Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at Indianapolis (Cup Series) - Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- Kevin Harvick hopes to become third driver to win two straight Brickyard races—but he’s not on the pole.
- Can Kyle Busch reverse his flagging fortunes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a track where he excels?
- Kurt Busch is making his 700th career start on Sunday from the front row, hoping to improve on a lackluster record at the Brickyard.
|What||Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 NASCAR Cup Series race|
|Where||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|When||Sunday, July 5, 4 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||NBC|
NASCAR first raced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994. Jeff Gordon won the inaugural event on the way to a record five Brickyard triumphs. Gordon remains the youngest driver to take the checkered flag at the vaunted 2.5-mile track, at 23 years and two days.
Gordon, however, is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, not the field for Sunday’s race. In fact, only four former Brickyard winners will take the green flag on Sunday: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, and Brad Keselowski. Two of them are multiple winners of the event: Harvick (2003, 2019) and Busch (2015, 2016).
Seven-time Cup champion and four-time Brickyard winner Jimmie Johnson will miss the Indy race after revealing on Friday afternoon that he has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Before he can return to racing, Johnson must follow CDC protocols, including two negative tests 24 hours apart, and must be symptom-free and cleared by his physician.
The Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 marks the 27th running of the race. The event will be contested at 400 miles (160 laps), with stage breaks scheduled for 50 and 100 laps. Harvick is the defending winner.
NASCAR Cup Series at Indianapolis Odds
The odds for Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 are provided by BetMGM.
|Martin Truex Jr.||+1200|
Kevin Harvick Starts 11th in Quest for Second Straight Indy Win
Kevin Harvick is the betting favorite to win Sunday’s Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but he won’t have the benefit of the starting spot that propelled him to his first two Brickyard wins.
Harvick (+400) shares the qualifying record of three poles with Jeff Gordon and converted two of those pole positions into victories, in 2003 and 2019. If Harvick is to win Sunday’s race, he’ll have to do so from the 11th starting position, which he drew by lot from among the top 12 drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series standings.
Without qualifying, which has been shelved during NASCAR’s reopening, starting position isn’t an accurate indicator of the speed of a particular car. After all, Harvick won last Saturday’s race at Pocono from ninth on the grid. It may take some time for Harvick to work his way forward, but the starting position shouldn’t affect his winning chances adversely.
Kyle Busch Looks for Reversal of Flagging Fortunes at the Brickyard
Fifteen races into the NASCAR Cup Series season, reigning champion Kyle Busch has yet to score a victory. That’s surprising enough. Even more shocking is Busch’s failure to win a single stage of a race and score a single Playoff point.
Busch is a virtual lock to qualify for the Playoffs. With 16 berths available in the 10-race postseason, Busch is 11th in the standings, 96 points ahead of 17th-place Austin Dillon. On the other hand, his deficit in Playoff points, which drivers carry throughout the postseason, is becoming a serious issue. Denny Hamlin leads the series with 23 Playoff points, followed by Kevin Harvick with 16, Joey Logano with 14, and Brad Keselowski with 13.
Busch (+500) can do a lot to rectify the situation with a victory at the Brickyard, worth five Playoff points. He and Jimmie Johnson are the only two drivers to have won consecutive Cup races at Indy (2015-2016). In the last 10 races at the Brickyard, Busch has finished in the top 10 eight times—the only exceptions being 2017, when he and Martin Truex Jr. crashed while battling for the lead, and 2019, when his engine failed.
Veteran Kurt Busch Looking to Win Milestone Race
Kurt Busch will make his 700th career NASCAR Cup Series start on Sunday at Indy, and he’ll do so from an advantageous position on the outside of the front row. Busch (+3000) needs all the help he can get if he’s to turn his 700th start into his 32nd Cup Series victory. In 19 starts at Indy, Busch has only one top five (a fifth), and he scored that during his 2001 rookie season.
It’s amazing, to have this opportunity and to have been blessed to have raced with so many great race teams over the years, just making it past the local track was something that I thought was an achievement, because my dad was a local racer.
He won a lot. But it was like money, sponsors, and the whole challenge of even getting to like the Southwest Tour and Late Model division, that was even tough for us way back in the past. So, it’s amazing. Twenty years of racing at the top series level and now having 700 starts, I never would have guessed.
Busch said of the 700th start.
Kevin Harvick (+400)—The driver known as “The Closer” goes back-to-back at the Brickyard and ties Denny Hamlin for the series lead in victories with four.
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association.