Who to watch at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 26: Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Stock Car racing invades the hallowed ground of Indy cars again this weekend. With the Sprint Cup series at Indianapolis Motors Speedway little is certain.

The biggest question coming to Indy is always concerns over tire-ware. Last years race avoided most of that but did follow the usual trend of follow the leader for 400 miles.

Much was made about Juan Pablo Montoya‘s pit road speeding penalty but the truth of the matter was he was speeding so maybe there shouldn’t of been any discussion on the matter. Montoya is a good bet despite his struggles this year based purely on last year and his history with the track. There will be a bunch of eyes on Montonya who welcomed his third child earlier this week.

In additon to Montoya I’ve found myself conflicted on my picks this weekend but I do have three drivers I am quite comfortable picking.

Last year’s race was won by Jimmie Johnson which marked the third time driver 48 has taken the checkers. I believe the highlight of last years race was the end when the announcer stated to stick around to “watch Jimmie kiss the bricks.” To which the guy sitting next to me replied “He can kiss my bricks.”

His teammate Jeff Gordon is the only driver with more wins and while this may seem like a broken record… Gordon has a great chance to break his winless streak which is currently at a career long 48 races.

Local favorite Tony Stewart is also another rather easy pick. While Stewart hasn’t run as well as last year he has 2 wins, 5 top-5’s and 7 top-10’s in 11 career starts at the track. In addition he has finished in the top 10 in five of his last 6 races this season.

After that things get a bit mucky.

Kevin Harvick remains a very strong pick and there is always Kyle Busch.

Once you start getting off the beaten path things get a little tricky. One driver I am interested in watching this weekend is Joey Logano who ran a very strong 12th last year as a rookie. Logano has been all over the map this year in terms of finishes. He’s been a top-10 car at some tracks and a field filler at others but if you are looking for a dark horse or a buy low guy the 20-year old may be it.

The tide may be starting to turn for the Ford teams. Matt Kenseth is one driver who has had some success at Indy and even for the less then best car Kenseth usually gets the most out of it. He has 6 top-10’s in 10 career starts as well as 4 top-5’s. His teammate Carl Edwards will have the pressure on him this weekend and maybe it will be what ails the 99 car’s two year struggle. Edwards has a top-5 and a 9th place finish in five stops. It’s almost surprisingly to note that Kenseth, Edwards, and Greg Biffle have led a combined 43 laps at Indy in 22 starts. Ouch.

Mark Martin is also a driver of interest. Last year he ran second most of the race and finished there. If Martin is to show he has anything this year this is a big test. He has 6-top 5’s in his career at Indy but hasn’t had a top-10 this year since May 28th at Charlotte.

Hopefully this years race is more exciting then last years. To sum up last years race I turn it over to Ryan Newman.

“(Indianapolis Motor Speedway) is just flat and it’s fast. Our race cars aren’t made for that. Our race cars aren’t designed for that. They designed this race car to put it on a racetrack, and it works here, it just doesn’t put on a great race.”

John Bman
John Bmanhttp://www.tireball.com
Founder and Owner of Tireball Sports.

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