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NASCAR: Brickyard Betting Preview

The Sprint Cup Series returns to the track for NASCAR bettors on Sunday afternoon as the drivers compete in the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Last year - when the race was still called the Brickyard 400 - Paul Menard defied the NASCAR odds and picked up his first Series victory at the event. Jeff Gordon and Regan Smith followed Menard across the finish line that day at Indianapolis.

Gordon had been seeking his fifth career Cup Series victory at Indianapolis, as he took the checkered flag in the circuit's races there in each of 1994, 1998, 2001, and 2004.

That has Gordon sitting with one more career Indy win than Jimmie Johnson, who won Cup events on the track in each of 2006, 2008, and 2009. Tony Stewart won the Allstate 400 at Indy in both 2005 and 2007, with Kevin Harvick winning on the track in 2003, and Jamie McMurray visiting Victory Lane at the venue in 2010.

McMurray had a strong finish at the Brickyard 400 last year as well, as he ended up in fourth place at the race. Matt Kenseth was fifth that day, Stewart was sixth, and Johnson had to settle for a 19th-place result despite starting third on the grid for the race.

And Johnson is fourth (behind Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Greg Biffle) in the Sprint Cup Series drivers standings heading into this weekend's race, but he's still the 3/1 favorite at Bovada to win the circuit's championship this season.

Stewart, who is seventh in the current standings, is next at 6/1 on that odds list, followed by both Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin at 7/1, and Kenseth at 8/1. Biffle is back at 12/1 to win the title in 2012, while Gordon sits at 20/1 to claim the Sprint Cup.

Odds to Win Sprint Cup Championship at Bovada:

Jimmie Johnson 3/1
Tony Stewart 6/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 7/1
Denny Hamlin 7/1
Matt Kenseth 8/1
Kasey Kahne 9/1
Brad Keselowski 12/1
Greg Biffle 12/1
Kevin Harvick 12/1
Kyle Busch 14/1
Carl Edwards 20/1
Jeff Gordon 20/1
Clint Bowyer 25/1
Ryan Newman 40/1