Tag Archives: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

“I Guess Kyle is Back”

Kyle Busch won the Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard. He didn’t dominate but he hung around the front of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race. Joey Logano, who came in second place, had the quote of the day “I guess Kyle is back.”

Winning four of the last five Sprint Cup races after missing the first eleven races due to injuries sustained in the opening Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway, Busch had his work cut out for him to make the Chase.  In all deference to Logano we knew last week when he won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  Kyle Busch is indeed back.

When asked if it boggles the mind to win four races in five weeks;  Kyle Busch said, “It does a little bit. Like I said, this is unbelievable – this is something special. There’s nothing else like it. I’m so blessed to be in the position I’m in, I can’t thank everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing enough, Joe Gibbs (owner), J.D. Gibbs (president) and the entire family for giving me the opportunity. I know I have plenty of blessings. Man, my wife (Samantha) and my son (Brexton) is here, too. This has been a phenomenal return. I won’t say phenomenal year because it was a dismal year to start with, but I guess I’ll take that 11 week vacation any year if it’s going to look like this.

Sure on paper it looked like Kyle Busch could average a 15th place finish plus win a race to make the Chase, but saying  and doing that is a totally different thing. Wining four races (the same amount of races Jimmie Johnson has won) was never on the radar. Busch is definitely making a statement.

Sure, he received a waiver because of injury;  but in reality he gave the competitors an eleven race head start. When he does make the Chase for the Sprint Cup (the NASCAR version of the playoffs) many will say he didn’t deserve it. In reality, he could had simply started the first eleven races and finished last. That is the rules.

This is one of the best things to happen to NASCAR in quite a while. Kyle Busch is not just point racing; he is taking it to them. If he makes the top 30 to win the Championship, it certainly makes him worthy.  The whole point of the Chase for the Sprint Cup is to make the later races of the season matter.  They have done that and more. The last races of the season are must-watch TV.

Busch is now an incredible twenty-three points out of the top 30 to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. To put that in perspective, he is less than one half a races out of the top 30. There are six races left for Kyle Busch to get into the top 30. Busch is all but there, but he isn’t going to just ride: He is going to continue to go at it. Busch may just make the top 30 next week.

We’re a championship contending team, we just have to be championship eligible. Thank the good Lord for bringing me back when he did. Obviously thanking him for all the success I’ve had in my life, where I’m at and all my blessings.” Busch added, “To get me back as quick as he did, to preserve through that and that deficit. We’re still continuing on, we can’t have bad days. I don’t know that any of that matters, we’re going to bask in this moment here.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 310891 Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

 

What is Your NASCAR Excellent Adventure?

In 2001 my buddy asked me to go to the Brickyard 400 with him and a couple other guys. I went. Most NASCAR fans will tell you they were hooked when they went to their first race. I was hooked just watching practice from turn two of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I was reeled in watching the Busch Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

One week later my buddy calls me up and tells me his other buddy from Milwaukee got tickets to the Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway. He made me an offer. Since I had a camper they would provide the tickets. I accepted even though it would be the second race weekend in three weeks.

We left the Chicago area after work and arrived at the Brookfest Campground across from MIS at 2 AM to set up camp.  Needless to say the ambiance of camping during a NASCAR race weekend is much different than staying in a hotel in Indianapolis. I really like both but nothing beats an all weekend tailgate party; ah stories for another day.

The next day another group of guys with a pop up set up camp behind us. We got to talking and they told us they were going on after Michigan to Bristol to see the night race. Ever since that day in 2001 I have always wanted to do that, well not exactly that but attend two race weekends in a row; following the series from one venue to another.

This year the new schedule presented a possibility. The second race of the season will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway. So unlike the many times I drove through Atlanta to go to Daytona International Speedway to see the Daytona 500, I could, on the way back, stop and watch the races. Such is the beginning of an excellent NASCAR Adventure.

The logistics of the both of us making this happen was such that we won’t be able to be in Daytona for the qualifying races. We will be watching them on TV somewhere between the Chicago area and Daytona. We will make the rest of the races that weekend and the races at Atlanta. NASCAR dream fulfilled.

I get to fulfill my NASCAR adventure, what is yours? Take time to tell us about it in the comment section below and who knows maybe we will see you along the way on your adventure.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Feature Photo Credit: 295405 Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images

Juan Pablo Montoya Returns to the Brickyard

This week NASCAR and Juan Pablo Montoya return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 21st running of the Brickyard 400. Montoya will be driving the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Ford for Penske Racing.

The historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a 2.5 mile relatively flat rectangular track. There are 9 degrees of banking in each of the four turns and 0 degrees in the straights. Sometimes it is referred to as an oval track, but it is really more like a rectangle since there is a small amount of straight away between turns 1 & 2 and turns 3 & 4.  The race is 160 laps, or 400 miles.

Indianapolis, more than any other speedway, races like it is a road course. Passing is difficult and usually comes from a driver setting up the pass via hitting his marks in the corner. The crew chief also has a part in running the race backwards, pitting for tires and fuel at the last time before the end of the race. The team that performs perfectly during the race, has great track position, and makes that last pit stop at the right time will win this race.

The driver ratings for Indianapolis feature the usual suspects. No surprise here. Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with a great rating of 109.8 followed by Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon at 104.1 and102.0, respectively. Next on the list is Juan Pablo Montoya at 96.7.

All four of these drivers would be a good pick for your Fantasy NASCAR racing but Juan Pablo Montoya is racing in an additional Penske Racing car. He is not racing for points this year. He is simply racing for a win.

Juan Pablo Montoya leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Indianapolis with a 6.429. This is very important at Indianapolis where track position is king.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are both going for their fifth Brickyard 400 win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 2009 Montoya was leading the race when he was caught speeding on pit road during the last pit stop. He essentially gave away a sure win. In 2010 he lost the lead on pit road due to pit strategy, over drove the car to get it back and crashed with 15 laps to go in a car that was sure to win.

I don’t know if Indianapolis owes me a win, but I probably deserve to have one by this point. I’ve run really well there in my Cup career, but I just wasn’t able to close the deal.” Montoya added, “Maybe I was just waiting to win for Roger Penske. If I could be the driver to win for him it would just be another ‘thank you’ to him for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to race for him. The Team Penske Fords have been very fast this year. It’s been awesome to watch Brad and Joey this year.

With the way the Penske cars of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have been running, Montoya will have one of the better cars he has had in a long time. With his road racing ability at a speedway that races like one, Montoya has the confidence going here unlike at any other racetrack.

Montoya said, “Absolutely. First off, I’m always confident that I can win. But it’s obvious that the Team Penske cars are the class of the field right now. I have one race under my belt with crew chief Greg Erwin and the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental team, so we are a little familiar with each other. We had good speed in that first race at Michigan and I think we should be even better after taking what we learned there and applying it to the car we are bringing this weekend. It’s exciting to be back in the Cup Series for another weekend. Hopefully we can cap it off with a win.

If you cannot get to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at The Brickyard, it will be shown on ESPN at 1 PM ET Sunday July 27th. 2014.

John Wayne Walding served in the United States Army for 12 years. He was involved in a fire fight during a mission in Afghanistan. As a decorated veteran and NASCAR fan he is being honored by Crown Royal during this race.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 288548 Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Indianapolis
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 109.8
Tony Stewart……………………….. 104.1
Jeff Gordon………………………… 102.0
Juan Pablo Montoya………………. 96.7
Kyle Busch…………………………… 96.5
Kasey Kahne………………………… 96.4
Matt Kenseth………………………… 95.8
Greg Biffle……………………………. 94.6
Kevin Harvick………………………… 90.2
Denny Hamlin……………………….. 88.3
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (nine total) among active drivers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.