Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking provides his driver rankings with commentary for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway!

On the heels of one of the prestigious Southern 500 at Darlington, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will wrap up the 2018 regular season with another one of its crown jewel events. World famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host Sunday’s Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard, and every driver in the field would love to add their name to the list of winners at one of the meccas of motorsports.

Almost fittingly, winning at the Brickyard has been reserved for the best of the best in the sport. There have been 24 Cup races held at the 2.5-mile, rectangular-shaped oval, and 19 of them have been won by drivers who also boast a Cup title to their name. Three of the other five winners have won at least 18 Cup races in their careers, so you can almost count on a big name celebrating in victory lane this weekend.

With that in mind, I won’t be shy about loading up on stronger options this weekend. With its massive straightaways and tight, sweeping corners, Indianapolis requires a combination of elite horsepower and aerodynamic superiority that only the top organizations have.

Granted, the restarts at Indy can be complete chaos as we saw last year, but you can’t predict wrecks. If Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. don’t crash each other out last year, Busch probably runs away with things and all the top guys finish at the front. If it’s not Daytona or Talladega, I don’t like counting on wrecks as part of my lineup strategy.

The top drivers from the top teams are all going to be locked in as they try to end the regular season on a high note with a win in of NASCAR’s biggest events. I’m going to try to take advantage with an aggressive approach. I’ll be using up a start from the Big 3 this weekend as my Group A pick in the Driver Group Game, and I plan on using the entire Big 3 as part of my Fantasy Live lineup.

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  1. Kyle Busch, M&M’s
Busch was gunning for a Brickyard three-peat last year and led 87 of the first 110 laps before being taken out on a restart by Martin Truex Jr. Still, he has seven Top 10s in his last eight starts here and has finished either first or second in four of his last five. Busch is my favorite of the Big 3 this weekend.
  1. Kevin Harvick, Jimmy Johns/Busch Beer
In four starts at Indianapolis with Stewart-Haas Racing, Harvick boasts a 5.8 average finish and hasn’t finished worse than eighth. He has also made two starts from the front row during that stretch, so even if you don’t end up starting him, he could be a good source of qualifying points.
  1. Martin Truex, Jr., Furniture Row
Truex has been trending in the right direction at Indy, finishing fourth in 2015 and eighth in the 2016 race. Last year, he and Kyle Busch were running away with the race before Truex got loose on a restart and took both drivers out. He hasn’t led a lot of laps here, which limits his DFS appeal a bit, but it would be a surprise if Truex didn’t have a Top 5 car this weekend.
  1. Kyle Larson, CreditOne/DC Solar
He was one of the many drivers who were involved in a wreck at Indy last year, but Larson cracked the Top 10 in his first three starts at the track, finishing fifth in the 2016 race. Look for him to be back in the mix for a Top 5 Sunday, and Larson should be a great play in Fantasy Live.
  1. Joey Logano, Shell-Pennzoil
Logano has made five starts at Indianapolis with Team Penske, finishing eighth or better in all five starts at compiling a 5.2 average finish. He has also led laps in four of those five races while logging three Top 5 finishes. Logano should be a safe, solid option in any format this weekend.


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