Who’ll Be Kissing the Bricks at Indy


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Indianapolis Motor Speedway… There are a lot of words used that many recognize as describing Indy. Some of them haven’t changed over the many years the speedway has been in existence. It has been called “the Brickyard”, “the greatest spectacle in racing” along with other descriptive words and the garage area is still called “Gasoline Alley” even after all these years. It used to be completely paved with bricks, was a race track recognized around the world and has always enjoyed prestigious place in the hearts and minds of drivers and fans everywhere.


Now, the “Brickyard” has only a yard of bricks at the finish line but, it is probably the most kissed yard of bricks in the World, especially since a NASCAR Cup team started the tradition many years ago.


It is, however, still called the “Brickyard” and is more popular than ever especially since the NASCAR teams started running there twenty years ago. The garage area is still a place that echoes the history it has experienced over the last one hundred or so years. Many great names have raced at the Brickyard and some have even died racing there.


It is still the home of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 is a Stock Car Racing event that is one of the biggest NASCAR races of any year. Ask any driver, whether in NASCAR or any other type of racing, if a win at Indianapolis is not something that is cherished when accomplished and is, or would be, highly respected by all.


Indy is one of the trickiest tracks the NASCAR Teams face. Perhaps it is because of the shape of the track and the lack of banking in the turns. Viewed from above it looks like a large rectangle with rounded corners. The cars enter the turns close to 210 miles per hour from the long front and rear straight-aways and they are, or at least appear to be, almost ninety degree turns. That makes for pretty tricky entries into them, especially when tried two or three wide.


Although it does have everything to do with winning the Brickyard 400, horsepower is one of the most important elements and looking at the front row, Hendrick horsepower will lead the field down the front straight and into the first turn when the green flag drops. Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson qualified four one hundredths of a second apart. To put it bluntly, there are a lot of fast cars running in this race and being out front in clean air is a major plus.


If statistics from previous races say anything about what might happen Sunday afternoon, starting up front could play a great part in taking the win. Although strategy can play a big part, many of the latest to win at Indy started in the top eight. That doesn’t bode well for the ones that qualified in the middle to the back of the pack and could put a barrier in their way to take a bad starting position all the way to Victory Lane.


Once again the Chevys and Toyotas arrived at the track showing strength and the Fords appear to be struggling a bit. Well, at least many of the Fords but Carl Edwards and his Roush Ford. He did lay down a very strong lap and starts third. In this fan’s opinion, he may be the surprise of the day. The Fords of Marcos Ambrose, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have their work cut out for themselves. I’m not ruling any of them out but, their task won’t be a cakewalk and they will have to fight and claw for every position.


I am not one that thinks qualifying well and running well in a race go together but Indianapolis is one of those places that could qualify for an exception to my own rule. More often than not, qualifying speeds and race lap speeds don’t often coincide but with the challenges the Cup teams will face for the afternoon, it is likely that speed will translate into running up front and taking home the trophy and the qualifying speeds may show that to be true.


As for which of the drivers will win this one, from this fan’s view I think I’ll go way out on a limb and pick a former winner and Cup Champion. I know a lot of you think I’m talking about Jimmie Johnson but he’s not my choice. No, I’m not even picking Tony Stewart although he could prove me wrong. I’m picking Jeff Gordon… Not because he looked so strong in practice and qualifying but because I think he is due to win one. He has been running strong much of the year but just hasn’t been able to take his good runs all the way to the checkered flag. I could be wrong, but he’s my pick to win this one…


See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© July 27, 2013 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com

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