Race: Big Machine Vodka 400 at The Brickyard
Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Speedway, Indiana)
Track Length: 2.5 miles (Asphalt)
Distance: 160 laps (400 miles)
Defending Champion: Kasey Kahne
Hello NASCAR fans! I hope everyone had a fun and safe Labor Day. Mine was relaxing but after the swing and a miss on Denny Hamlin at Darlington, it wasn’t as exciting as it could’ve been. There are times like that when you’ll misread; just need to learn from it and move it. Kyle Larson was dominant, and I didn’t have any of him either, so it was a double negative for my LUs and in the DK world, that doesn’t equal a positive.
This week we head to Indianapolis for another prestigious race for the chance to kiss the bricks. That’s right – it’s the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Vodka Brickyard 400 brought to you by Florida Georgia Line! Okay, I went a bit overboard there but what used to be known strictly as ‘The Brickyard’ has gotten extensive with it’s sponsors. This year it’s the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard. I was born and raised near Indianapolis, so I understand how big of a race this is locally and for drivers. With the history of the Indy 500 at the track, many drivers put this toward the top of the tracks they want to win at. And luckily for the NASCAR guys, they don’t have to drink milk after winning (sorry Indy fans).
Chevrolet has been dominant at Indy, winning a total of 17 times. 10 of those have come from Hendrick cars, so you must keep your eyes on them heading into the weekend. Kyle Busch has taken a liking to the track recently, going back to back in 2015 and 2016. The race has always taken place in late July/early August since it’s inaugural race in 1994 but this year, the schedule was rearranged and being held in September for the first time.
If NASCAR was hoping to get cooler days in Indiana by moving the race 4-6 weeks, they succeeded. However, the forecast still isn’t cooperating. Both Xfinity practices were cancelled Friday and the chance of rain isn’t getting better until Monday. Current forecast shows a 100% chance of rain tomorrow and a 90% chance of rain Sunday. Speaking with family in the area, there hasn’t been much of a break for a couple of days and local stations are already mentioning a Monday race. At least this week we’ll have football to watch if there is a rainout, but you still always hate weather postponing a race.
Drivers to Watch
Kyle Busch $11,700: I mentioned he won back to back races in 15 and 16. He also has two runner up finishes in his L6 races, meaning he’s finished 1st or 2nd in 4 of his L6. Last week he started on the pole and led 87 laps before he and Martin Truex got into each other running 1st and 2nd, taking out both contenders. I expect Kyle to start and run up front all day, continuing his success at Indy.
Chase Elliott $9,200: Chase is back to the price range where I think he should be. Last week I mentioned the bump and the productivity just isn’t there to warrant it. I mentioned earlier that Chevy, and more importantly Hendrick, has been successful at Indy and if that continues, Chase is the favorite of the Hendrick cars to contend. Not a great history here in his 3 starts with, including 39th last year after engine failure. The Hendrick engine failures is concerning after last week, but Chase was able to escape those and still have a good night. Will be interesting to see how he looks heading into the race.
Chris Buescher $6,500: I was going to stay quiet about Buescher until my DFS preview depending on where he started and the value I saw, but NASCAR.com and other reputable sites are already touting him as a sleeper. I expect him to be decently owned in this price range, so it may present a good pivot area if you’re looking to fade. But with two career races at Indy, he has finished 14th and 9th with an average +12 place differential.
Everyone be sure to check back Sunday morning for this week’s Made, Fade, & Trade. Hopefully the rain will hold off and we can get some racing this weekend.