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NASCAR Drivers Return to the Brickyard for Big Cup Race

WBKR NASCAR Preview: Crown Royal Curtiss Shaver 400

By Moon Mullins and Blake Smith

After a much deserved weekend off, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be making their 19th annual stop in Indianapolis Motorspeedway, known in NASCAR as “The Brickyard”, for this weekend’s Crown Royal Curtiss Shaver 400. The track was built in 1909 but didn’t welcome NASCAR until 1992 when a small test session was held with NASCAR’s top teams.

The first NASCAR driver on the track was Rusty Wallace in the #2 Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac. The first NASCAR racing event was held in 1994, when a young rising star named Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag in the first Brickyard 400. Jeff came in second last year and looks forward to trying again in 2012.

Jimmy Johnson has three victories there and credits his crews who start preparing early, two months out. Matt Kenseth says Indy is really special to the guys who have an open wheel background and grew up watching the Indianapolis 500.

The “Brickyard” is undoubtedly one of the crown jewel events of the NASCAR season. I was fortunate to be a part of the broadcast team for the IMS Radio Network in 2007. The feeling I got when I walked into the speedway for that Brickyard 400 and the rich history in the town of Speedway, IN is unexplainable. It is definitely a special weekend for drivers, teams and fans alike.

Here I am with racing broadcaster Bob Jenkins.

Blake Smith and Bob Jenkins

 

It was announced this week that A.J. Allmendinger has been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR after his “B sample” failed NASCAR’s drug screening. Allmendinger was temporarily suspended just hours before this month’s Coke Zero 400 in Daytona. Allmendinger will begin NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program on Friday. Penske driver, Sam Hornish will continue to drive Allmendinger’s vacated #22 Dodge in his absence.

When fans think of the Indianapolis Motorspeedway, many of them think of the famed Indianapolis 500. Undoubtedly, Danica Patrick does as well. Reports out of Indianapolis on Thursday were Danica Patrick is in negotiations to pull double duty next Memorial Day Weekend. If negotiations are finalized, she will be competing in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.

For the first time in history, the NASCAR Nationwide Series will be competing at the Brickyard. The Nationwide Series regulars and a few Sprint Cup Stars will be competing in Saturday’s Indiana 250. There was another first for the Nationwide Series on Thursday in Indianapolis as it was announced that the Chevrolet Camaro will be the Chevrolet-branded entry in the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series. The Chevrolet model for the Sprint Cup Series is yet to be announced.

Forty-seven teams are entered for this weekend’s event at the Brickyard. They will hit the track for the first time on Saturday for a busy day at the track as all practice and qualifying will be held in a single day. New Hampshire winner, Kasey Kahne and reigning Brickyard champion Paul Menard have both elected to bring new chassis to the track for this weekend’s event. Kurt Busch and the #51 team will be using a newly purchased chassis, but has been previously used by Dale Earnhardt Jr’s #88 team.

Drivers and crew chiefs will work toward a winning balance on Sunday. This winning balance includes a car with speed for the long straight-aways but also a car that will handle and roll through the center of the corner. Last year’s Brickyard 400 came down to fuel mileage. That could also easily be a factor in this year’s event. The Indianapolis Motorspeedway is known for long green flag runs with few cautions. So, drivers and teams may not have many chances to make changes during Sunday’s 400 mile event.

Tune into Sunday’s Crown Royal 400 beginning at 11AM on WBKR and WBKR.com!

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