Last weekend to put it in layman’s terms, was a flat out miss. First off, the race was delayed by over three hours due to rain and it had to be raced that night before the hurricane forced everyone to evacuate. What a crazy start and it didn’t wind up finishing until 2 AM local time. Bravo to the crowd for sticking it out late into the night on Labor Day Weekend. Erik Jones came out of nowhere, at least in my view, and won the race. Kyle Busch went from 33rd to 3rd and the only other driver I had keyed on that hit was Harvick who finished 4th. Hamlin was running top 5 before an incident ruined his day, Byron had a similar issue and the Roush Fenway sub-25 performances tanked any decent lineup I had left. I digress, time for Indy as Jimmie Johnson tweeted.
Speaking of Johnson, the seven-time champ currently sits 18 points out of the final playoff spot, in jeopardy of missing the NASCAR postseason for the first time in his Hall of Fame career. He does have 4 wins to his credit at Indy and if there’s a place where he can end that long winless streak, it’s this weekend in the Brickyard 400. Johnson hasn’t won at Indy since 2012, Kyle Busch is the only active driver with more than one win at Indy having won back-to-back in ’15 & ’16. Could we see a first-time winner this season? Paul Menard‘s lone win in the Cup Series came at Indy and Ryan Newman also won there in 2013. A win for either could flip the playoff scenario on it’s head, much like when Kasey Kahne won two years back.
Brad Keselowski is probably the man to beat after his win last year and a runner-up the year prior. Kevin Harvick has also had a fare amount of success getting around Indy with a career average finish of 9.39 with 12 top 10’s in 18 career races. Kyle Busch has an outstanding 11 top 10’s in 14 career starts in the Brickyard 400 with those two aforementioned wins. There’s an interesting battle among bubble-drivers, Clint Bowyer is +8 and ran top 5 last year, another solid run will lock himself in. Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman are even in points, but currently Suarez would be in based on a tie-breaker. Suarez ran top 10 two years back as did Newman last year, but with both in new rides for this season it remains to be seen how they will finish out the regular season on Sunday.
Odds for Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
-Kyle Busch 3/1
-Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick 6/1
-Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones 8/1
-Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano 10/1
-Kyle Larson 12/1
-Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott 20/1
-Clint Bowyer, William Byron, Daniel Suarez 40/1
-Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman 60/1
-Ryan Newman 80/1
-Paul Menard, Matt DiBenedetto 100/1
Brickyard 400 DraftKings Picks:
*Selections made prior to qualifying*
As you’ll note above these are the guys I like based on price, prior results and what I saw in practice time. A good or a bad qualifying spot could shift who I prioritize and like this weekend.
Brad Keselowski ($9,800): Last year’s winner comes this weekend under the $10K threshold. Add to that, Keselowski was top 3 in speed during opening practice and lap average in final practice. The No. 2 team is ready to flip the switch heading into the playoffs, much like a year ago.
Denny Hamlin ($11,400): Hamlin got into the wall and wrecked his primary car and will have to start from the rear, regardless of qualifying. Best case a sub-30 “official” starting spot per DK scoring and chalk in place differential. They’ll have the speed in a backup car and this team has been dialed in enough to wheel it inside the top 10.
Kevin Harvick ($10,000): Harvick is very well priced and although they haven’t shown the pure speed you’re hoping for, the 4 car has long run speed and should be a threat to contend on Sunday.
Kurt Busch ($9,400): His brother Kyle will cost you $12K, Kurt is priced to win some money after posting top speeds in both practices and being fastest in final practice in lap average. Now, we’ll just see where he qualifies. I like Kurt regardless this weekend.
Jimmie Johnson ($8,000): Call he a homer going with my guy here, but I’m rolling with the 48. They desperately need a win or a really good run to point themselves in, fortunately this is a place Jimmie gets around well. He’s got a top 10 car in speed and lap average, he’ll want track position all day. At this price, and at 60/1 Jimmie is a very real threat to WIN on Sunday.
Paul Menard ($6,800): Menards only career win came at Indy, he’s in better equipment now with a team that’s won on longer tracks and was fastest in final practice. If he qualifies 15th or worse I’ll have a heavy dose of Menard sprinkled across my lineups.
Value Plays: Bubba Wallace ($6,100), Daniel Hemric ($6,200), David Ragan ($5,900), Ryan Preece ($6,000)
I want to say Jimmie Johnson here and that could very well happen if this comes down to a fuel-mileage race again, but I can’t pick him flat out when there are guys that appear to be ahead of him.
Brad Keselowski is one of those guys. I do not believe in Kyle Busch tomorrow, Kurt is probably my second pick but I’m rolling with Brad to win back-to-back.