INDIANAPOLIS – Once upon a time, Hendrick Motorsports was the most dominate team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Their four car stable was a threat at every track we went to. They were pretty much a shoo-in to win the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway too. Combined, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have given HMS nine Brickyard victories in the 24 year history of the event.
Seven of those nine wins came in a span of 14 years.
Even Chevrolet was the manufacturer to beat here as well. Chevy put 16 different cars in victory lane for the annual summer race in Indianapolis in a 21 year span. In fact, from 2003-2014, Chevy won every race at IMS.
Toyota has dominated, winning both Cup and XFINITY Series races during the last two years in Indy. On top of that, Hendrick drivers have looked pedestrian. Will that change this weekend?
Toyota has power with Martin Truex Jr., but the Joe Gibbs Racing camp has struggled. We’re 19 races into the season and JGR just last week won their first race of the year. Does that open the door back up for Chevy again at Indy, most notably Hendrick?
Johnson, is always a threat, having three top three finishes, including a third place run last July, in his last five Brickyard 400 starts. In fact, going back to 2008, Johnson has six top threes in nine tries.
Can Chase Elliott get to victory lane for the first time of his young Cup career? Indy couldn’t be a better place to do that either. He would join his dad Bill Elliott as the only father-son duo to win the Brickyard 400. Bill, won in 2002.
Elliott, has finishes of 18th and 15th respectively in his two Brickyard tries, but he’s inching closer to victory lane again. After six top 10’s, three of which a top five effort, in the first eight races to the season this year, Elliott had a stretch where he had four straight sub 20th place finishes after. But, he’s gotten back on the wagon since though, with five top 10’s in the seven races since.
In fact, Elliott has three top fives in that time frame, and he’s primed and ready to be the next first time winner at the Cup level.
What about Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Both need wins in a bad way.
Kahne, has six top 10’s in 13 Brickyard 400 starts, including a third place finish in 2013 and a sixth place result in 2014. Unfortunately, those are the only two top 10s at Indy since 2010. Prior to that though, he had four top seven’s in his first six Brickyard tries. But, this season has been dismal for him, as the Washington native has finished outside the top 10 in nine straight races, including 16 of his last 17 tries. The only top 10 in there was a fifth at Talladega.
Can Earnhardt Jr. get to victory lane? He has three top 10’s over his last four Brickyard 400 starts. He needs to get a victory that’s for sure.
Is this Hendrick’s year for a 10th Brickyard win and Chevy’s 17th overall?