Congratulations to Denny Hamlin who became the newest first time winner this year on Sunday at New Hampshire. This will take the pressure off of Denny on trying to make the playoffs on points. Martin Truex Jr. won another stage to collect his 29th playoff point and has a 38-point lead on Kyle Larson in the overall standings. Joey Logano took another hit to his playoff hopes with mechanical issues in this race. There are now only seven races left before the start of the playoffs.
BRANTLEY GILBERT BIG MACHINE BRICKYARD 400
This week the series heads to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the running of the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400. This is one of the top races every driver in NASCAR wants to win in their career. This is a big, two-and-a-half-mile track that is fairly flat with long looping turns and long straightaways. The Ford drivers dominated races on this type of track early in the year. Will they continue that dominance this weekend?
Kyle Busch: Even though he is very frustrated right now I have to pick Kyle to win the races this weekend at Indy. He has won the last two races here and finished in runner-up in two of the three races he ran here prior to those two wins. I think everything works out for this team this week as they pick up their first win of the season and guarantee their spot in the playoffs.
Kyle Larson: Kyle has finished in the top ten in all of the races he has run at Indy in the Cup series and has been better in every aspect of racing this year than in the past. This team is going to show up hungry for another win after finishing second in the last two races. They also want to pick up as many championship points as possible in the next seven races to cut into Martin Truex Jr.’s advantage.
Martin Truex Jr.: The current points leader has been even better than Larson consistently this season which is why he has so many playoff points. If he doesn’t run over something on the track and have to pit early with a flat tire in the final third of the race last week he might have gone on to win that race too. These two drivers need to be on your roster every weekend even if you don’t start them because they are also qualifying well.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin has one win at this track and has finished in the top ten in all three of his races here since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. He is also the first driver I am talking about who is in a Ford and he finished second at Pocono earlier this year which has the long sweeping turns and long straightaways. Even as good as some of the other drivers already mentioned have been all season it is going to take a lot to unseat the Ford drivers this weekend.
Matt Kenseth: Matt had a great run at Loudon last weekend and always seems to run well at Indy. He is still looking for his first win at this track and his first win of the season. He finished second here for the third time last season and has eight top five finishes in his seventeen career starts here. Matt is planning on racing next season even after saying he will not be back with Joe Gibbs Racing next year. If he doesn’t find a top tier ride next season this might be his best shot at picking up this coveted win.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie leads all active drivers with four Brickyard wins in his career. This team has been a bit inconsistent so far this year, but I think they do a lot of testing after they win a race or two and know they are in the playoffs. This is a track that they won’t see anything similar to in the playoffs and they want to win their fifth Brickyard this weekend. I think this team brings their A game to the track and competes for a win.
Denny Hamlin: Last week’s winner will have a lot of confidence coming into this weekend. They have always run well at both Pocono and Indy and he has six top ten finishes in his eleven starts here. I think that running well on the flat track last weekend will help them this weekend and if he can avoid the pit road speeding penalties he will be a factor once again this weekend.
Brad Keselowski: Brad has led laps in five of the seven races he has run at this track, yet his best finish here is ninth. This team has been off of their game a little bit lately and that is mostly due to accidents. Last week at New Hampshire they didn’t have any on track incidents, but never actually threatened in that race. They have about two months to get their act together, but want to pick up some playoff points in that stretch.
Kurt Busch: Kurt hasn’t run as well as he thinks he should since winning the Daytona 500 at the beginning of the season. Still, Kurt has always run well at Indy and Pocono and has the Ford engine under the hood this year. They ran pretty well at Loudon last week, coming away with a top ten finish and could be a spoiler for someone this weekend. Kurt always seems to run better on the flatter tracks than most of the competition.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Though he has multiple wins at Pocono in his career, Dale has yet to win the elusive Brickyard 400. In his last full season in NASCAR, Dale would like nothing better than to win this race and get himself qualified for the playoffs at the same time. I just don’t know if this team will be able to perform at the high level it takes to win races in this series after struggling for most of the year.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Kyle Busch
- Kevin Harvick
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Kyle Larson
- Kurt Busch
- Ryan Blaney
- Clint Bowyer
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Daniel Suarez
- Erik Jones
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Kyle Busch
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Larson
- Matt Kenseth
- Jimmie Johnson
Dark Horse: Austin Dillon
Stay Away From: Joey Logano
Big 18: Kyle Larson