When it comes to handicapping today's Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 -- a/k/a The Brickyard 400 -- it's pretty simple to break it down: The heart says Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon, the head says Kyle Busch or one of his Toyota teammates.

Stewart and Gordon are both racing in their final Brickyard 400s and Indianapolis Motor Speedway is sacred ground to both drivers.

Between them, they have won this race seven times and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship seven times.

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Gordon and Stewart are locks to be first-ballot inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame when they become eligible.

If either Stewart, an Indiana native, or Gordon, who lived here as a teenager, won today's race, it would be a hugely popular victory with NASCAR fans and a great storyline to boot.

Gordon is filling in for this race and next weekend at Pocono Raceway for his injured Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is out with concussions symptoms.

Despite his five Brickyard 400 victories, so far the weekend has been mostly a struggle for Gordon, who qualified 21st and was ninth and 25th in the two pre-race practices. His car does not appear to have the speed to win.

That said, Gordon remained upbeat. "Hey, we have started in the back and won this thing before," he said. "Right now I feel real good about where we are at as a team, and the balance of the car in race trim to be able to move up through the field."

Stewart, meanwhile, qualified third behind the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Busch and Carl Edwards.

And he comes into today's race red hot: In his last five Cup starts, Stewart has one victory, three top fives and four finishes of seventh or better. And he loves to race in the kind of scorching heat we've seen so far at Indianapolis.

"This is the kind of weekend I wanted for my last weekend," Stewart said after qualifying third. "I'm having a good time with it so far."

But you look at the cold, hard numbers and it's awfully hard not to say they favor Busch and JGR. Busch won this race last year and on Saturday won the Brickyard XFINITY Series race for the second year in a row.

JGR Toyotas qualified in three of the top four spots, with fourth-place Denny Hamlin joining the front row of Busch and Edwards. Quasi-teammate Martin Truex Jr. qualified eighth, making the top of the board very Toyota heavy.

"I've had some really good cars and I remember the days when I didn't have such good cars here," said Busch. "But we've been doing a good job of working hard and making sure we keep our heads down and keep doing what we need to be doing and focusing on our own thing."

Two other drivers to keep an eye on in today's race: Kevin Harvick, Stewart's teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, has been fast all weekend and is at his best in big races.

And Brad Keselowski, who owns a series-high four victories this season, would love to give team owner Roger Penske is first Brickyard 400 victory to go along with his 16 Indy 500 wins.