FOX Fantasy Picks: Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Welcome back from the off-week, NASCAR fans! What better way to get back in the action than by hitting the 'Yard of Bricks' at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
Arguably one of the most prestigious races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, each driver in the field wants to cement their place in history with a Brickyard 400 win.
There will be plenty of contenders on Sunday, so are you are making your FOX Fantasy Auto Racing roster picks, be sure to do so with careful considerations.
Remember, these are simply suggestions, so pick your team wisely and best of luck. If you haven't done so yet, be sure to sign up for FOX Fantasy Auto Racing, create your team and start playing today!
Captain: Kevin Harvick
Indianapolis stats: 1 win; 4 top 5s; 7 top 10s; Average finish: 10.9
There was little doubt in Saturday's qualifying session about who would be leading the field to the green flag for the Brickyard 400. Kevin Harvick dominated each of the three knockout qualifying sessions, setting a new track record in the process.
The 2003 Brickyard 400 winner will have prime real estate on pit road and on the racetrack at a place where track position is key.
Harvick has been fast all season long, but his Rodney Childers-led team has struggled to be consistent on pit road. If the pit crew can keep it together throughout the 400 miles on Sunday, Harvick may be the one kneeling to kiss the bricks at the end of the day.
Not to mention, Chevrolet has won the last 11 Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Harvick happens to have the Chevy bow tie on the front of his Stewart-Haas Racing car.
Driver #2: Brad Keselowski
Indianapolis stats: 0 wins; 0 top 5s; 2 top 10s; Average finish: 14.5
While Brad Keselowski might not have the most impressive stats at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his performance so far this weekend has been.
The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford was third fastest in the weekend's opening practice, second quick in final practice and qualified third for Sunday's race.
The 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion is also driving to give his team owner and 15-time Indianapolis 500 winner Roger Penske his first Brickyard 400 trophy. Keselowski said the big win is "the last thing left on the Penske bucket list."
While Chevrolet has dominated at the Brickyard, Keselowski has shown his Penske Ford will perhaps provide the biggest obstacle to that 12th-straight win.
Look for Keselowski to have a big day at the 'Yard of Bricks' and lead to a strong day for your fantasy team.
Driver #3: Jimmie Johnson
Indianapolis stats: 4 wins; 5 top 5s; 6 top 10s; Average finish: 15.6
Jimmie Johnson is only one of two drivers to score four Brickyard 400 victories, and on Sunday he has a great shot at earning win number five.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver won the 2012 Brickyard 400 and finished second to Ryan Newman last year, but also has three DNFs in his 12 starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If that's not impressive enough, Johnson has led laps in each of the last six races at Indy, including 172 laps in the last two races.
The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet will start Sunday's race from the 11th spot, but was fastest in Saturday's final practice session.
In a race that is shaping up as a Hendrick Motorsports (and Stewart-Haas Racing) -- Team Penske battle, Jimmie Johnson is a good driver to have on your roster on Sunday.
Driver #4: Ryan Newman
Indianapolis stats: 1 win; 2 top 5s; 3 top 10s; Average finish: 17.7
Indiana native Ryan Newman scored the big win in front of his home crowd last year, scoring his first Brickyard 400 victory after starting from the pole.
Despite not having the best average finish at Indy, Newman was seventh in 2012 before kissing the bricks in last year's race.
This weekend, Newman was 12th in the first practice and 19th in Saturday's final practice, but qualified in the fourth spot.
While Newman may not repeat last year's win, he should be a factor in Sunday's race and help your fantasy roster in the process.
Driver #5: Juan Pablo Montoya
Indianapolis stats: 0 wins; 1 top 5; 2 top 10s; Average finish: 20.3
For only the second time this season, Juan Pablo Montoya is back behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup Series car. And perhaps there is no better place for Montoya to get back in the mix and make an impact on your fantasy roster.
The IndyCar driver has always run well in the Brickyard 400, but has been kept out of Victory Lane due to two wrecks and an ill-timed speeding penalty.
This weekend, Montoya is on hand in part to do just what his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski said; give Roger Penske his first Brickyard 400 victory. Montoya was sixth in Saturday's final practice session and qualified eighth for Sunday's race.
With nothing to lose and another Indianapolis victory to gain, Montoya might be a solid pick for your fantasy roster. In addition, by using Montoya, you would save one of the Sprint Cup regulars for use later in this stretch of 13 races.
As always, these are simply suggestions, so do your research, pick wisely and best of luck. If you put more faith in the Las Vegas odds, check out this week's 'Let it Ride' segment from NASCAR Race Hub.