"Road To Richmond" Crosses The Famed Brickyard Sunday
NASCAR's Annual Stop at Indy Marks Fourth Event in "Race To The Chase"
Jeff Gordon has won the Brickyard 400 four times.
The “Road To Richmond” roars back to action this weekend at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns from an off week to make its annual stop at the Brickyard. Sunday’s Brickyard 400 is the fourth event in the 2010 “Race To The Chase,” meaning only six races remain before “One Last Race To Make The Chase” at Richmond International Raceway “under the lights” on Saturday night, September 11.
Similar to “One Last Race To Make The Chase,” the Brickyard 400 is one of the marquee events on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. Over the years, the Brickyard 400 has provided a good indication of who will win the series championship. NASCAR’s top series has raced at Indy 16 times and eight times the winner at the Brickyard has gone on to win the Sprint Cup Series title, including in four of the last five years. Jimmie Johnson won the series title after Brickyard 400 wins in 2006, 2008 and 2009, while Tony Stewart went on to win the Cup title following his victory at Indy in 2005.
Stewart and Johnson are good bets to take the checkered flag this weekend, combining to win the last five Brickyard 400s, but four-time Indy winner Jeff Gordon should be the favorite on Sunday. Gordon, who won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994, is the hottest driver in the series right now, finishing in the top five in each of the last five races, and is second in points. Gordon has started every NASCAR race at IMS and has a career average finish of 8.6 there, joining Stewart (8.5) as the only two drivers with a career average finish inside the top 10 at Indy. Gordon knows how important the Brickyard is as the Chase cutoff draws near.
“This is a big event,” the four-time champion said on this week’s NASCAR teleconference. “We know that. We know we're capable of winning. It's definitely getting down to crunch time for us getting in the Chase.”
A native Hoosier, Stewart is always a threat at the Brickyard, evidenced by his series best Driver Rating of 111.8 at Indy. Stewart is looking to tighten his grip on a Chase spot, as the two-time champion has moved to ninth in points on the strength of five top-10 finishes in the last six races. Johnson, meanwhile, can become the first driver to win three consecutive Brickyard 400 races and notch his sixth win of the season in the process.
While Gordon, Stewart and Johnson will all be in the spotlight as favorites to win this weekend and maintain their place inside the top 12 of the Sprint Cup Series points standings, with only six races remaining until “One Last Race To Make The Chase” at Richmond International Raceway, it’s time to shift the focus to the Chase bubble.
Clint Bowyer holds the precarious 12th spot in the standings heading to Indy, and Greg Biffle is just six points ahead of Bowyer in 11th. Bowyer used a strong fifth-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway two weeks ago to push Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of the top 12. Earnhardt Jr. was 23rd at Chicago, but the series’ most popular driver is only 15 points behind Bowyer for the final Chase spot. Hendrick teammate Mark Martin trails Earnhardt Jr. by 22 points in 14th (37 back of 12th) and following his win at Chicago David Reutimann moved to 15th in points, 96 points back of 12th.
Here is a look at drivers on the Chase bubble and their stats at the Brickyard:
Greg Biffle: Biffle has one top five, which was fourth last year, and three top-10 finishes in seven starts at Indy … His Driving Rating of 90.7 is 13th best among active drivers, but his average running position of 11.7 is third best … Biffle has had an average finish of 15.4.
Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has started four races at the Brickyard and has one top five, a fourth-place finish in his first start in 2006 … He has a Driving Rating of 83.4 and an average finish of 13.4.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt Jr. has struggled at Indy with just two top 10s in 10 career starts and a dismal average finish of 21.7 … His best finish was sixth in 2006.
Mark Martin: Martin is one of four drivers who have competed in all 16 Brickyard 400 races and has six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes … He finished second to teammate Jimmie Johnson last season after winning the pole and was also the runner-up in 1998 … His Driver Rating of 104.8 is third among active drivers and his average running position of 9.2 is second.
David Reutimann: Reutimann has made only three starts at the Brickyard with a career best finish of eighth last season … He was 30th in 2008 and 38th in 2007 for an average of finish of 25.3.
When NASCAR returns to Richmond for the doubleheader weekend September 10-11, drivers will have one last shot to be one of the top 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Anything can happen on the “Road to Richmond.” Get your tickets now to see the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers battle “under the lights” in “One Last Race to Make the Chase.” Tickets start at $40 and can be purchased by calling 866-455-RACE (7223) or clicking here. Additionally, tickets are also available for Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Friday tickets start at $30 and include WRIC-TV8 Pole Qualifying and practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as well as Fas Mart Pole Qualifying and practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Family seating, presented by Virginia 529, is also available. Designated Family Sections will feature a special price on NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for kids 12 and under. Kids 12 and under will be admitted at half price in the Family Sections presented by Virginia 529 when accompanied by a paying adult. In addition to the special kids pricing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and continuing to prohibit alcohol in Family Sections presented by Virginia 529, smoking is also prohibited in those sections.
*** Driver Rating Formula combines the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.