NASCAR rail: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard

Dan Beaver



Dan Beaver

dba Media

WHERE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, Ind.

WHEN: TV Start 1 p.m. ET

BROADCAST: ESPN, live on Sirius satellite radio, channel 128

THE LOWDOWN: The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard rapidly attained marquee status and it did so with good reason. Before stock cars took to the track in 1994, the only race held there each year was the Indy 500 and stock car drivers could only dream of competing at this icon of American auto racing; now they have their chance for immortality alongside the Andrettis, Foyts, Mears and other open wheel legends. Of course, the payday doesn't hurt matters either. The least this race has ever paid a winner was $418,000 in 2003 to Kevin Harvick.


2007: Tony Stewart

2006: Jimmie Johnson

2005: Tony Stewart

2004: Jeff Gordon

2003: Kevin Harvick


In less than a year, Busch has gone from the expendable member of Hendrick Motorsports to become the first driver mentioned as the favorite to win this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup and he is piling up achievements left and right. From his first win at Darlington, his first World 600 to his first road course success, he is beating the odds in major and minor events. He missed the Daytona 500 by three spots, but won the Coke Zero 400 on that same track and now a Brickyard 400 victory would only cement his legend.

1. Kyle Busch

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 7.0 in three starts

Can Busch win what is arguably the second biggest race of the season? All signs point to "yes" since he's never finished outside the top 10 and has progressively improved in three starts. Last year, he finished fourth.

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 27.7 in three starts

Indy has not been very kind to Earnhardt during his career. While he has finished in the top 15 in about half his starts, he's never cracked the top five and three of his last four attempts were outside the top 25.

3. Jeff Burton

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 14.3 in three starts

Burton is generally thought of as a flat track master, but that success has not transferred to Indy. In his career, he's logged only three top-10s with an average finish of 18.4 and his last three years are just as bad.

4. Carl Edwards

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 13.0 in three starts

Edwards' career at Indy has been consistent, if not overly strong. His best result there came in 2006 when he finished ninth. Unfortunately, his worst was last year when he crossed the finish line 18th.

5. Jimmie Johnson

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 26.0 in three starts

Johnson's victory in the 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard stands like a Mesa in the desert. Three of his last four efforts there ended in DNFs and finishes in the high 30s.

6. Jeff Gordon

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 9.0 in three starts

Gordon continues to frustrate his fans with only one top-10 in his last six starts but Indy has always been kind to him. His four victories and eight top-fives lead all drivers by nearly two-to-one.

7. Greg Biffle

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 23.0 in three starts

The drivers sixth through 15th are separated by too few points to stumble in a single race and Biffle will have to hold his breath this weekend after earning only one Indy top-10 in five career starts.

8. Matt Kenseth

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 5.7 in three starts

Kenseth's three-year average finish is remarkable in its own right, but before sweeping the top 10 in those events, he overcame long odds after qualifying 20th or worse in all.

9. Kevin Harvick

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 9.7 in three starts

Harvick has been practically perfect at Indy. In seven starts there, he's finished worse than 11th only once and his career average of 7.7 makes this his second-best track in that regard.

10. Tony Stewart

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 3.3 in three starts

Like Kenseth, Stewart hasn't allowed a slow start to get in the way of success at Indy. He qualified 22nd, 32nd and 14th in his last three attempts respectively before winning twice and finishing eighth once.

11. Kasey Kahne

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 26.0 in three starts

Racing is a zero sum game. For drivers like Stewart and Kenseth to advance, they have to pass drivers like Kahne and after starting on the first three rows at Indy during the last two years, he crashed out of both.

12. Denny Hamlin

Last three year's average finish at Indy: 16.0 in two starts

With a 27th at Infineon, a 26th at Daytona and a 40th at Chicagoland, Hamlin is tumbling through the standings, but he is a flat track master and should stop his downward spiral this week.