RaceDayScore NASCAR: Brickyard 400

RaceDayScore NASCAR: Brickyard 400

This article is part of our RaceDayScore NASCAR series.

Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard

Location: Speedway, Ind.
Course: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Format: 2.5-mile oval
Laps: 160

Race Preview

Matt Kenseth pulled away in the final laps of last week's New Hampshire 301 to score his second win of the season. That win came on the flat track in the northeast, and the series visits a larger flat track this week in Indianapolis. The famous Brickyard has only been on the NASCAR Sprint Cup calendar since 1994, but has quickly made itself one of the most prestigious venues. Kyle Busch won at the track last season on his way to his first championship in the series, and the winner's list reads like a who's who of the sport's most famous. Victory at the track would be a highlight of any career, and 40 drivers will get a shot to add it to their resume this weekend.

Key Stats at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 22
Winners from pole: 3
Winners from top-5 starters: 11
Winners from top-10 starters: 14
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 3
Fastest race: 155.912 mph

Last 10 Indianapolis Winners

2015 - Kyle Busch
2014 - Jeff Gordon
2013 - Ryan Newman
2012 - Jimmie Johnson
2011 - Paul Menard
2010 - Jamie McMurray
2009 - Jimmie Johnson
2008 - Jimmie Johnson
2007 - Tony Stewart
2006 - Jimmie Johnson

Like last week's flat circuit in New Hampshire, Indianapolis will pose a challenge for drivers to pull off passes. The shallow banking in each of the four turns makes for a narrow racing groove where drivers will be best suited carrying as much speed as possible onto the long straights to out-brake opponents at corner entry. The turns are all identical, but race very differently in reality. Crews will have to set up their machines to carry as much speed through the middle of the turns as possible to maximize pace down the front and back straights. Pit strategy and track position are likely to be two of the most important keys to success this weekend. Being difficult to pass will make being up front on restarts paramount, which could encourage teams to gamble on fuel-only or two-tire stops to move forward.

RACE DAY SCORE VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $60K Salary Cap)

Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $11,900
Kyle Busch - $11,500
Matt Kenseth - $11,300

Tier 2 Values

Tony Stewart - $10,900
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,900
Kasey Kahne - $10,300
Kyle Larson - $10,000

Tier 3 Values

Paul Menard - $9,900
Chase Elliott - $9,800
Trevor Bayne - $9,500
Danica Patrick - $9,200

Long-Shot Values

Casey Mears - $8,900
Regan Smith - $8,700
Reed Sorenson - $6,700

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($60K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $11,900
Kyle Busch - $11,500
Chase Elliott - $9,800
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $9,100
Casey Mears - $8,900
Regan Smith - $8,700

Harvick appears back to his winning ways, and that form is enough for him to earn the lead-off slot in the safe roster for Indianapolis. He finished third at the track last season and lead 75 laps. Busch is the defending winner at the Brickyard and hasn't finished out of the top 10 there since 2009. Elliott has just one start at the track but has been racing really well this season and made up 10 positions to finish 18th from the 28th starting spot last year. Stenhouse should be primed to score his first top-20 at the track this week. He has two top-10 finishes in the last three races. Casey Mears has 12 Indianapolis starts under his belt and started from pole in 2004. His best finish was sixth in 2005. One of the best drivers at finishing better than where he starts is Smith. He finished third at the Brickyard in 2008 and 18th in 2012.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($60K Salary Cap)

Jimmie Johnson - $11,400
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,900
Kasey Kahne - $10,300
Kyle Larson - $10,000
Ryan Blaney - $9,900
Michael McDowell - $7,500

The higher-risk lineup option for Indianapolis is not without its risks. Johnson has been in a slump, but scored his first top-15 in the last five races last week in New Hampshire and has four Brickyard victories. Truex is probably the safest choice in this option. He has been exceptionally fast this season and dominant on the flat tracks like Indianapolis. Kahne showed speed again in New Hampshire, which is just in time for one of his better circuits. He has two top-10 finishes in the last three races at the track. Larson has finished in the top 10 in both of his Brickyard tries, while Blaney came from 30th to finish 12th there in his only effort. Michael McDowell rounds out the roster and is looking to emulate his top-10 finish at Daytona earlier this month.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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