In this Sept. 8, 2019, file photo, Kevin Harvick leads the field through the first turn on the start of the NASCAR Brickyard 400 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. The once frosty schism between the two biggest racing series in the United States has thawed and NASCAR's elite Cup Series will share a venue with IndyCar on the same weekend for the first time in history.
In this Sept. 8, 2019, file photo, Kevin Harvick leads the field through the first turn on the start of the NASCAR Brickyard 400 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. The once frosty schism between the two biggest racing series in the United States has thawed and NASCAR's elite Cup Series will share a venue with IndyCar on the same weekend for the first time in history.|Darron Cummings | Associated Press
NASCAR

NASCAR Sunday: The Eckel 4 pick the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Only four active drivers have won at The Brickyard — Race time is 4 pm EDT.

Mark Eckel

Last week’s doubleheader at Pocono was a bit of a microcosm of this unusual NASCAR season.

Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin were 1-2 in both races, with Harvick taking Saturday’s race and Hamlin winning Sunday. Those two have been the circuits’s dominant drivers all season.

Will that continue Sunday at Indianapolis for the Big Machine Had Sanitizer 400?

"Certainly we've sustained some great finishes," Hamlin told NASCAR.com. "Even not great finishes, but great speed through an entire race all year. I would say specifically the last 10 to 11 we've been exceptional, really since coming back from the break that we had. I thought we've been really good.”

Hamlin (4) and Harvick (3) have combined to win seven of the 15 races this season and six of the 11 races since NASCAR returned to action. Hamlin’s nine top-5 finishes is also first, while Harvick’s 12 top-10 finishes leads all drivers.

Here are some things to consider for Sunday’s race.

Only four active drivers have won at The Brickyard — Jimmie Johnson (four times), Kyle Busch (twice), Brad Keselowski and Harvick.

Now also consider that Johnson, whose last win here was in 2012 and hasn’t won a race anywhere in almost two years, is out this week after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. And Busch is 0-for-15 this year.

Harvick won this race last year and checks in as the 4-1 favorite Sunday. But only two drivers have ever repeated in Indy, Johnson in 2008-09 and Busch in 2015-16.

Here are Sunday’s selections from The Eckel 4, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker and Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and has now added Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis. The panel of four did not agree on much this week.

Kevin Harvick (4-1): The overall points leader was mentioned by three of the four to repeat at The Brickyard and the Dr. has him on top.

Kyle Busch (5-1): Guess who picked Busch to end his drought? “Tobacco Road’’ won’t give on Rowdie and the Doc had him high on the list as well.

Denny Hamlin (6-1): His best finish here was a 3rd in 2018, but that’s pretty good odds for a guy driving as well as he has this year. “Left Turn’’ thinks he gets to Victory Lane for the fifth time this season.

Brad Keselowski (13-2): Keselowski, in third place in the overall standings, has been as consistent as anyone except H&H this year as evidenced by his 10 of 10 finishes. He won here in 2018 and finished second in 2017.

Joey Logano (13-2): He finished 2nd to Harvick here last year and was fourth in 2017. He’s also on the pole. Three of the past seven winners here had the pole.

Longshot: Aric Almirola (50-1): He’s been racing very well of late.

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