Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Brickyard 400 has been a NASCAR staple since its inaugural running in 1994. In its first year, it became NASCAR’s most-attended event with an estimated crowd of over 250,000 spectators. That race was also the first race since 1916 to be ran at Indianapolis Motor Speedway other than the Indianapolis 500.

COVID-19 and Johnson

The track’s all-time winningest team, Hendrick Motorsports, will be racing on Sunday without Jimmie Johnson. Johnson is the track’s second all-time winningest driver with four victories. Johnson drives the No. 48 Hendrick Chevrolet, but tested positive for Coronavirus on Friday.

His wife also had a positive test, and NASCAR is quarantining one of Johnson’s crew members as a precaution. The 7-time champion has been granted a playoff waiver from NASCAR due to the circumstances surrounding his absence for Sunday’s Cup Series race. Even after not participating in every Cup race this season, as long as he’s in the top 16 in points, he will move on to the playoffs. The waiver does not guarantee him a playoff spot; it merely maintains his eligibility.

2020 BRICKYARD 400

Even though Hendrick Motorsports is the all-time winningest team at Indy (10), it hasn’t captured the checkered flag since 2017 when Kasey Kahne won the July running. Kahne is no longer in NASCAR. Last year’s winner and current point leader Kevin Harvick will start Sunday’s race in the 11th position, sandwiched between young studs Chase Elliott (P10) and Ryan Blaney (P12). The 2018 winner Brad Keselowski isn’t too far ahead, starting P8. Joey Logano will start on the pole position.

DRIVERS TO WATCH

‘Drivers to Watch’ starts off this week with two-time Brickyard winner Kyle Busch. Busch won back-to-back Brickyards in 2015 and 2016. The next two drivers to watch come from Hendrick, which has double the wins (10) of the second winningest team, Joe Gibbs Racing (five). Those drivers are Chase Elliott (P9) in the No. 9 Chevrolet and Alex Bowman (P3) in the No. 88 Chevrolet. Don’t look past dark horse driver,  Matt Dibenedetto (P14) in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford. The race begins at 4 p.m. ET on NBC.

DRIVERS TO WATCH, @TWITTER

Billy Perkins, @billyp21383’s drivers to watch are: Kevin Harvick (P11), Chase Elliott (P10), and Aric Almirola (P4).

Trish McCormack, @Pmac2888’s drivers to watch are: Ryan Blaney (P12), Chase Elliott (P10), and Erik Jones (P22).

Left Turn Jon, @LeftTurnJon’s drivers to watch are: Kevin Harvick (P11), Joey Logano (P1), and Denny Hamlin (P5).