Complete Preview and Prediction for 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400

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Complete Preview and Prediction for 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400
IMS Photo, Chris Owens
New IMS scoring pylon and pagoda.

This weekend, NASCAR celebrates the 20th anniversary of one of its crown-jewel events at one of the world’s most iconic sporting venues: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Jeff Gordon, who won the inaugural event in 1994—and to this day remains its youngest winner ever at 23 years, two days—will be among the 43 drivers who take the green flag Sunday for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard.

Ryan Newman is the defending race winner. Interestingly, Newman won the event shortly after being told he would lose his ride with Stewart-Haas Racing to Kevin Harvick, who is also a Brickyard 400 winner (2003 from the pole).

For years, attendance for the Brickyard 400 has been on the decline. Many fans point to 2008 as the year when the sparkle began to come off the jewel.

Goodyear brought a tire that year that was problematic. It resulted in a race (won by Jimmie Johnson) where drivers had to pit every 12-15 laps to change tires that would wear quickly, producing a powdery substance that also made the track surface slippery.

To bolster those attendance figures, NASCAR has added the Nationwide Series to the Speedway on Saturday (moved from the Lucas Oil Speedway across town), as well as a race by the Tudor United Sports Car Series on the infield road course Friday.

The race is named for 32-year-old John Wayne Walding of Little Elm, Texas, who served in the United States Army for 12 years, with seven of those years being in the 3rd Special Forces Group, completing tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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