ThatsRacin

NASCAR Brickyard 400 preview in 3 minutes

Matt Kenseth, left, talks to Kyle Busch during Saturday’s qualifying for Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Matt Kenseth, left, talks to Kyle Busch during Saturday’s qualifying for Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Getty Images

Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in three minutes:

Three things to watch

1. Jeff Gordon steps into the No. 88 Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is out with concussion symptoms. Gordon’s most recent race was November at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, where he had a chance to win the Cup championship in his final try.

2. Indiana native Tony Stewart, who will retire after this season, hopes to keep his summertime momentum going in his final race on his home-state track. Stewart has one victory and three other top-10s during his past five races.

3. With temperatures expected to reach the mid-90s Sunday, drivers need to be hydrated and cool in demeanor in what certainly will be a long, hot afternoon.

Observations

▪ Veterans who aren’t retiring yet – Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray – all have run well during recent weeks. Biffle has three consecutive top-10s; Newman has three top-10s over the past four races; and McMurray two consecutive top-10s. Although they haven’t won, Newman (12th) and McMurray (14th) are inside the Chase cut line. Biffle has moved to 22nd.

▪ Whenever Earnhardt returns, he will have his work cut out for him to make the Chase. Gordon can’t accumulate points for Earnhardt as a fill-in driver and, at 15th in the standings, there won’t be much time to grab that valuable victory before the Chase begins Sept. 18 at Chicagoland.

▪ Jimmie Johnson has had a tough go of it recently (he has been outside of the top 10 since a third-place finish in May’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway), but he leads all active drivers with four victories at Indianapolis.

Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy team:

Kyle Busch: Pole-winner won the 2015 Brickyard and certainly will be a factor Sunday.

Chase Elliott: Rookie still is looking for his first victory, but he has performed well at larger, non-restrictor plate tracks like Michigan (second this year) and Pocono (fourth). Indy qualifies as one of those kinds of tracks.

Carl Edwards: He completes an all-Joe Gibbs Racing front row alongside teammate Busch (Denny Hamlin, another JGR driver, will start fourth, incidentally).

He said it

“To have Tony Stewart in his final race, Jeff Gordon in his final race – Part 2 – is a big time.” – Jimmie Johnson.

N@SCAR

Getting there

Race facts

Brickyard 400

Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Track type: 2.5-mile rectangular oval.

Race distance: 400 miles, or 160 laps.

Green flag: 3:19 p.m.

Weather: High of 95; 30 percent chance of rain.

TV: NBC Sports Network.

Radio: IMS Network.

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