Wednesday, July 20, 2016

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)

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)


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


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