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Brickyard 400 projections

Here are the projections for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis. Our projection system takes into account, among other factors, drivers’ past performances at the current track, pre-race on-track activity (practices and qualifying) and probability of finishing the race. All of the data is then adjusted for the track type (in this case, a 2.5-mile oval superspeedway) and time of year.

• The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to ESPN with the Brickyard 400. Both Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon will be looking for their fifth win at Indy, which would tie them with Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher for the most wins at the track in major races. However, Johnson has finished 42nd in each of the past two races. In his first 452 career Sprint Cup Series starts, he finished 42nd just twice. Indianapolis could be a good place to break that slump, though, as he’s won four of the past eight Brickyard 400s.

• In the first 16 runnings of this race, every driver who won entered this race in the top 10 in points -- with the lowest driver in points being Jeff Gordon in 1994 (10th). However, in three of the past four years, the driver who won this race entered 18th or lower in points, including Ryan Newman last year, who entered in 19th.

• Both Kurt Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya will compete in this race after running the Indianapolis 500 earlier this year, finishing sixth and fifth, respectively. They would be the fifth and sixth drivers to run both the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same year; only Tony Stewart in 1999 finished in the top 10 in both races.

• This race could be a good indicator of who’s going to win the title. In eight of the past 20 Brickyard 400s, the race winner went on to win the championship. Jimmie Johnson did it in three of his six championship seasons, and Jeff Gordon in two of his four title years.