NASCAR is spending the Independence Day weekend at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Ind. The grand finale will be the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records on Sunday afternoon.
Picking a winner for the event is more of a challenge than usual because NASCAR continues to eschew qualifying and practice amid the coronavirus pandemic, but this weekend’s picks are made a little easier by the racing that took place last weekend.
MORE: Complete starting lineup for Sunday’s race at Indianapolis
There are no real surprises at the top of oddmakers’ boards, and two of the obvious choices are the co-favorites.
Below are the complete Vegas odds to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Indianapolis, plus our top three picks of drivers who could end up taking the checkered flag.
NASCAR race odds to win at Indianapolis
The Cup Series will race this weekend without Jimmie Johnson, the series’ active leader with four wins at Indy. He’s out after testing positive for COVID-19. The other multiple winners in the field are Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.
Below are the complete odds to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Indianapolis, courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
|Driver||Odds to win Indy race|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+1300|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||+15000|
|John Hunter Nemechek||+20000|
NOTE: No odds were listed for Justin Allgaier, who replaced Jimmie Johnson (COVID-19) for Sunday’s race.
The drivers who led the way at Pocono last weekend are at the top of the odds board for the weekend at Indy. The similarity in tracks likely played a role: Pocono is a 2.5-mile, mostly flat track; the Brickyard is also 2.5 miles long and mostly flat. Some of Pocono is patterned after Indy.
The next three betting choices — Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano — have won and/or finished second at Indy in the recent past. Keselowski won in 2018, Busch went back-to-back in 2015 and 2016, and Logano has been a runner-up twice, including last year.
The pole position, which for Saturday’s race was awarded to Logano based on the results of a random draw, has produced five race winners at Indianapolis in the Cup Series, almost 20 percent of the winners in the 26 NASCAR Cup Series races at the track.
Below is the breakdown of wins from varying starting positions in the history of Cup racing at Indianapolis (Source: Racing-reference.info):
|Starting position||Winning %||Wins|
|Front row||26.92 percent||7|
|Top 5||50.0 percent||13|
|Top 10||65.38 percent||17|
|Top 20||88.46 percent||23|
|Outside top 20||11.54 percent||3|
The top 10 starters for Sunday’s race at Indianapolis are: 1. Joey Logano; 2. Kurt Busch; 3. Alex Bowman; 4. Justin Allgaier (filling in for Jimmie Johnson); 5. Aric Almirola; 6. Denny Hamlin; 7. Kyle Busch; 8. Martin Truex Jr.; 9. Brad Keselowski; 10. Chase Elliott.
NASCAR at Indianapolis expert picks
1. Kevin Harvick
Career stats at Indianapolis: Two wins, seven top-fives, 13 top-10s in 19 races. Average finish: 8.9.
This is an evergreen choice, because the series points leader has to be considered a threat to win every race at this point. Harvick’s form at Indy since joining Stewart-Haas Racing (two wins, six top-10s in six races) strengthens that argument. He’s also coming off a first and a second in the Pocono weekend back-to-back.
2. Kyle Busch
Career stats at Indianapolis: Two wins, five top-fives, 11 top-10s in 15 races. Average finish: 12.5.
The average finish at the track has been hurt by early exits in 2017 (crash) and 2019 (engine). He finished fifth in the Pocono Saturday race and was running up front Sunday when contact between the 18 car and Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 car took him out of that race. Busch hasn’t won yet this year, either, and the playoffs are slowly approaching. Busch’s Indy wins give him the edge over his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.
3. Joey Logano
Career stats at Indianapolis: Zero wins, four top-fives, seven top-10s in 11 races. Average finish: 10.9.
The polesitter has been close a lot at Indy: His last seven race finishes at the Brickyard, starting with last year and going back to 2014, have been 2-13-4-7-2-5-8. It’s good to have early track position to pair with that track record.