Race: Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400
Date: July 5th
Venue: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
2019 Winner: Kevin Harvick (3:20:06)
Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Opened in 1909 (yes you read that right), this asphalt/brick 2.5 mile oval track really allows the racers to open up a bit. It is the 5th longest track on the NASCAR circuit and it’s the longest oval track at more than twice as long as the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (the next longest track). It has 9 degree banking on its turns and is good old open racing. This track, which can hold over 250,000 spectators—the highest capacity sports venue in the world—is the first to be called a “speedway”.
Kevin Harvick (fourth selection this year) — After a dominant first and second place with the back to back Pocono’s he can continue his dominant string with a race at Indianapolis where he has been in the top 10 each of the last five years. Harvick excels at the longer tracks like Charlotte, Talladega, Poconos and Indianapolis.
Denny Hamlin (third selection this year) — Four consecutive top 5 finishes including two wins bring him to a track where he has a bunch of top 10 wins over the last four years. He’s racing amongst the best on circuit right now.
High Risk/High Reward
William Byron (fourth selection this year) — He doesn’t have any top 5 finishes this year but he also 10 finishes between 15th and fifth. He was fourth here last year and he’s done well recently with five consecutive top 15 finishes.
Cole Custer (second selection this year) — The rookie has excelled at some of the longer tracks this year. Earlier this year at Charlotte he was 12th and 18th, he had an average 22nd at Talladega and then finished 16th and 17th at the Poconos. He won’t be a top 10 lock but there is a decent chance he lands in the top 15.
The Dark Horse
Matt Kenseth (third selection this year) — Matt Kenseth had back to back top 12 finishes this past weekend at the Poconos. Those were the first top 12 finishes he had all season. It’s still uncertain what caused the slow start this season. It could be adapted racing styles in 2019 that he is still catching up to competitive racing or maybe he’s not 100% in sync with his pit crew. Either way, I feel confident he’s getting into traction as he approached a track where he has a handful of top 10 finishes.
Fun Fact: This track was originally made up of stone and tar, this caused a lot of accidents so they paved it over with Bricks. Dale Jarrett and crew became the first to kiss it in 1996.
Favorite: Avg Finish 11th (29th Percent)
High Risk/High Reward: Avg Finish 18th (46th Percent)
Dark Horse: Avg Finish 16th (40th Percent)