The Sprint Cup series returns to action from a week’s hiatus for the running of the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard, which is NASCAR’s annual pilgrimage to one of the most storied tracks in all racing: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sunday’s race is slated to get underway at 12 p.m. EST and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
The following is look at a few of our top favorites, contenders, and best value for Sunday’s Brickyard 400 along with each driver’s odds to win as provided by Sportbook.ag.
Jimmie Johnson 6/1
Johnson continues to be one of the hottest drivers in the Sprint Cup series with seven Top-10 finishes in his last nine races, including victories at Darlington and Dover. The No. 48 car has worked its way to fourth-place in the Sprint Cup standings with 656 points and it is just 51 points out of the lead. Johnson’s last two trips to the Brickyard have been forgettable with a 22nd-place finish in 2010 and a 19th-place finish last season, but he had dominated this race from 2006 to 2009 with three checkered flags in the four-year span.
Tony Stewart 8/1
Stewart is another veteran driver that comes into this race in excellent form. He has posted four Top-5 finishes in his last six races, including a victory in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona earlier this month. This run has moved the No. 14 car to seventh in the standings with 618 points and he is now 89 points out first place. Stewart adds even more value to these odds given his recent success at this track. He won the Brickyard 400 in 2005 and 2007 and last year’s sixth-place finish was his seventh Top-10 in his last eight races at Indianapolis.
Matt Kenseth 10/1
Kenseth is the current Sprint Cup point leader with 707 points and he’s holding a slim 16-point lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the standings. He has nine Top-5 finishes in the first 19 points races this season, including a victory in the Daytona 500. The No.17 car has remained consistent in recent weeks with eight Top-10 finishes in his last 10 races. Kenseth’s recent performance at Indianapolis has also been solid, with six Top-10 finishes in its last 10 races here, including a fifth-place finish in last year’s race.
Denny Hamlin 10/1
Hamlin finished second in the last Sprint Cup point race at New Hampshire and is now in fifth-place in the standings with 628 points. It was his second Top -5 in his last three races to raise his total to nine on the season; that includes victories at both Phoenix and Kansas. The No. 11 car has struggled in its last three races at Indianapolis, but Hamlin does have two Top-10 finishes in six career races at this track, including a third-place finish in 2008.
Kyle Busch 12/1
Busch has had much more productive seasons in the Sprint Cup series, but he always remains a threat to win, especially in a high-profile race such as this. The No. 18 car is currently in 13th place in the standings with 542 points, but it’s still in position to make the Chase as a wildcard. While this race team has only finished in the Top 5 in five races this season, it does have a victory at Richmond on its 2012 resume. Busch has never won at Indianapolis, but he does have two Top-10 finishes in his last two races here and an average finishing position at this track of 13.1.
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