Podium Preview: Brickyard 400

Certainly, Bubba Wallace wants a Brickyard 400 win. (Photo Credit: Matteo Marcheschi/TPF)

Certainly, Bubba Wallace wants a Brickyard 400 win. (Photo Credit: Matteo Marcheschi/TPF)

Simply put, the Brickyard 400 remains one of NASCAR’s crown jewel events.  Whether it’s 1994 or 2019, drivers want nothing more than to add their name and team to Indianapolis Motor Speedway immortality.

While this mammoth 2.5-mile superspeedway receives plenty of accolades and attention in May, the first full weekend of September remains NASCAR’s moment for Brickyard 400 mania.  Drivers like Gordon, Earnhardt, Jarrett, Rudd, Labonte, and Elliott emerged victorious at Indy.

At the moment, our columnists, Ashley HobbsChristina BowmanCody Shoppe, Jose Acero JrKobe LambethStephen Conley, Tanner Brown, and yours truly mull over drivers with momentum and the magic of the Brickyard 400!

Trending Topics
Question 1
Might "That Jones Boy" become Indiana Jones in today's Brickyard 400? (Photo Credit: Matteo Marcheschi/TPF)

Might “That Jones Boy” become Indiana Jones in today’s Brickyard 400? (Photo Credit: Matteo Marcheschi/TPF)

Which drivers do you feel are peaking at the right time as we quickly approach the regular season finale at Indianapolis?

Acero :  Hamlin seems to have pushed the cheat codes we all used playing video games. I feel that he is the hottest driver on track at the moment and a legit threat to win the championship. Wouldn’t surprise me if he wins this Sunday! 

Bowman :  Denny Hamlin seems to have found a solid streak of momentum and consistency in the last month or two. Erik Jones coming through with a win last week was HUGE for that team and if played well, they can carry that into the playoffs. You also can’t count out the points leader Kyle Busch! I don’t feel as mthough he has peaked per se, so it could be an interesting chase if he still has more to leave on the track. 

Brown :  I think Denny Hamlin is the easy choice here. He has won 2 of the last 5 races, and this run he is having reminds me of Brad K’s run at the end of the regular season last year. I also think Erik Jones is starting to find his stride as well. He has been quietly consistent the past few weeks, and just came off a huge win in the Southern 500.

Cassidy :  When talking about consistency you have to talk about Brad K! The #2Crew as been solid each and every week for the majority of the season. Yes you need to win to get in – but consistency can score you points that can make a difference!

Conley :  This weeks winner, Erik Jones has made a huge improvement over the last two months and outside of two finishes out of the top 15 at Michigan and Bristol, Jone has shown consistent speed and the ability to pass. The 20 team is trending in the right direction and now with a win under the belt they’ve got momentum. Plus Joe Gibbs has seem to make it quite clear that Jones is back with the team in 2020. 

Hobbs :  You have to look at guys who have been running consistently lately, and one of those drivers would be Denny Hamlin. Hamlin has been knocking off great finishes for two months now (exception of Darlington). Matt DiBenedetto has also been flying pretty high for several months now with some amazing finishes; and for a lower-tier team, that is something to be darn thrilled with. And, while Kyle Busch has not seen victory lane in a few months, his finishes have still been stellar.

Question 2
Drivers like Joey Logano might make Brickyard 400 memories today! (Photo Credit: Matteo Marcheschi/TPF)

Drivers like Joey Logano might make Brickyard 400 memories today! (Photo Credit: Matteo Marcheschi/TPF)

While the Brickyard 400 may be polarizing to some, what makes this race still so prestigious and renowned to drivers, teams, and fans?

Lambeth :  The history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is special. Some of the greatest drivers to ever exist have competed at the Speedway. When you go through Gasoline Alley, you have entered hallowed grounds. Drivers want to kiss the bricks and become a winner at Indy, which is one of the most iconic tracks in the world. 

Shoppe :  It is just such an honor for any driver to get the chance to race there. Nascar as a group has always felt sort of like guests at this special, iconic place having not being a part of the track’s signature event the Indianapolis 500 open-wheel race. Since IMS began over 100 years ago, the relationship sanctioning bodies that ran races at Indy haven’t always been friendly to Nascar. At one point Bill France Sr was even escorted off the property for just wanting to watch practice. So for today’s drivers to get the chance to race here and maybe even win is something very special.

Sisoler :  I think it’s the history of this track in general. It has been one of the longest standing tracks in motorsport, and for decades drivers from around the world centered their calendars around trying to win at “The Brickyard,” and despite the struggling attendance and popularity, the prestige of winning at Indy is too alluring to not race there.

Tiongson :  While this race may struggle in attendance, Indianapolis remains significant in all forms of motorsports.  Drivers and teams desire the possibility of crossing the yard of bricks first and putting themselves in racing immortality with the greats of IndyCar and NASCAR.

The Brickyard 400 isn’t a stranger to scrutiny.  Prior to the inaugural running in 1994, some fans feared the possibility of anything but an open wheel car around this 2.5-mile superspeedway.  The memorable first race erased those doubts.

Unfortunately, there was the tire debacle of 2008. However, we’ve seen some great moments like Paul Menard scoring his (so far) only Cup win in 2011 and Jeff Gordon’s fifth and final Brickyard 400 win in ‘14.  Whether you’re Kyle Larson or Josh Bilicki, the Brickyard 400 remains one of the crown jewel events of NASCAR.

Two laps around Indianapolis while holding it wide open!  Before we talk about the Brickyard 400 in further detail, here’s a look back at the Southern 500 with our race and points reports!
The machine loves Kyle Busch.

The machine loves Kyle Busch.

However, the humans want a strong regular season finish at Indy!

However, the humans want a strong regular season finish at Indy!

As always, Ashley Hobbs breaks down the stats by Crunching the Numbers, Brickyard 400 style!
How does your favorite team fare at Indy?

How does your favorite team fare at Indy?

Since 2004, the race winner has an average starting spot of 8.5 while leading an average of 55 laps.

Since 2004, the race winner has an average starting spot of 8.5 while leading an average of 55 laps.

Logano excels in the Brickyard 400.

Logano excels in the Brickyard 400.

Here's your trends at Indy since 2009.

Here’s your trends at Indy since 2009.

And here's the Brickyard 400 trends since 2014.

And here’s the Brickyard 400 trends since 2014.

The infernal machine believes in Rowdy.

The infernal machine believes in Rowdy.

Without further ado, here’s our picks to win today’s Brickyard 400!
Might one of these magnificent seven win today's Brickyard 400?

Might one of these magnificent seven win today’s Brickyard 400?

Bowman :  Brad Keselowski is the consistency king here. 

Cassidy :  Brad K.

Lambeth : I have a sneaky suspicion that Jimmie Johnson is going to find a way to secure his playoff berth, keeping the playoff streak alive and score a dramatic win at the Brickyard. Never count out ole seven-time.

Conley :  Win and he’s in – Jimmie Johnson makes the playoffs with a dramatic win. 

Hobbs :  With nothing to lose and more Playoff points to gain, the stars point to victory for Kyle Busch.

TPF Stats :  Indy is a tough track, and with it being the final race before the Playoffs begin, drivers outside the top-16 will do anything to kiss those bricks. However, one of the best drivers at the Brickyard is Kyle Busch and he will prevent any new winners this weekend.

Tiongson :  Michigan may be the home state of this year’s Southern 500 winner, but Driver 20 will win this year’s Brickyard 400.  Yes, I believe in Erik “Indiana” Jones.

Sisoler : Erik Jones.

Acero :  William Byron.

Brown :  Denny Hamlin was denied a win in the closing laps of the Brickyard 400 last year. He won’t be denied this time around.

Shoppe :  Joey Logano.

Race fans, thanks for joining us for our preview of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis!

We’re ready for some racing. How about you? What do you think are the biggest storylines heading into Sunday’s race and who is your favorite to win?  Tweet us now @ThePodiumFinish and tell us now!

Thanks as always to the TPF team for their amazing efforts this week!  We hope to see you at the races in 2019. 

The opinions and thoughts expressed in Podium Preview are solely of the authors. They do not reflect any organizations affiliated with the participants and author outside of TPF. This weekly feature is strictly for entertainment purposes and are not indicative of TPF, the organization, and its staff.

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *