The inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994 attracted one of the largest entry lists in history. There were 85 cars attempting to qualify for the first stock car race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which started just 43 cars. Among the drivers who qualified for the event was four-time Indianapolis 500 champion A.J. Foyt and 1985 Indy winner Danny Sullivan.
Conversely, there will be 48 drivers looking to make this weekend's starting grid, which includes 13 go-or-go home teams. The lineup is highlighted by two-time Sprint Cup champion Terry Labonte and this year's Daytona 500 winner, Trevor Bayne. Six former Brickyard 400 winners - Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Jamie McMurray - will be racing this weekend, as will 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya. For the entire entry list, visit Jayski.com.
On the TV side, this weekend's event marks the first of 17 that will be televised by ESPN or ABC, culminating with the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. Reviews since the network's return to stock car racing in 2007 have been mixed to negative, but the recent announcement that veteran broadcaster Allen Bestwick will serve as the play-by-play man has led to some anticipation for a much better season by the "world leader in sports," though it is clear the brass in Connecticut still have a condescending view of the NASCAR and its fans.
There will be plenty of on-track action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend, and here's where you can find it on television:
Friday, 1 p.m. - SPEED
Friday, 3:15 p.m - SPEED
Saturday, 10 a.m. - ESPN2
Saturday, 2 p.m. - ESPN2
18th Annual Brickyard 400
Sunday, 1 p.m. - ESPN (Pre-Race at 12 noon)