3 THINGS TO WATCH
1. The tell
Nine times since the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994, the race winner has gone on to win NASCAR Cup Series championship honors. The 160-lap race at Indy has become something of a title tell. Jeff Gordon was the first to do it in 1998, and Kyle Busch pulled it off last season. Other names on the list are Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson (three times).
2. 500 boost?
Back in May, Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, and every seat in the house was sold. You have to wonder if some of that Indy magic will spill over to this Sunday’s race. The Brickyard 400 lost luster, and fans, after a 2008 fiasco with tires that forced NASCAR to call cautions for tire changes every 10 laps. No matter to the drivers, who continue to list it as a stock-car major.
3. Chasing Chase
History may be on Chase Elliott’s side when he races the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Indianapolis. After all, Jeff Gordon won a record five Brickyard 400s in the No. 24 machine, including the ’94 inaugural as a 22-year-old sophomore driver. Chase was born in 1995. Not only that, but Chase’s dad, Bill Elliott, won the 2002 Brickyard and posted four other top-five finishes during his career. — Godwin Kelly, godwin. email@example.com
Kyle Busch celebrates his win at Indianapolis last year, which acted like a springboard to the 2015 NASCAR championship.