Brickyard Fantasy Forecast


Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Sunday, July 26, 2009 in Speedway, IN

This Sunday, Cup drivers make their only appearance of 2009 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Drivers will make 160 laps around this flat (9 degree corners, 0 degree straightaways), 2.5-mile quad-oval. This legendary track began operating in 1909, and is the second-oldest surviving speedway in the world, second only to the Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin. NASCAR began racing there in 1994 with the inaugural Brickyard 400.

As I see it, the following drivers have the best chance of pulling out a top finish this Sunday. I have compiled my ranking by analyzing drivers? success at this track and other similar tracks such as Pocono, then adding momentum into the mix by including results from the last month of racing. I also factor in key driver stats from last year?s run at Indy.

1) 14 Tony Stewart
2) 48 Jimmie Johnson
3) 24 Jeff Gordon
4) 99 Carl Edwards
5) 11 Denny Hamlin
6) 9 Kasey Kahne
7) 5 Mark Martin
8) 42 Juan Pablo Montoya
9) 2 Kurt Busch
10) 31 Jeff Burton
11) 33 Clint Bowyer
12) 47 Marcos Ambrose
13) 83 Brian Vickers
14) 18 Kyle Busch
15) 39 Ryan Newman
16) 17 Matt Kenseth
17) 44 A.J. Allmendinger
18) 20 Joey Logano
19) 16 Greg Biffle
20) 26 Jamie McMurray
21) 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
22) 29 Kevin Harvick
23) 19 Elliott Sadler
24) 00 David Reutimann
25) 6 David Ragan

Though only 15 races old, the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard has produced a number of statistics befitting a track as historic as Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Already, Indianapolis has become a house of NASCAR champions. Of the 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, 13 have been won by series champions. The only Brickyard winners who are not also series champions are Ricky Rudd (1997) and Kevin Harvick (2003).

Also, ?Kissing the Bricks? ? the traditional celebration of the winning team ? often foreshadows a series championship. Seven winners in the 15-race history of the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard went on to win the series championship in the same year, including three of the last four. They are Jimmie Johnson, 2006 and 2008; Tony Stewart, 2007; Jeff Gordon, 1998 and 2001; Bobby Labonte, 2000; and Dale Jarrett, 1999.

Though not past champions, Juan Pablo Montoya and Mark Martin are two drivers who come to Indy with momentum ? and should be considered favorites. Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000, and immediately adapted to stock car racing at Indy. In his first trip to IMS for the Brickyard race in 2007, Montoya finished second. Last year, though, he finished 39th due to an accident. Martin has often threatened at Indy, finishing in the top 10 in nine of his 15 starts. Plus, Martin has finished on the lead lap 13 times, which ties him with Jeff Gordon for the all-time high. Montoya has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races, while Martin comes to Indianapolis after a dominating win at Chicagoland Speedway, his series-high fourth on the season.


Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet)
? Two wins, four top fives, six top 10s; one pole
? Average finish of 9.1
? Average Running Position of 9.4, second-best
? Series-best Driver Rating of 111.2
? Series-high 76 Fastest Laps Run
? 189 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
? Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 169.852 mph
? Series-high 516 Laps in the Top 15 (80.6%)
? Series-high 116 Quality Passes

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
? Two wins, two top fives, three top 10s; one pole
? Average finish of 20.3
? Driver Rating of 99.1, fourth-best
? 56 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
? 164 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
? Average Green Flag Speed of 169.710 mph, third-fastest
? 85 Quality Passes, ninth-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont/National Guard Patriot Academy Chevrolet)
? Four wins, nine top fives, 12 top 10s; three poles
? Average finish of 8.6
? Average Running Position of 14.7, 12th-best
? Driver Rating of 97.5, eighth-best
? 19 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
? 195 Green Flag Passes, second-most
? Average Green Flag Speed of 169.454 mph, fifth-fastest
? 111 Quality Passes, third-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)
? One top five, two top 10s
? Average finish of 10.3
? Average Running Position of 14.3, 10th-best
? Driver Rating of 91.6, 11th-best
? 39 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
? 193 Green Flag Passes, third-most
? 99 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Toyota)
? One top five, two top 10s
? Average finish of 11.7
? Average Running Position of 11.2, sixth-best
? Driver Rating of 101.2, second-best
? 25 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
? Average Green Flag Speed of 169.825 mph, second-fastest
? 100 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Mark Martin (No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet)
? Five top fives, nine top 10s
? Average finish of 14.1
? Average Running Position of 11.0, fourth-best
? Driver Rating of 98.8, sixth-best
? 161 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
? Average Green Flag Speed of 169.248 mph, eighth-fastest
? 496 Laps in the Top 15 (77.5%), second-most
? 111 Quality Passes, third-most

Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet)
? One top five, four top 10s; one pole
? Average finish of 17.7
? Average Running Position of 10.3, third-best
? Driver Rating of 100.6, third-best
? 33 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
? Average Green Flag Speed of 169.326 mph, seventh-fastest
? 482 Laps in the Top 15 (75.3%), fourth-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)
? One top five, three top 10s
? Average finish of 9.0
? Average Running Position of 11.1, fifth-best
? Driver Rating of 98.9, fifth-best
? 169 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
? Average Green Flag Speed of 169.346 mph, sixth-fastest
? 485 Laps in the Top 15 (75.8%), third-most
? 112 Quality Passes, second-most

AJ Allmendinger (No. 44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge)
? One top 10
? Average finish of 10.0
? Series-best Average Running Position of 9.4
? Driver Rating of 98.4, seventh-best
? Average Green Flag Speed of 169.692 mph, fourth-fastest


? Indianapolis Motor Speedway has existed since 1909, and is the original “Speedway,” the first racing facility to incorporate the word into its name.
? With a permanent seating capacity for more than 250,000-plus people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000, it is the largest and highest-capacity sporting facility in history.
? There have been 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since the first race was held there in 1994.
? Five drivers have competed in all 14 races at IMS: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin.
? Jeff Gordon won the 1994 inaugural race and leads all pole winners with three.
? Nine drivers have won, led by Jeff Gordon with four.
? Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jarrett and Tony Stewart (two apiece) are the other multiple winners.
? Hendrick Motorsports has won six races, more than any other organization.
? Eight races have been won from a top-five starting position.
? Two drivers have won from the pole: Kevin Harvick in 2003 and Jimmie Johnson in 2008.
? The only time in the modern era that three brothers led at least one lap in the same race occurred in the inaugural race at Indianapolis (1994): Geoffrey, Brett and Todd Bodine.
? Dale Jarrett (1996) and Jimmie Johnson (2006) are the only drivers to win both the Daytona 500 and the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard in the same season.
? Jeff Gordon has an average finish of 8.6 in 15 Indianapolis races, the best of any driver with more than one race.

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