap in first of two day Indy test last week.
10. Matt Kenseth 10/1              13th                 30th                18th           7th
Two-time runner-up with 13.9 average finish in 16 starts -- seventh or better in past three starts.

* Results from the June 6, 2016 race at Pocono Raceway's 2.5-mile triangular layout, which runs most similar to Indy's flat 2.5-mile oval. Both have the longest straightaways in the series.

Odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Micah Roberts, a former sports book director, has been been setting NASCAR lines in Las Vegas since 1994. Follow on Twitter @MicahRoberts7

Brickyard Betting Notes following qualifying - Las Vegas Review-Journal

Friday, July 22, 2016

Jimmie Johnson Blistering Fast in First Brickyard Practice

Defending winner Kyle Busch shows off his ring Friday at the media center.
Jimmie Johnson laid down a blistering fast lap during Friday's first practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday's Brickyard 400. Johnson's quick lap at 184.185 mph came on the first of his 17 laps run during the 85-minute session. The next fastest lap was Denny Hamlin at 184.563 mph and then speeds really dropped off to third with Casey Mears at 180.346 mph.

Johnson is a four-time winner at the Brickyard and was fastest during a two-day test session there last week. 2003 Brickyard winner Kevin Harvick was fourth fastest (179.784) followed by 2013 winner Ryan Newman (179.784) to round out the top-five.

Of the 41 drivers that turned a lap, 19 of them had their fastest lap on their first run. No driver ran 10-consecutive laps and Carl Edwards, who was sixth fastest (179.741), ran the most laps (30).

Only two practices will be run before Saturday's qualifying, so it's a good assumption that several teams were using qualifying trim on their best lap.

Five-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon was ninth fastest (179.376) in the No. 88 driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr. who is expected to miss next weeks race at Pocono Raceway as well.

Last years winner Kyle Busch spun out during the session, but didn't hit anything. He had the 12th fastest lap (179.154).

Chevrolet has won 16 of the 22 Brickyard races and they posted seven of the nine fastest speeds. Toyota won at the Brickyard for the first time ever with Busch last year and the five Joe Gibbs Racing equipped cars all finished within the top-13.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the session was Kurt Busch having only the 24th fastest lap (177.577) just because he won at Pocono in early June, a track that is most similar to Indy.

Wild week for the retired Jeff Gordon at Indy

Nine Brickyard wins between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.
SPEEDWAY, Ind. – When Jeff Gordon saw the two-word text from Rick Hendrick, he knew he’d better sit down to call his former boss.

“Call me,” Hendrick texted to the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, who was vacationing in the south of France.

“If I can scroll through my phone and look at the texts that I’ve gotten from Rick that said “Call me,” I can tell you that you sit down when you call him on those instances,” Gordon said on Friday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

When Gordon heard the purpose of the call, that Hendrick wanted him to substitute for ailing Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Sunday’s Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN), his initial reaction was that Hendrick was joking.

“Rick said to me, ‘Are you coming to Indianapolis?’” Gordon recalled. “I said, ‘Yes, I am. I’m coming on Saturday.’ He said, ‘You’d better bring your uniform.’…

“Honestly, I didn’t even have to think twice about it. When Rick calls and has that confidence in me and asks me to step up and do something for the organization, whether it’s as a driver or other responsibilities … after everything he’s done for me, the way the organization’s been there for me over the years—I certainly didn’t anticipate this.”

Even if concussion-like symptoms hadn’t sidelined Earnhardt from the No. 88 Chevrolet, Gordon would have been in a car at Indianapolis—as a celebrity pace car driver.

But the five-time Brickyard winner will put those plans on hold until next year, as he competes for the first time against the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet he drove for 23 years—a car now piloted by Sunoco Rookie of the Year leader Chase Elliott.

The nuts and bolts of putting Gordon into Earnhardt’s car didn’t constitute a turnkey operation. Fortunately, HMS had archived the seat and steering wheel Gordon had used in what was supposed to be his final Sprint Cup race, last year’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

But Gordon had never used a digital dashboard, which is the standard on Sprint Cup cars this year, so immediately after his return to the United States on Tuesday, he visited the Hendrick shop and began tweaking the array of gauges and lights on the digital dash.

Nor has Gordon driven the current competition package at Indianapolis. When the Sprint Cup series raced at the Brickyard last year, it was with an experimental high-drag package with a large spoiler, a configuration that was not incorporated into the 2016 rules.

So Gordon studied film and throttle traces from the 2014 event, which produced his fifth victory at Indy.

“I kind of like ’14—it was a good year,” Gordon said.

He conferred extensively with crew chief Greg Ives and team engineers. He studied GoPro video from a test at Indy that featured Elliott and Jimmie Johnson.

“Then I took that information and went to the simulator the next morning in Huntersville (N.C.) with GM (General Motors / Chevrolet), and they put those set-ups and this aero package in the car in the simulator, and I was able to drive it. …

“They’ve advanced a lot. I thought that and I’ll be able to verify that (in Friday’s practice) that it was very close. Much closer than in the past of the braking points, turn-in points, car handling, all those types of things. I’m hoping that really pays off for me.”

From NASCAR’s perspective, Gordon had to satisfy three requirements before he could return to a Sprint Cup car. He had to pass a physical, pass a drug test and have a current baseline impact test. Gordon satisfied all three requirements.

How long he’ll remain in the car remains an open question. Gordon is scheduled to drive Sunday at the Brickyard and a week later at Pocono. Beyond that, he preferred not to speculate. On Friday morning, Earnhardt posted encouraging news on his Twitter account, saying:

“Today is the 1st day in many that I sensed improvement. Seen small gains during my physical therapy as well. Light at the end of the tunnel.”

“Right now it’s through Pocono,” Gordon said. “We were very encouraged by Dale Jr.’s tweet today and comments and the way he is feeling and hope that continues to progress and that he is back as soon as possible. …

“We just want him to be there when he is ready and when the doctors say he is ready. I will do whatever I need to do, but I’m also thinking ‘What is going to get the team the most points and give them the best opportunity to advance into the Chase?’ You’ve got the two sides, the owner and the driver side of (the Chase).”

Gordon also revealed on Friday that he had been approached about replacing injured Tony Stewart in this year’s Daytona 500 but had to decline because of his commitments as a booth analyst for FOX Sports.

But with the FOX portion of the season behind him, Gordon will make his 798th Sprint Cup start on Sunday, in a race he never dreamed he would drive.

- Reid Spencer / NASCAR Wire Service

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick co-favorites to win 2016 Brickyard 400

Kyle Busch won at Brickyard last year, Harvick won in 2003 from the pole.
LAS VEGAS -- Past Brickyard 400 winners Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have been posted in Las Vegas as the 6-to-1 co-favorites to win Sunday's Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the storied grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The big news breaking Wednesday is five-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon coming out of retirement as the substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. who is suffering from concussion-like symptoms.

Earnhardt is expected to miss next weeks race at Pocono Raceway as well. Gordon is listed as part of the 'Field' at 20-to-1 odds at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook who said Wednesday morning the possibility of Gordon driving was built into the odds.

Let's take a look at all the Westgate's Brickyard odds and breakdown how each driver has done over the years:

Kevin HARVICK 6/1: In 15 starts, he's got an impressive 10.2 average finish that includes a win from the pole in 2003. He was un-officially second-fastest last week during a Brickyard test session and will be using a chassis that has some outstanding past history. It hasn't been used since 2014, but in five starts it led 509 laps, won three poles, captured a win and three other runner-ups. He's a well deserving favorite this week and its a track that is very special to him.

“Indianapolis is a very unique track," Harvick said. "For me, it’s kind of a cool place to go to as I grew up always wanting to race Indy cars. With Rick Mears being from Bakersfield (California), he was a hometown, childhood hero as we were all racing go-karts. So, to win there back in 2003, and be able to kind of achieve your childhood dream in a sense, but in a stock car, was a great moment. Going back to Indy is just knowing it’s a very historic racetrack where it’s a lot of fun to be a part of the event. It’s always a place where you want to win, but it’s fun to just go there and race to be a part of the next era of its history.”

Kyle BUSCH 6/1 - His win last season was the first for Toyota and it continued a strong run for him at Indy that had seen him finish second in two of the three years prior. Overall he's got a 9.7 average finish 11 starts. He has a lot of fond Brickyard memories as both a driver and fan.

“I think my favorite moment from over the years, besides our win there, was probably the first one," he said. "I just remember Jeff Gordon being my favorite driver. It was his second full-time season in 1994 and he went to victory lane there in the inaugural race. I think that was pretty cool and pretty special for someone who grew up being a fan of Jeff Gordon.”

Martin TRUEX JR 7/1 - He had a career-best fourth-place last year and comes in this year leading a series-high 989 laps. He tested last week at the Brickyard and had the fastest lap for Toyota.

Joey LOGANO 7/1 - He had a career-best runner-up last year and was fifth in 2014. A Ford last won on the famed track in 1999 when Dale Jarrett won for the second-time.

Read More Here....complete list of odds & trends on TheLinemakers.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Toyota Brickyard Notes & Quotes

Kyle Busch swept the weekend last year at Indy.
NEW HAMPSHIRE ADDS TO TOYOTA SWEEPS: Camry drivers Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS), respectively, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to tally the seventh weekend sweep for Toyota during the 2016 season. In the NSCS on Sunday, four Toyota drivers combined to lead 299 laps (of 301) – more than 99 percent of the race – as Kenseth tallied his second victory of the season. On Saturday, Busch led 190 laps (of 200) in New Hampshire to win his sixth NXS event of the season in 10 starts. With the victories, Toyota drivers have swept NASCAR race weekends at seven tracks during 2016, including Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and New Hampshire.

BUSCH’S BRICKYARD VICTORY:
Camry driver Busch captured his and Toyota’s first victory in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July 2015 en route to winning the NSCS driver’s championship. The milestone victory was the third in a stretch of three-consecutive victories by Busch that helped propel the Toyota pilot to the 2015 championship. Busch led the field three times for 19 circuits (of 164) and held off former Toyota driver Joey Logano during a late-race restart to control the final two laps to the checkered flag for the win. The Brickyard victory came during a stretch in which Toyota won all four of NASCAR’s ‘majors’ – the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500 – in a 10-month span. In May, Toyota defended its Coca-Cola 600 victory and has won five-straight ‘majors’ in the last 14 months.

DIRT DEVILS:
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) will compete at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway for the series’ only dirt-track event on Wednesday night. The Truck Series has competed at the half-mile clay oval three times with Toyota drivers winning the last two races. Former Tundra driver Darrell Wallace Jr. was victorious at Eldora in 2014 and Christopher Bell claimed his first-career NCWTS win at the track in 2015. Tundra driver Matt Crafton is one of three active NCWTS racers to finish in the top-10 in each Eldora race, and Toyota drivers Rico Abreu and Bell both have experience racing on dirt at Eldora in other racing series.

NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Camry drivers Carl Edwards (fourth), Kyle Busch (sixth), Martin Truex Jr. (seventh), Matt Kenseth (eighth) and Denny Hamlin (10th) currently rank in the top-10 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) point standings … Busch has the third-best average finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway among active drivers (9.7) … Kenseth has recorded three consecutive top-10 finishes at Indianapolis since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013.

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How did the test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway benefit you and your team?

“We tested Indy last week and the good thing about testing is that it gives you time to try things that you typically wouldn’t have time to try out in a normal weekend at the track. Indy is very unique, but I felt that the cars definitely drive differently with the low-downforce package than they did last year with the high-drag package. Indy is a rectangle with four 90-degree corners, while the rest are oval-shaped, so that makes it different than any other race track that we go to obviously. Even though Indy looks pretty symmetrical, all four corners are somewhat different and it’s always changing. That track seems to change pretty fast with the wind or the sun when it comes to the track temperature. The main things that are a focus at Indy are qualifying and then being able to keep your track position because it is a very difficult track to pass on since it has such a narrow groove.”

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS): Camry drivers Daniel Suarez (first) and Erik Jones (fourth) currently rank in the top-10 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) point standings … Camry driver Kyle Busch has won two-of-four NXS races held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2013 and 2015) … Busch has led the most laps in NXS history at the track with 233 circuits paced … The next-closest competitors (Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick) have led 33 laps in NXS competition at the track … Suarez started second and finished third at Indianapolis in his first start at the track in 2015 … Joe Gibbs Racing Camrys have won the pole position for 14-of-17 NXS races in 2016.

- GOLIN PR for Toyota Racing

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Notes heading into Brickyard

Tony Stewart is 25/1 to win Sunday at the Brickyard.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard
The Place: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, July 24
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400 miles (160 laps)

NASCAR XFINITY Series
Next Race: Lilly Diabetes 250
The Place: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, July 23
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: Heat 1 (20 Laps, 50 Miles), Heat 2 (20 Laps, 50 Miles) Main (60 Laps, 150 Miles)

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES

Smoke’s Swan Song At The Brickyard

Tony Stewart – from Columbus, Indiana – will take his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at The Brickyard (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

In 17 starts at Indy, Stewart boasts two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s and 227 laps led. He also owns the second-best average finish (9.6) and third-highest average running position (11.6)

Stewart heads to the 2.5-mile track with plenty of momentum. He has three top-five finishes in his last four starts, including a runner-up showing last Sunday at New Hampshire and a win at Sonoma.

For his career, the No. 14 Chevrolet driver claims three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, 49 wins, 105 top fives, 305 top 10s, and 12,818 laps led.

A 50th win would tie Stewart with NASCAR Hall of Famers Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett for 11th on the all-time list. Every eligible driver with as many wins as Stewart is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

“It’s a big deal to us to win here (at Indianapolis),” Stewart said. “This is an event that I definitely circle on the schedule and emotionally have a lot invested in it. To us, it’s definitely not just another stop that’s on the calendar and on the schedule. You don’t just pull in and say, ‘we’re going to go in, try to win the race and then pull out of here.’ When you’re here, you’re amped up because you’re at Indianapolis.”

Super Sub: Gordon To Fill In For Earnhardt At The Brickyard
Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will take the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet in Sunday’s Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard as a substitute for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has not been cleared by physicians to compete in at least the next two contests as he recovers from concussion-like symptoms

Hendrick Motorsports couldn’t have a better fill-in. Gordon boasts a track-record five victories at Indianapolis and also boasts 12 top fives, 17 top 10s and three poles at the iconic track.

A surefire future NASCAR Hall of Famer, Gordon ranks third on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins list with 93 victories. For his career, he boasts 325 top fives, 475 top 10s and 81 Coors Light Pole Awards.

Gordon, who spent the majority of his developmental years in Pittsboro, Indiana, won the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis as a second-year driver in 1994.

Kiss Brick Kid: Kyle Busch Goes For Second Straight Indy Win
Prior to his win at The Brickyard last season, Kyle Busch was known as a mega-talent who could rack up wins, but couldn’t get to Victory Lane in marquee events.

That changed as he followed up his Indy victory by navigating his way through the Chase and taking home the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with a victory in the Championship 4 race in Miami.

In 11 career starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Busch owns one win, four top fives, nine top 10s and an average finish of 9.7 (third-best). He also claims the third-best driver rating (101.5) and fourth-best average running position (11.7) there.

Richard Childress Racing Hopes For More Brickyard Magic

It’s been 107 races, and nearly three years, since Richard Childress Racing last won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series contest – Ryan Newman’s July 28, 2013 victory at Indianapolis.

This could be the weekend RCR ends its drought. In addition to Newman’s win in 2013, fellow RCR driver Paul Menard took the checkered flag in the 2011 race at the Brickyard. Additionally, Ty Dillon won the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis in 2014. The only other time the organization won at the 2.5-mile track was with Dale Earnhardt in 1995.

Lately, Newman has shown good form with three top 10s in his last four races, including a season-best third-place performance at Kentucky.

Menard has struggled a season removed from making his first career Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His only top-10 is an eighth-place showing at Martinsville.

Enjoying a breakout season, RCR’s Austin Dillon has shown signs he could win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race soon. He has three top fives and eight top 10s on the year.

Indiana Pacer: Johnson Leads Active Drivers In Wins At Brickyard

Count Indianapolis Motor Speedway among the many tracks where Jimmie Johnson is dominant.

The No. 48 Chevrolet driver leads active drivers with four wins, and a 106.5 driver rating at the 2.5-mile track. Additionally, he ranks second in average running position (11.1).

Johnson is the only driver who has won at Indy in consecutive seasons (2008-09).

In need of momentum, Johnson has a high finish of 12th in his last six races and has placed worse than 30th in three of them.

His Hendrick Motorsports team boasts nine wins at Indianapolis, more than twice as many as second-best Joe Gibbs Racing (4).

Elliott Excelling At Long Ovals
Could Indianapolis be the site of Chase Elliott’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win?

Recent numbers show there’s a distinct possibility.

The Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner performed well at the larger non-restrictor-plate tracks last week with finishes of fourth and second, respectively, at Pocono and Michigan. He led 51 laps at The Tricky Triangle and 35 go-arounds in The Great Lakes State.

Elliott finished 18th at the Brickyard in one of his five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts in the No. 25 Chevrolet last season.

7 To Go: Only 5 Chase Berths Remain With 7 Races Left Until NASCAR’s Playoffs

Only seven races remain for drivers to lock up one of the final five Chase berths.

A visit to Victory Lane gets a winless driver into the Chase as long as he/she is in the top 30 of the points standings.

The drivers who likely would get into the Chase because of wins are: Brad Keselowski (4 wins), Kyle Busch (3), Carl Edwards (2), Jimmie Johnson (2), Matt Kenseth (2), Kevin Harvick (1), Kurt Busch (1), Joey Logano (1), Martin Truex Jr. (1), Denny Hamlin (1) and Tony Stewart (1).

McMurray, Menard and Newman are the only currently winless drivers who have visited Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the site of Sunday’s race.

Below are the remaining tracks after Indy and winless drivers who have visited Victory Lane at them:

Pocono: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman
Watkins Glen: AJ Allmendinger
Bristol: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne
Michigan: Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne
Darlington: Greg Biffle, Regan Smith
Richmond: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman

- NASCAR

Is Greg Biffle a nice Brickyard long shot at 100-to-1?

A Ford hasn't won at Indy since Dale Jarrett in 1999; Biffle and Roush never.
Greg Biffle – Indianapolis Advance
Team: No. 16 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Brian Pattie
Twitter: @Biffle16Team, @gbiffle

ADVANCE NOTES

In Memory

All the Roush Fenway Fords will carry a decal in memory of Greg Biffle’s Father, Jack Biffle, who passed away on Tuesday, July 19th.

Biffle at Indianapolis
Biffle has 13 Sprint Cup career starts at Indianapolis, earning three top-five and six top-10 finishes. Biffle’s average finishing position at Indianapolis is 13.6.

One Year Ago at Indianapolis

Biffle got a little tight in qualifying and started 20th and searched for grip around the 2.5-mile track during the race. Biffle was looking at a solid top-15 finish until losing ground in the two green-white-checkered restarts to finish the race, ultimately crossing the finish line 19th.

Last Week
Biffle finished fifth at Loudon, to record his third top-10 finish in the past three races.

Biffle on Indianapolis:

“Track position is the key to Indy, the further you are to the front the better your car drives because you aren’t in the dirty air. Qualify up front, stay up front, I’ve done it several times there and had opportunities to win. I’m ready to get to Indy and see what we’ve got.”

- Roush Fenway Racing



Micah Roberts on Biffle's odds to win: BEST SUPER LARGE LONGSHOT?
How about Greg Biffle at 100-to-1 odds to win his first Brickyard 400? How about car owner Jack Roush to win his first, too. It's the only track to elude his multi-car teams since he's been in NASCAR. Biffle is currently on a run of setting three straight season-best finishes. He was eighth at Daytona, sixth at Kentucky and fifth at New Hampshire last week. In 13 career starts, he's averaged a 13.6 finish and has been third twice. Ford last won at the Brickyard in 1999 when Dale Jarrett won for the second time.

Transition for Jeff Gordon into No. 88 at Brickyard should be easy

Jeff Gordon is 20/1 to win for sixth time at Brickyard on Sunday.
No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives on Jeff Gordon subbing in the No. 88
“First and foremost, the main goal right now is to make sure Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) is on the proper path to recovery and that he doesn’t have the stress of having to return to the car before he is completely ready. Our thoughts are with him through all the testing and waiting that he has to go through.

“As far as going to Indy with Jeff Gordon, it’s definitely going to be a little bit of a different atmosphere. With him coming back for the two fill-in races, there is going to be a lot of media attention, especially in his home state, so we’ll just need to concentrate and focus on the task at hand. We are getting to work with one of the most iconic figures in NASCAR, who has helped get the sport to where it is today.”

Ives on prepping the car for Gordon at Indianapolis
“The difference from what we had to prep for with Alex (Bowman) last week is that Alex fit in Dale’s seat and we didn’t have to make a lot of adjustments to the steering wheel, headrests or seatbelts. But with Jeff (Gordon), we already know all of his dimensions and have the seats, seatbelts and everything that he felt comfortable in when he ran the last race at Homestead in 2015, so we were able to have access to all that. Everyone in the 5/24 shop, the 48/88 shop and the composite shop have all been able to work together so we have the ability to get Jeff’s seat and everything in the car just exactly the way he last remembered it."

Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon, substitute driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, July 22, at 10:30 a.m. ET in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center.


EARNHARDT UPDATE
: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, has not been cleared by physicians to compete in at least the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events as he continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms. He will miss the races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 24) and Pocono Raceway (July 31). Indianapolis will mark the second consecutive event he will miss after not competing Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Earnhardt underwent further evaluation Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. The driver said this week on his “The Dale Jr. Download” podcast that he has been experiencing issues with balance and nausea. He will not travel to Indianapolis or Pocono. A timetable has not yet been established for his return.

GORDON RETURNS
: Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will return to step in for Earnhardt and drive the No. 88 Chevrolet SS at both Indianapolis and Pocono. Gordon, who grew up in nearby Pittsboro, Indiana, most recently raced in the 2015 Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and started a new role in the broadcast booth with FOX this season, in addition to continuing his role as an equity owner of Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon has made all 797 of his career Cup starts for car owner Rick Hendrick. He competed in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015.

TOPS AT INDY: Gordon, driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, leads the following NASCAR Sprint Cup Series statistical categories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: wins (five), poles (three), top-five finishes (12, five more than any other driver), top-10s (17, six more than second) and laps led (528). Gordon is also the youngest Cup Series winner at the 2.5-mile oval, having earned his first victory there on Aug. 6, 1994, when he was just 23 years and two days old.

TIED WITH SCHUMACHER
: The 44-year-old driver’s five victories at the Brickyard are tied with former Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher for most among drivers at the famed speedway. Gordon visited Victory Lane in the inaugural event in 1994 and again in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2014 on the 2.5-mile oval. Schumacher’s wins occurred on the road-course layout at the historic track.

AXALTA
: Gordon will fill in starting during a week when the familiar yellow, orange and red Axalta colors will adorn the No. 88 Chevy. Axalta, formerly known as DuPont Performance Coatings, was a 23-year partner on Gordon’s famed No. 24 Chevrolet, and he continues to have a role with the company as its global ambassador. As part of its business-to-business marketing model, Axalta will place one of its vendors, Precoat Metals, on the TV panel of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS at Indy. Precoat Metals is a leading supplier of coil coating services. For more news and updates on the Axalta Racing program, check out their new website: http://www.axaltaracing.com/.

BOWMAN RECAP: Last weekend in Loudon, New Hampshire, Alex Bowman filled in for Earnhardt and drove the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy to a 26th-place finish. The result didn’t reflect Bowman’s efforts, as he was running solidly inside the top 10 before a flat tire caused him to make contact with the outside wall. Bowman, who races part-time for Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, was making his fifth Sprint Cup start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He also drove the No. 88 for JR Motorsports in Saturday’s XFINITY race, earning an eighth-place finish.

TEAM CHEVY STAGE:
Gordon will be at the Team Chevy stage alongside teammate Johnson for a question-and-answer session in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield on Sunday, July 24, at 12:05 p.m. local time.

THE LINEMAKERS' MICAH ROBERTS ON GORDON'S ODDS

FIELD 20/1 - Usually, this is terrible bet, but because of Jeff Gordon being part of it, it's a now great bet. Sure, he hasn't raced since November, but he's got a solid car that was set-up well enough to finish second at Pocono in June. Gordon has his own personal knowledge of the track, he has Johnson's notes from last weeks test and has a track record 12 top-five finishes, including winning the inaugural race in 1994. This will be the most popular bet of the week in Las Vegas sports books every where and 20-to-1 will be long gone by the time practices begin Friday. So if you like him, bet it now.

 

2016 Season

  • 0 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 797 starts
  • 93 wins
  • 81 pole positions
  • 325 top-five finishes
  • 475 top-10 finishes
  • 24,929 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 22 starts
  • 5 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 12 top-five finish
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 528 laps led
 

Jimmie Johnson goes for fifth Brickyard win

Johnson is 8/1 to win for fifth time at Indy on Sunday.
Jimmie Johnson on racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
“Based on the test session, one thing I forgot from only going there once a year is how temperature-sensitive that racetrack really is. The morning sessions opened up with a ton of grip and the car was pretty comfortable. That afternoon once the heat of the day set in it got really, really tricky. With a three o’clock start time I think that will allow for the track to cool down and it will be a little more forgiving. Indy has four distinct and unique corners. I will be happy with myself to get three of the four corners right each lap – it’s a very, very challenging track. Lots of concentration required. It sure does feel good when you win there. It’s a celebration like no other."

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Red Vest Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, July 22, at 12:30 p.m. ET in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center.


RED VEST PAINT SCHEME FOR THE BRICKYARD
: To celebrate Lowe’s 285,000 employees who help drive the business every day, Jimmie Johnson will be running the Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS this weekend at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is the third consecutive year the No. 48 car will feature a red paint scheme after debuting in 2014, when Johnson drove it to Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway. The signature red vests Lowe’s employees wear symbolize the outstanding service they provide customers each and every day.

SERIES-HIGH DRIVER RATING
: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Indianapolis with a score of 106.5 during the past 10 races at the track. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator. Johnson’s average finish at Indianapolis is 15.4.

FOUR-TIME BRICK-KISSER
: Johnson has won the prestigious Brickyard 400 four times in his career. His first win came in the 2006 season, followed by back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009. He is the only driver to have ever recorded consecutive wins. Johnson’s latest win at the Brickyard was in 2012. Johnson’s four wins are one less than Jeff Gordon’s five for most wins at the track.

RED-VESTED GARAGE DECOR
: No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus takes full advantage of the ample garage stall space at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Normally, the No. 48 team works out of its transporter, but this weekend it will have a custom-designed, Lowe’s-sponsored garage setup complete with individual work stations for the engineers and other crew members.

INDY TESTER
: Johnson, Knaus and the No. 48 team spent two days at the Speedway, Indiana, track on July 12 and 13 testing the lower downforce package for 2016. Out of the nine teams testing, Johnson’s Lowe’s Chevrolet was fastest, unofficially, during day one’s morning session, and had the top overall speed at the close of the second day as well.

JOHNSON AT TEAM CHEVY STAGE
: Johnson will be at the Team Chevy stage for a question-and-answer session in the infield of Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 24, at 12:05 p.m. local time. This appearance is open to the public.

JIMMIE JOHNSON WELLNESS CHALLENGE TRIATHLON:
The second event in the Jimmie Johnson Wellness Challenge is just one week away. The Cane Creek Sprint Triathlon will take place in Waxhaw, North Carolina, on July 26. To enter click here: http://jimmiejohnsontri.racesonline.com/.

THE LINEMAKERS' MICAH ROBERTS ON JOHNSON:

Jimmie JOHNSON 8/1 - He's a four-time winner, but 14 races have passed since he won his second race of the season at Fontana in March. His case to win this week stems from an outstanding Brickyard test session where he was fastest on the last of the two days. We can also look at his three teammates at Pocono who finished within the top-six. There's also the Chevrolet effect going for him where the guys in bow-ties have won 16 of the 22 Brickyard races, which included 12 straight wins before Toyota won last year.

 

2016 Season

  • 9th in standings
  • 19 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 7 top-10 finishes
  • 229 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 526 starts
  • 77 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 213 top-five finishes
  • 321 top-10 finishes
  • 17,938 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 14 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 302 laps led
 

Chase Elliott looking to be first father-son winners at Brickyard

Chase Elliott is 15/1 to win Brickyrad 400.
Chase Elliott on Indianapolis Motor Speedway
“Indy is such a special place. It’s definitely even more special to me with my dad having won there in the early 2000s – one of the first handful of races that NASCAR held there. That was one of the few races that I vaguely remember going to Victory Lane with him and being a part of. Even if I don’t remember a lot of it, just being in the pictures is neat. I think Indy is already special with a lot of the history that they have there from the Indianapolis 500 for so many years, and I think with my dad’s success to me it’s always been a special place. I enjoy going there and am looking to get back there and hopefully bettering the run we had last year.”


KISSING THE BRICKS: Chase Elliott had an opportunity to kiss the bricks after a Brickyard 400 victory once before; however, the now 20-year-old driver was only 6 at the time. Elliott’s father, Bill Elliott, captured the checkered flag at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2002 with the younger Elliott watching from the pit wall outside of Gasoline Alley. Now, as Elliott looks back on one of the only trips to Victory Lane that he remembers with his dad, one thing stands out – Elliott did not kiss the bricks. Elliott is seen in several of the photographs standing in the background while his father carried on the tradition, but if he wins this weekend it will be Elliott’s first time kissing the legendary bricks.

SEASON STANDINGS:
Elliott currently sits 11th in the standings with 499 points. The rookie trails leader Kevin Harvick by 137 markers. The 20-year-old is younger than any other driver currently inside the top 16 – the amount of drivers NASCAR takes into its playoffs – while also being the highest ranked rookie.

GOING HOME:
No. 24 team engineers Dustin Shoulders and Thomas Gray both originate from Indiana – Shoulders lived approximately 16 miles west of the Brickyard in Danville, and Gray was located just south in Indianapolis. Shoulders and Gray both earned their degrees in mechanical engineering with Shoulders graduating from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, while Gray earned his degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The No. 24 engineers also both have a passion for driving. Shoulders raced dirt late models capturing titles such as the 2010 Lincoln Park Speedway Track Champion as well as the 2015 ILMS Series Rookie of the Year. Gray also competed in late models as well as ARCA and ASA divisions before moving to the engineering side. During the NASCAR season, the duos’ view is a little different as they are atop the pit box alongside No. 24 team crew chief Alan Gustafson and the other No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS engineers.

TOP-RANKED ROOKIE: Elliott leads the 2016 Rookie of the Year contender standings heading into Indianapolis by 48 points over second-place Ryan Blaney and 90 points over third-place Brian Scott. Elliott has accumulated a total of 242 rookie points this year through the first 19 points-paying races.

TOP-10 FINISHES: Elliott earned his career-best finish last month at Michigan International Speedway, when he led 35 laps en route to a second-place finish. Only six drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have more top-10 finishes than Elliott's 11 with all but one driver (Carl Edwards) being a Sprint Cup champion.

GET BACK AND GIVE BACK: NAPA AUTO PARTS has a long history of supporting the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. In February, the company announced that it had raised more than $2.1 million for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund through its annual "Get Back and Give Back" campaign. This July, NAPA AUTO PARTS is donating $1 for each redeemed mail-in rebate for batteries, alternators and starters purchased, and $2 for qualifying installations. Customers also have the ability to donate all or a portion of their mail-in rebates directly to the IFHF. One hundred percent of the donation goes to the IFHF’s mission of building nine Intrepid Spirit centers around the country. Read more here.

FROM THE LINEMAKERS' MICAH ROBERTS

Chase ELLIOTT 15/1 - He's in the No. 24 that won five times, he's in a Chevy and he also had his best Cup run at Pocono where he led 51 laps and finished fourth. The one negative is that a rookie has never won there and only one driver has won their first career race there.
 
 

2016 Season

  • 11th in standings
  • 19 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 118 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 24 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 118 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 1 start
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
 

Kasey Kahne is 80/1 to win 2016 Brickyard 400

Kasey Kahne has a nice history at Brickyard.
Kasey Kahne on racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
“Both short chutes off of Turns 1 and 3 are really important to set you up for the next corner. A lot of the times if you are racing somebody in the short chutes, it ruins your next corner, Turns 2 and 4 coming up to the super long straightaways. So if you are racing somebody through the short chute and don’t get off of one of those corners good, the car that’s two or three cars behind you that runs a great exit off the corner before the long straightaway will pass you and the car you are battling -- so it’s interesting how that works. You have to know how the momentum is and where the other cars are around you if you try and make a move in that area.”


FARMERS INSURANCE
: Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS at Indianapolis. This weekend's primary sponsor for the No. 5 team has four races remaining this season -- at Michigan International Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Kansas Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.

KAHNE AT INDY: Kahne is fourth among active drivers for laps led at the 2.5-mile track with 158. His best finish at the Speedway, Indiana, track is second, which he accomplished in only his second start at the venue. In two of Kahne’s last three starts at Indianapolis he has earned a top-10 finish – third in 2013 and sixth in 2014.

INDIANAPOLIS LOOP DATA
: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne has an average driver rating of 97.4, which ranks him fifth out of active drivers. In the average speed early in a run category, Kahne is third at 171.940 mph. He is also third-fastest on restarts at 166.301 mph. The 36-year-old has spent 72.8 percent of his laps run at Indianapolis in the top 15, which ranks him fourth among active drivers. Kahne is also fourth in quality passes with 319.

QUALIFYING PRO AT INDY: Kahne’s average starting position of 10.2 ranks third for the best average starting position among active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers at Indianapolis. In 12 Brickyard 400 starts, the Enumclaw, Washington, native has started in the top five a total of five times, including on the outside pole in 2011.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES
: For the month of August, Farmers Insurance will be holding the Thank America's Teachers school supply drive. Visit a participating Farmersagent office to donate back-to-school supplies to local teachers in your community. Teachers can also enter to win a $2,500 grant at ThankAmericasTeachers.comthroughout August and September.

GOING HOME: No. 5 team mechanic Ty Sipes hails from Bloomfield, Indiana, which is located approximately one hour and 45 minutes southwest of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

SEE KAHNE: Kahne will appear in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield at the Team Chevy stage for a question-and-answer session on Sunday, July 24, at 12:05 p.m. local time.


2016 Season

  • 18th in standings
  • 19 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 451 starts
  • 17 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 88 top-five finishes
  • 162 top-10 finishes
  • 4,607 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 12 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 158 laps led
 

Jeff Gordon to drive No. 88 at Brickyard this weekend

Jeff Gordon is 20/1 to win as part of the 'Field' this week at Brickyard
CONCORD, N.C. (July 20, 2016) – Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, has not been cleared by physicians to compete in at least the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events as he continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms. He will miss the races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 24) and Pocono Raceway (July 31).

Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will be the team’s substitute driver at Indianapolis and Pocono. He most recently raced in the 2015 Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon, who grew up in Pittsboro, Indiana, ranks third all-time with 93 career victories in the series, including six at Pocono and five in the Brickyard 400 – both records.

Earnhardt underwent further evaluation Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. The driver said this week on his “The Dale Jr. Download” podcast that he has been experiencing issues with balance and nausea. He will not travel to Indianapolis or Pocono.

“Our focus is giving Dale all the time he needs to recover,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “There’s nothing we want more than to see him back in the race car, but we’ll continue to listen to the doctors and follow their lead. What’s best for Dale is what’s best for Hendrick Motorsports and everyone involved with the team. We’re all proud of him and looking forward to having him racing soon.”

Gordon, 44, has made all 797 of his career Cup starts for car owner Hendrick. He competed in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015.

“Jeff’s a team player,” Hendrick said. “I know he’ll be ready, and I know Dale has incredible trust in him. It’s going to be an emotional weekend (at Indianapolis) with Dale not being there and seeing Jeff back behind the wheel. Greg (Ives) and the team did a great job at New Hampshire, and they have the full support of our organization.”

MEDIA NOTE: Car owner Rick Hendrick and driver Jeff Gordon will be available to members of the media Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center. Earnhardt will not be available for interviews this week or next.

Kevin Harvick using stout chassis Sunday at Brickyard

Kevin Harvick is 6/1 to win for second time at Brickyard Sunday.
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 19, 2016) – Kevin Harvick grew up racing go-karts in Bakersfield, California, dreaming of his turn to one day emulate his childhood hero Rick Mears, the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion and three-time IndyCar Series champion who also hails from Bakersfield. His dream was to win the historic Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But the driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) saw his career take a different path that led him to NASCAR instead of IndyCar.

The path that led to NASCAR meant that Harvick would have to slightly amend his dreams of winning at Indianapolis. Instead of winning the 500, he would instead try to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400.

In 2003, in just his third attempt at the Brickyard, Harvick made his dream of winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway a reality, and he did so in grand fashion. Harvick won the pole with a speed of 184.343 mph, led 33 laps and beat runner-up Matt Kenseth to the finish line by 2.758 seconds.

Since 2003, the 16-year Sprint Cup veteran has come close to scoring additional wins at Indianapolis. In 2006, Harvick started 10th, led 18 laps and finished third. In 2010, he started ninth, led five laps and finished runner-up to Jamie McMurray by less than two seconds.

In 2014, Harvick set the Sprint Cup track qualifying record with a time of 47.647 seconds at 188.889 mph in the opening qualifying round. He went on to win the pole with a time of 47.753 seconds at 188.470 mph in the final round, then led 12 laps in the race, but he finished eighth.

Harvick started sixth and led a race-high 75 laps in 2015, but his bid for a second Brickyard win was foiled by a late-race restart when runner-up driver Joey Logano pushed race-winner Kyle Busch past Harvick to the lead. Harvick would go on to finish third.

The 2014 Sprint Cup champion would like nothing more than to score his second Sprint Cup win at Indianapolis in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. A win Sunday would be Harvick’s second of the 2016 season and would secure his position in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs. He scored a thrilling win in just the fourth race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway by .01 of a second over runner-up Carl Edwards. In total, the 2016 season has produced 11 different winners through the first 19 Sprint Cup races.

Harvick clinched a top-30 points position with his ninth-place finish July 9 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. He needs an additional win to clinch his spot in the 2016 Chase field after race No. 26 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

While Harvick and the No. 4 team are virtually a lock to make the Chase field, gaining bonus points for additional wins is now their top priority through the next seven races starting this weekend at Indianapolis.

Chassis Information: 
Chassis No. 4-842: Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS built on Chassis No. 4-842 in the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 4-842 made its debut in March 2014 at Phoenix International Raceway, where it started 13th and led 224 laps en route to the win. In its second appearance, Harvick won the pole with a speed of 194.252 mph, led 119 laps and finished second at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. It won the pole with a speed of 204.557 mph at Michigan International Speedway in its third appearance of the year, led 63 laps and scored a runner-up finish. It scored its third runner-up finish of the 2014 campaign in August at Michigan, when Harvick started sixth and led 42 laps. In its most recent appearance, Harvick won the pole at Kansas in October 2014 with a speed of 197.621 mph, led 61 laps and finished 12th. Since 2014, Chassis No. 4-842 has only served as a backup. It was listed as the backup 12 times in 2015 and five times in 2016.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:

What makes Indianapolis unique or special to you?

“Indianapolis is a very unique track. For me, it’s kind of a cool place to go to as I grew up always wanting to race Indy cars. With Rick Mears being from Bakersfield (California), he was a hometown, childhood hero as we were all racing go-karts. So, to win there back in 2003, and be able to kind of achieve your childhood dream in a sense, but in a stock car, was a great moment. Going back to Indy is just knowing it’s a very historic racetrack where it’s a lot of fun to be a part of the event. It’s always a place where you want to win, but it’s fun to just go there and race to be a part of the next era of its history.”

What is your favorite Brickyard moment?

“My favorite Brickyard moment is definitely the win. I always tell people that the best part of the win is not kissing the bricks or taking the checkered flag, but the best part of the win is driving around in the Corvette after the race. You can tell who the fans are who have been at Indy for a long time and know about the victory lap. So just driving around and reminiscing about what you just achieved with the team owner and DeLana (Harvick, wife) is just a cool 15 minutes.”

What does it take to be successful at Indianapolis?
“Indianapolis is a very hard racetrack to pass on. Obviously, with how narrow the racetrack is and how fast the cars are going, you have to try and maintain your track position all day. It takes really everything – you have to have great motors, good handling and all the things you hear about at a lot of racetracks. You can’t overcome a lack of horsepower or a lack of downforce and I feel like we’ve done a good job with both of those things all year. Hopefully, we can find the right handling package to go with the great pieces and parts that we have to go on the cars.”

- True Speed Communication for Stewart-Haas Racing


MICAH ROBERTS ON HARVICK'S ODDS AND CHANCES:

Kevin HARVICK 6/1: In 15 starts, he's got an impressive 10.2 average finish that includes a win from the pole in 2003. He was un-officially second-fastest last week during a Brickyard test session and will be using a chassis that has some outstanding past history. It hasn't been used since 2014, but in five starts it led 509 laps, won three poles, captured a win and three other runner-ups. He's a well deserving favorite this week and its a track that is very special to him.