The 2018 Brickyard 400 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway looms this weekend as the cutoff race for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Two drivers currently in the Top 16 aren’t locked into a playoff position entering Indy. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson. This is the first time Johnson hasn’t secured a postseason berth through 25 races since the postseason began in Cup in 2004. Johnson’s won the Brickyard 400 on four occasions.
The race-within-the-race is between the HMS duo for the final two playoff spots, if a driver currently outside 16th in points wins at IMS.
Kasey Kahne pulled off that feat at the Brickyard driving for HMS. Kahne won’t be able to defend this year with his Levine Family Racing team, as he is out with an illness.
Among the drivers who have yet to win in 2018, Joey Logano is one to watch this weekend at IMS. Logano is locked into the playoffs based on points. His team, led by owner Roger Penske, who’s had immeasurable success in open-wheel racing at Indy with victories in the Indianapolis 500, has yet to win at the legendary speedway in NASCAR. Last weekend, in another iconic race, Logano’s teammate, Brad Keselowski, won his first Southern 500 at Darlington last Sunday.
Weather this weekend at IMS has been unfavorable with zero on-track activity prior to this Sunday’s race. With that, and the new challenge of the challenging speedway now being the playoffs deciding race, expect an action-packed event this weekend at the Brickyard.
The newest episode of the Track Talk podcast looking ahead to the 2018 Brickyard 400, with significant off-track news, is below.