Erik Jones punched his ticket to the Playoffs last week with a late season Win at Darlington, and then extended his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing. With Las Vegas next week marking the start of the postseason, today’s race at The Brickyard is everyone’s final chance to make the field. Will we see another new winner this season break on through to the other side?
Here’s what to look for:
–Kevin Harvick was fastest on Sunday morning, hoping to keep that speed up for the afternoon. He’ll start 1st, a great thing for the guy who has the best average over the last ten races here (7.8). He is currently riding a streak of five straight Top 8s.
-Paul Menard narrowly missed the Pole, and will start alongside the #4. We talked about a guy sneaking in late by winning a race where they weren’t necessarily a favorite, and Menard did just that a few years ago. He was victorious at the 2011 Brickyard 400, and could follow that up with a huge Win today.
–Kyle Busch was looking pretty good with his time for a while there, but ended up 7th this morning. He’s not bad when it comes to racing either, an 11.4 average over the last ten and back-to-back Wins in 2015 and 2016. Last year he brought it home 8th; where does the #18 finish today?
–Brad Keselowski is our most recent winner here, taking the checkers at the 2018 race. He’s also our second best driver here in terms of average over the last ten (11.1). Keselowski has three Wins on the season, but hasn’t visited Victory Lane since Kansas back in Week 12.
–Denny Hamlin could be one to watch today; he had to go to a backup car after his primary car was on fire, and then used his Q-lap for a shakedown run. He’ll start 33rd today, but finished 3rd last year, and has a 12.3 average over the last ten races here (and five Top 6s in that span). Flames to first, could it happen for the #11?
Coverage of the race starts on NBC at 2:00pm, green flag scheduled for 2:05pm.