NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Annual Stop at Indy Marks the Fourth Event in the “Race to The Chase”
“The Road To Richmond” roars back to action this weekend at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns from an off week to make its annual stop at the Brickyard. Sunday’s Brickyard 400 is the fourth event in the 2011 “Race to The Chase,” meaning only five races remain before the Wonderful Pistachios 400 “One Last Race To Make The Chase” at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, September 10th.
Similar to “One Last Race to Make The Chase,” the Brickyard 400 is one of the marquee events on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. Over the years, the Brickyard 400 has provided a good indication of who will win the series championship. NASCAR’s top series has raced at Indy 17 times with 14 races being won by past, reining or future series champions. In eight of those seasons the winner at the Brickyard has gone on to win the Sprint Cup Series title, including in four of the last six years. Jimmie Johnson won the series title after Brickyard 400 wins in 2006, 2008 and 2009, while Tony Stewart went on to win the Cup title following his victory at Indy in 2005.
This weekend could play an integral role in the Wild Card slot. Three drivers in particular are looking for their first win of the season, which could help them take a Wild Card position when the checkered flag flies in the Wonderful Pistachios 400 “One Last Race to Make The Chase” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray, last year’s Brickyard winner, are all good bets to take the checkered flag this weekend.
A native Hoosier, Stewart is always a threat at the Brickyard. Currently 11th in the points standings, the two-time Brickyard champion looks to become just the second driver-owner to win at Indy. The first was Virginia native, Ricky Rudd in 1997. With a series-best driver rating of 109.3 at Indianapolis, Stewart is the favorite for this weekend.
Montoya, currently 17th in points, finished second in the 2007 Brickyard 400 and might have won in 2009 if not for a late-race pit road speeding penalty while leading. He won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 and needs a win to be in contention for the Wild Card come September 10th.
McMurray, while 29th in points, won last year’s Brickyard 400 and, while it is a stretch, he is looking for a way to move up in the points for a chance at the Wild Card position. A win this weekend will help with that goal.
Here is a look at other drivers to keep an eye on as “The Road to Richmond” stops at the Brickyard:
Mark Martin: Currently 20th in points, Hendrick Motorsports has made it no secret that they want to push Martin to a win for a chance at a Wild Card position coming into Richmond. He has the third-best driver rating of 105.3, behind Stewart and Montoya (106.4).
Greg Biffle: With the fifth-best driver rating of 97.7, Biffle’s average finish is 13.9. He’s currently 15th in points and winless this season. A win this weekend could put him in contention for a Wild Card berth.
Jeff Burton: Much like McMurray, the thought of a Wild Card berth for Virginia native Burton is a stretch. He’s currently 25th in points, but he’s the seventh-best on the driver rating list this week at 95.0. He’s never won at the Brickyard, but does have one top five and five top 10 finishes.
When NASCAR returns to Richmond for the doubleheader weekend September 9-10, drivers will have one last shot to be one of the top 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Anything can happen on “The Road to Richmond.” Get your tickets now to see the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers battle “under the lights” in the Wonderful Pistachios 400 “One Last Race to Make the Chase.” Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased by calling 866-455-RACE (7223) or by logging on to www.rir.com. Additionally, tickets are also available for Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Friday tickets start at $30 and include WRIC-TV8 Pole Qualifying and practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as well as Fas Mart Pole Qualifying and practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Family seating, presented by Virginia 529, is also available. Designated Family Sections will feature a special price on NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for kids 12 and under. Kids 12 and under will be admitted at half price in the Family Sections presented by Virginia 529 when accompanied by a paying adult. In addition to the special kids pricing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, alcohol is also prohibited in Family Sections presented by Virginia 529.