After a rare week off during its 36 race season, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) returns to competition on the 2.5-mile oval track with nine degree banking at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Brickyard 400 presented by BigMachineRecords.com in Indianapolis, Ind., will be aired Sunday, July 31 at 1 p.m. on ESPN.
Race 20 at the revered Indianapolis track in its 100th year of motorsports racing brought comparisons with another legendary track Daytona by Jamie McMurray during a teleconference. McMurray won at both tracks last season.
“I think if you’re a NASCAR guy, there’s just nothing like the Daytona 500,” McMurray said. “Even for NASCAR guys Indy has had so much history. Other than Daytona, it’s where everybody wants to win at. Both of them are really cool, but it’s different, one of them being a plate track and one of them being more of an intermediate type track. Both of them are still really cool to win at.”
The present leaders in the Sprint Cup Series, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch shared their thoughts on hallowed brickyard.
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford)
“Indy is tough because you have to be able to turn in the center of the corners and that sounds very simple, but it’s very difficult because the corners are so sharp for such a high-speed race track,” Edwards said. “You have to have a really big engine because you slow down so much and then have these short chutes in between, so the FR9 should be a big help to us this year.”
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
On the first half of the season: “I would say parity is really the first thing that comes to mind,” Johnson said. “You can flip it around and maybe say the lack of a dominant team as well. There have been guys that can flex muscle at times, but no one consistently has just schooled everybody. It’s been very, very equal this year and unpredictable if you will. A lot of first time winners, which is great to have and no runaways right now. It’s been an exciting time for the fans I believe. Then also we’ve been acting like fools out there at times so that’s always spicing things up.”
Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Chevrolet)
“When you go to Indy there can be nobody sitting in the grandstands and it’s still Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Harvick said. “It’s still been there for 100 years and still is our second biggest race that we go to. So for us, it’s where you bring your latest and greatest car, you latest and greatest engine, and it’s just kind of like the Daytona 500. It’s all about trying to win the race and putting it on the line to do that. It’s a prestigious race to win and nobody in the garage is going to go there with any intention other than to try to win the race when they unload their cars.”
Kurt Busch (No. 22 Dodge)
“It’s only natural to have in the back of your mind what it would mean if we can win the race – the really big picture of the significance of a Brickyard 400 win for Roger and Penske Racing,” Busch said. “With Roger’s success in the open wheel ranks at Indianapolis – with an incredible 15 wins and 16 poles in the Indy 500 — the significance of putting a win there in the NASCAR record book is certainly magnified. It would be a major accomplishment to be the first Penske Racing NASCAR driver to score that victory.
“Indy’s definitely a particular racetrack and it’s exciting for us all to go there, especially with the history there and the prestige of winning that event.”
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)
“Indianapolis is probably one of the trickiest places we go to on the schedule – Pocono being one, Darlington being one, Indy being another,” Busch said. “It’s so hard to find a particular line that really, really works for you or really works for your car because the groove is so narrow. It’s plenty wide for one or one-and-a-half cars, but the line that you run around there, you vary six inches and it feels so different. You really have to be particular in hitting your marks and getting your car set up. Indy’s definitely a particular racetrack and it’s exciting for us all to go there, especially with the history there and the prestige of winning that event.”
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained from official release materials provided by NASCAR.