NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Distance: 400 miles (160 laps)
Sunday, July 24 3 p.m. ET TV: NBCSN, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR XFINITY Series Lilly Diabetes 250
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Distance: Heat 1 (20 Laps, 50 Miles), Heat 2 (20 Laps, 50 Miles) Main (60 Laps, 150 Miles)
Saturday, July 23 3:30 p.m. ET TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR Pinty’s Series the Pinty’s Alberta Has NEW Energy 300
Edmonton International Raceway Semi-banked oval Asphalt Length: Quarter Mile
Saturday, July 23 7:30 p.m. local/5:30 p.m. ET TV: Tape Delayed TSN
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
Smoke’s Swan Song At The Brickyard
Tony Stewart – from Columbus, Indiana – will take his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at The Brickyard (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
In 17 starts at Indy, Stewart boasts two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s and 227 laps led. He also owns the second-best average finish (9.6) and third-highest average running position (11.6)
Stewart heads to the 2.5-mile track with plenty of momentum. He has three top-five finishes in his last four starts, including a runner-up showing last Sunday at New Hampshire and a win at Sonoma.
For his career, the No. 14 Chevrolet driver claims three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, 49 wins, 105 top fives, 305 top 10s, and 12,818 laps led.
A 50th win would tie Stewart with NASCAR Hall of Famers Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett for 11th on the all-time list. Every eligible driver with as many wins as Stewart is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“It’s a big deal to us to win here (at Indianapolis),” Stewart said. “This is an event that I definitely circle on the schedule and emotionally have a lot invested in it. To us, it’s definitely not just another stop that’s on the calendar and on the schedule. You don’t just pull in and say, ‘we’re going to go in, try to win the race and then pull out of here.’ When you’re here, you’re amped up because you’re at Indianapolis.”
Super Sub: Gordon To Fill In For Earnhardt At The Brickyard
Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will take the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet in Sunday’s Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard as a substitute for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has not been cleared by physicians to compete in at least the next two contests as he recovers from concussion-like symptoms
Hendrick Motorsports couldn’t have a better fill-in. Gordon boasts a track-record five victories at Indianapolis and also boasts 12 top fives, 17 top 10s and three poles at the iconic track.
A surefire future NASCAR Hall of Famer, Gordon ranks third on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins list with 93 victories. For his career, he boasts 325 top fives, 475 top 10s and 81 Coors Light Pole Awards.
Gordon, who spent the majority of his developmental years in Pittsboro, Indiana, won the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis as a second-year driver in 1994.
Kiss Brick Kid: Kyle Busch Goes For Second Straight Indy Win
Prior to his win at The Brickyard last season, Kyle Busch was known as a mega-talent who could rack up wins, but couldn’t get to Victory Lane in marquee events.
That changed as he followed up his Indy victory by navigating his way through the Chase and taking home the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with a victory in the Championship 4 race in Miami.
In 11 career starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Busch owns one win, four top fives, nine top 10s and an average finish of 9.7 (third-best). He also claims the third-best driver rating (101.5) and fourth-best average running position (11.7) there.
Richard Childress Racing Hopes For More Brickyard Magic
It’s been 107 races, and nearly three years, since Richard Childress Racing last won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series contest – Ryan Newman’s July 28, 2013 victory at Indianapolis.
This could be the weekend RCR ends its drought. In addition to Newman’s win in 2013, fellow RCR driver Paul Menard took the checkered flag in the 2011 race at the Brickyard. Additionally, Ty Dillon won the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis in 2014. The only other time the organization won at the 2.5-mile track was with Dale Earnhardt in 1995.
Lately, Newman has shown good form with three top 10s in his last four races, including a season-best third-place performance at Kentucky.
Menard has struggled a season removed from making his first career Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His only top-10 is an eighth-place showing at Martinsville.
Enjoying a breakout season, RCR’s Austin Dillon has shown signs he could win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race soon. He has three top fives and eight top 10s on the year.
Indiana Pacer: Johnson Leads Active Drivers In Wins At Brickyard
Count Indianapolis Motor Speedway among the many tracks where Jimmie Johnson is dominant.
The No. 48 Chevrolet driver leads active drivers with four wins, and a 106.5 driver rating at the 2.5-mile track. Additionally, he ranks second in average running position (11.1).
Johnson is the only driver who has won at Indy in consecutive seasons (2008-09).
In need of momentum, Johnson has a high finish of 12th in his last six races and has placed worse than 30th in three of them.
His Hendrick Motorsports team boasts nine wins at Indianapolis, more than twice as many as second-best Joe Gibbs Racing (4).
Elliott Excelling At Long Ovals
Could Indianapolis be the site of Chase Elliott’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win?
Recent numbers show there’s a distinct possibility.
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner performed well at the larger non-restrictor-plate tracks last week with finishes of fourth and second, respectively, at Pocono and Michigan. He led 51 laps at The Tricky Triangle and 35 go-arounds in The Great Lakes State.
Elliott finished 18th at the Brickyard in one of his five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts in the No. 25 Chevrolet last season.
7 To Go: Only 5 Chase Berths Remain With 7 Races Left Until NASCAR’s Playoffs
Only seven races remain for drivers to lock up one of the final five Chase berths.
A visit to Victory Lane gets a winless driver into the Chase as long as he/she is in the top 30 of the points standings.
The drivers who likely would get into the Chase because of wins are: Brad Keselowski (4 wins), Kyle Busch (3), Carl Edwards (2), Jimmie Johnson (2), Matt Kenseth (2), Kevin Harvick (1), Kurt Busch (1), Joey Logano (1), Martin Truex Jr. (1), Denny Hamlin (1) and Tony Stewart (1).
McMurray, Menard and Newman are the only currently winless drivers who have visited Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the site of Sunday’s race.
Below are the remaining tracks after Indy and winless drivers who have visited Victory Lane at them:
Pocono: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman
Watkins Glen: AJ Allmendinger
Bristol: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne
Michigan: Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne
Darlington: Greg Biffle, Regan Smith
Richmond: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Prepares For NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash Finale
The NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash that has introduced Two Heats and a Main to competition this season is reaching its conclusion this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
Qualifying for each Dash 4 Cash event will set the 40-car field and the starting positions for the two Heats with the fastest qualifier awarded the Coors Light Pole Award. Odd-numbered qualifiers (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.) will start in the first Heat in respective order, while even-numbered qualifiers (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.) will start the second Heat in respective order.
The two Heats will set the starting positions for the Main with the top two NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars in each Heat becoming eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus. The highest finishing driver among the four Dash 4 Cash eligible drivers will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. If any driver wins two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available, he/she is all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In short, two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are equivalent to one race win in the new NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase format. Ty Dillon is the only driver with the opportunity to complete the task on Saturday. Erik Jones won two Dash 4 Cash bonuses, but already had a visit to Victory Lane previously.
Drivers must have declared to earn NASCAR XFINITY Series points in order to be eligible for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus.
Erik Jones Lands First Cinch Of 2016 XFINITY Series Chase
Theoretically three championship contenders have won races this season and ‘virtually’ locked themselves into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, but only Erik Jones has captured a berth in the Chase by logging multiple wins and surpassing the threshold in points to not possibly fall out of the top 30 in points. By accomplishing both of these criteria, he becomes the first driver this season to clinch his spot. All Jones has to do now is start the remaining nine regular season races on the series schedule and he is in.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s latest prodigy, Jones is having a season worth noting, especially for a rookie. In 17 starts, Jones has posted a series-leading six poles, two wins and 10 top fives.
Jones is looking for redemption at Indianapolis. In his debut at the famed track last season, he started third but finished 34th.
Chase Bubble: Points Tighten Near Cutoff Line
The points between 12th in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings and 15th have closed from 44 points after Kentucky to 29 following New Hampshire, raising the intensity around the Chase bubble and the drivers vying for a spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase.
Blake Koch currently holds the final spot in the XFINITY Series Chase – 12th place in points – just ahead of 13th-place Ross Chastain (-13), 14th-place Jeremy Clements (-18) and 15th-place Dakoda Armstrong (-29).
Koch faces an uphill battle defending the final Chase spot this weekend. He has made two starts at Indianapolis, posting a best finish of 37th. His closest competitors on the Chase bubble have fared quite better and could capitalize at Indianapolis. Chastain has made one start at IMS, starting 30th and driving up to a 22nd-place finish. Clements has made four starts at IMS, recording a best finish of 10th. Dakoda Armstrong also has made two starts at IMS, logging an average finish of 18th.
Ty Dillon Pining For Return Kiss
One of the most competitive drivers the last two seasons has been Richard Childress Racing’s Ty Dillon. Dillon currently sits third in points, vying for a spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. The only thing missing on Dillon’s 2016 resume is a win.
Dillon will have gone without a win a full two seasons when he gets behind the wheel this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Not since his first series victory at Indianapolis in 2014 has he been to Victory Lane – a total of 64 winless races.
Can Indianapolis be the answer to Dillon’s win drought? Possibly.
Dillon has posted two runner-up finishes this season and is looking to rebound this week following an accident at New Hampshire that relegated him to his worst finish of the season (33rd). In Dillon’s three starts at IMS, he has posted one win, two top fives and an average finish of 4.3.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.
Toyota Power: In just 17 races this season Toyota has already matched the 11 wins it reached throughout all of last season. Chevrolet set the series’ record for the most wins by a manufacturer in a single season with 24 victories in 1999. The most wins Toyota has posted in a single season is 20 in 2008.
Double Duty at Indianapolis: Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson and Matt DiBenedetto make up the strong contingent of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars who are entered in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
NASCAR XFINITY Series in Indiana: The NASCAR XFINITY Series has hosted 34 races in the state of Indiana among two tracks (Indianapolis Motor Speedway, four races; Lucas Oil Raceway, 30 races). The first series race held in the state of Indiana was Lucas Oil Raceway on Aug. 13, 1982 and the event was won by Morgan Shepherd (Oldsmobile). The first race held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was on July 28, 2012. The race was won by Brad Keselowski.
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR