NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – News & Notes – “Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400” – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
News & Notes
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard
The Place: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, July 26
The Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)
TV: NBC Sports Network, 3 p.m. (ET)
Radio: IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM Ch. 90
Distance: 400 miles (160 laps)
Human Torch Kyle Busch Goes For Fantastic Fourth Victory Of The Season And Third Straight
Winner of the past two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and three of the last four events, Kyle Busch will attempt to become the first driver since Jimmie Johnson in 2007 to take the checkered flag in three consecutive races when he gets behind the wheel for Sunday’sCrown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network). That year, Johnson won four straight races during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix – on the way to his second career NSCS title.
Busch has never won at Indianapolis, but finished second there last season and in 2012. He claims three top fives (30%) and eight top 10s in 10 starts at the Brickyard. The fact Busch has only started within the top 10 once makes his finishing stats even more impressive.
The No. 18 Toyota driver returned to action in late May, just three months after breaking his right leg and left foot. He ranks second in the NSCS with three wins after competing in a mere eight races.
Flash Gordon: Brickyard Record-Holder Says Goodbye To Hometown Track
Jeff Gordon, who spent his formative years in Pittsboro, Indiana, will make his final start at his “hometown track” in Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Gordon boasts a track-record five wins at the Brickyard. The No. 24 driver won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the 2.5-mile track in 1993 and took the checkered flag in last season’s race, 20 years later.
Currently 12th on the Chase Grid, Gordon still needs a win to automatically qualify for NASCAR’s playoffs. He rides a streak of three straight top-10 finishes into Indy.
Hoosier Winner: Indiana Drivers Share Brickyard Success
Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman all called Indiana home during the formative years. Coincidentally, they have all been successful at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The trio has combined for eight Brickyard 400 wins (Gordon, 5; Stewart, 2; Newman, 1). Adding to the Hoosier State’s racing legacy, Gordon (4) and Stewart (3) have produced four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships.
Can Chevrolet Extend Record Streak At IMS?
A Chevrolet manufactured car has won 12 straight races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the longest current streak in NASCAR. The run has featured three stock car generations and seven different winning drivers (Click here for a graphic detailing Chevy’s dominance at the Brickyard).
Generation 6 |2013-present: Jeff Gordon (2014), Ryan Newman (2013)
Generation 5 | 2007-12: Paul Menard (2011), Jimmie Johnson (2008-09, 2012) Jamie McMurray (2010), Tony Stewart (2010)
Generation 4 | 1992-2006: Jimmie Johnson (2006), Tony Stewart (2005), Jeff Gordon (2004), Kevin Harvick (2003)
Indiana Victory Lane – The Home Of Champions
Drivers readying to compete at Indianapolis Motor Speedway better eat their Wheaties because the track’s Victory Lane is the home of champions.
In all, 17 of 21 Brickyard 400 races have been won by a past or future NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. Kevin Harvick was the latest driver to join the list when he captured the NSCS title least season. He won at IMS in 2003.
Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart all have a NSCS championship and a Brickyard 400 win.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Package For IMS Set
At Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend, NASCAR will debut its second track-specific rule package of the season.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series package planned for Indianapolis includes a 43-inch radiator pan (increased from 38 inches), a two-inch splitter leading edge, a one-inch wicker bill and nine-inch spoiler (increased from six inches). The increased downforce adds drag to the car and creates a larger draft window in the back.
“When you look at a lot of the data, and obviously you see it play out on the race track, but the belief is that the second-place car, if they’re lined up maybe two, three, four, five, could have a five-mile-an-hour difference between the leader,” NASCAR Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said. “As an example, if you came out of Turn 2 and you had a four-car-length lead, it’s the belief that second and third, if they hooked up, could head into Turn 3 up on the bumper of the leader and potentially have kind of that, more of that slingshot that you used to see and the ability to pass. A lot of that we’ve got to see in the real world once we’re out there at Indy, but that’s the effect we believe it’ll have.”
For Indianapolis, teams will be allowed to change their engines prior to qualifying and data will be permitted at practice. A single gear will be used, but teams will bring four different gears. NASCAR will determine which gear is needed after practice. Teams will start on a 3.70 gear.
The Indianapolis rule package differs from the first track-specific rule package used this season at Kentucky which created lower downforce. The modifications helped produce a track-record 22 green-flag passes for the lead and a total of 2,665 green-flag passes overall.
Qualifying Format Different At Indy This Weekend
Both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series will use the superspeedway qualifying format at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. The qualifying format was updated to align with the high-draft rule package.
There will be two rounds of qualifying with drivers turning one timed lap. The qualifying order in the first round will be determined by a random draw. The top-12 drivers from round 1 advance to the final round where their times are reset. The final round qualifying order will be set from slowest to fastest speeds in the first round with starting positions 1-12 determined by the fastest laps in the second session.
Jeff Gordon won the Coors Light Pole Award under this format at Talladega in May.
Chase Watch: 7 To Go
Only seven races remain before the 16-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field is set.
Here’s what we know:
Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson have fulfilled two of the three Chase criteria. All three have the multiple wins that guarantee a spot among the top 16 winners, and have locked up a top 30 spot. All they need to do now is start each of the remaining races in the regular season.
A few drivers can join them this weekend. If Kurt Busch leaves Indy with a 289 point lead over 31st, he will lock up a top 30 spot. Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin all need to win, and in some cases get some help to lock up a top 30 spot (leaving Indy with a 289 point lead over 31st).
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