The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Crown Royal 400. NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet took a look at past performances, practice sessions, season trends, and spoke to team contacts to predict how the field will finish.
When: Sunday, July 29, 2012; 1:19 p.m./et.
Weather: Mostly sunny with a high around 88; wind out of the S at 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
The Track: Indianapolis MotorSpeedway
The Brickyard is a 2.5 mile oval with 9 degree banking in all of the turns.
Key to Race: THAT IS ONE BIG TRACK
Indy is arguably the most famous speedway inAmerica. NASCAR drivers circle this race each year when the schedule comes out as they all are desperate to join the list of racing legends to take the checkers at the Brickyard. Following the 2008 tire debacle at the track Goodyear conducted seven tire tests, with 30 teams logging more 13,000 miles. The result of this hard work was a tire that held up much better in the past three races. With tires not expected to be an issue Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, and Jimmie Johnson are the drivers to watch in this weekend's race.
47 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. If the first practice is run, but qualifying is unable to take place, the starting lineup will be based on speeds from the car's fastest lap from the first practice, with top-35 cars in owner points no longer segregated from the non-top 35 cars. Previously, the top 35 cars lined up in front of all other eligible car owners.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has won two of the last six races at Indy. He loves this track more than any other driver in NASCAR and is anxious to get four-time Indy 500 champion A.J. Foyt’s No. 14 another win on the Brickyard.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson won the 2006, 2008 and 2009 races at Indy. He will battle Tony Stewart for the win.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has four wins in 18 races at Indy. He is a great option for Sunday's race.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: The Brickyard has been one of Harvick's best tracks. He has a win and seven top 10 finishes in 11 career starts at the track.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has finished in the top 10 in all but two of his career starts at Indy. He will be fast again this weekend.
6 to 10
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has notched back-to-back-to-back top seven finishes at Indy. He should take the checkers inside the top 10 once again.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has almost always had good cars at Pocono and Indy. He should be in the hunt to crack the top 10 this week.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has finished in the top five in five of the last 10 races at Indy. He is a good option.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has been awesome at the Brickyard so far in his career. We like his chances on Sunday.
No. 55 Mark Martin: Martin has finished in the top 10 in 11 of his 18 career starts at Indy. He is a terrific option once again.
11 to 20
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has led just five laps in seven career races at Indy, but he has finished in the top 20 in each of the races. He is a fine pick again this weekend to crack the top 15.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been either really, really good (13th, 7th, 7th, 2nd, and 4th) or really, really bad (18th, 40th and 36th) at Indy during his career. His inconsistency moves him just outside our top 10.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has been fast at Indy the past two years. He should finish in the top 15 again this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has disappointed at Indy during his career. In 12 career starts he has just two top 10 finishes. Even with his past struggles he should pilot the No. 88 to a top 20 finish.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has five top 10 finishes in nine career starts at the Brickyard, including a win in the 2010 race. This isn’t a bad weekend to take a chance on the No. 1 car.
No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano has finished inside the top 15 in two of his three career visits to Indy. He will be fast again this weekend.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard surprised with a win during last year’s edition of the Brickyard. He is worth gambling on again this visit to the Hoosier state.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has notched top 15 finishes in five of the last eight Indy races. This should be a decent weekend for the No. 31 team.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya led the most laps at the Brickyard in 2009. He is a better than average pick this weekend.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith bagged a third place finish during last year’s race at Indianapolis. He won’t be nearly as fast this visit, but a top 20 finish won’t surprise us.
21 to 30
No. 39 Ryan Newman: The Indiana native has very average at Indy. He should be decent this weekend and with a little luck could get the No. 39 car another top 15 finish.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has averaged a top 25 finish at Indy the past six years. He should finish right around that average on Sunday.
No. 22 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has plenty of experience at Indy. He is a terrific option.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Double-A makes his first Cup start at Indy this weekend. He will be fast, but temper your expectations as the track is very difficult to learn in a stock car.
No. 51 Kurt Busch: Busch has had loads of trouble at Indy during his career. This isn’t the best weekend to go with the No. 51.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan has been basically a middle-of-the-packer at Indy during his career. He is only worth using as fourth driver this weekend.
No. 10 David Reutimann: Reutimann was awesome at Indy in 2009 and terrible the past two years. He isn’t much of an option.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose will do well to match the 21st place finish he notched at Indy in 2010.
No. 13 Casey Mears: This is the perfect weekend to use Mears. His last name alone should give him some added speed at the Brickyard.
No. 21 Trevor Bayne: There is no question Bayne can drive. He is worth using in most leagues this weekend.
No. 33 Stephen Leicht
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 83 Landon Cassill
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 32 Ken Schrader
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 47 Bobby Labonte
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 26 Josh Wise
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 91 Reed Sorenson
No. 79 Mike Skinner
No. 19 Mike Bliss
No. 23 Scott Riggs
No. 49 TBA
1. Tony Stewart
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Kevin Harvick
1. Regan Smith
2. Sam Hornish Jr.
Bust of the Week:
Martin Truex Jr.