NASCAR returns to road racing this week and next week. The Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit at the Brickyard has been a chaotic race. Although the first two winners of this event have been top-tier road racers, the steady stream of wrecks and spins could open the door for an unlikely winner. As always, trust the data but also trust your eyes. Here are the best bets for the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard.
There have been two Cup Series races at the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit. Calling these events races is awfully generous. They have been spectacles, and not in a good way. The first race was very eventful. NASCAR learned a lot. Mainly, that this track should be removed from the schedule. Turn 1 and the turtles were a mess. NASCAR fixed the curbs for the second race, but they can’t fix Turn 1 and they can’t fix the drivers. It was common for drivers to barrel into Turn 1 running six-wide. It was a mess. It will be a mess.
The only solution is single-file restarts. Drivers have lobbied NASCAR to make this change. The Cup Series veterans are embarrassed by the racing. They believe the drivers cannot control themselves and that NASCAR must intervene. This wish was granted at the Chicago Street Course, but that was a unique circuit and there was rain. NASCAR loves mayhem. It drives ratings. Mayhem could lead to a long-shot winner
Race Winner — Verizon 200 at the Brickyard
Austin Cindric +2800
This is not a long shot. Cindric is a decorated road course driver. He has five road course wins in the Xfinity Series. His last Xfinity Series win was the 2021 Indy GP. He has yet to win a road course race in the Cup Series, but he’s been close. Cindric finished sixth at COTA and in the Chicago Street race earlier this season. Last season, he earned four top-10 finishes in the six road races, and that includes a runner-up finish at Indianapolis, As a part-time Cup Series driver in 2021, Cindric finished ninth at the Brickyard road race.
Chase Elliott +800
Not a lot has gone Elliott’s way this season. He got injured skiing and got suspended for a race. When he has raced, he hasn’t run very well. His car has lacked elite speed. A summer schedule littered with some of Elliott’s best tracks has been disappointing. The regular season is coming to an end, and Elliott just earned a DNF at Michigan. It’s not looking good or is it?
There is a silver lining to the rain clouds of Michigan. Elliott blew a tire and his day ended early. That might be a good thing. Elliott and his crew were back at home Sunday night. The rest of the field had to stick around in Michigan and race on Monday afternoon. Basically, the No. 9 Chevy team has been given an extra day to prep for the next race. And it’s not just another race. It’s a road course and Chase Elliott — seven-time road course winner — might be the best road racer ever.
If betting on the Elliott turnaround has already burnt too much of your money, then consider Kyle Busch (+1000) and William Byron (+2200). Both wrecked out early in Michigan on Sunday and have the same extra prep time. Byron has made gains as a road course driver and is on the verge of a win, while Busch is driving the No. 8 RCR Chevy that earned two road wins last season (Road America and Indy GP).
Race Winner — Verizon 200 at the Brickyard
Kamui Kobayashi (+8000)
Shane Van Gisbergen (+1200) will try to win his first two Cup Series races with Trackhouse Racing at the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit this Sunday. His car has speed. Both Ross Chastain (+2200) and Daniel Suarez (+1800) won road course races last season (COTA and Sonoma). Justin Marks is the owner of Trackhouse. He is a past and current road ringer. The road course program at Trackhouse Racing is a priority. Unfortunately, the Supercars star from New Zealand doesn’t have the longest odds. If this race turns into chaos, then the longer road ringers should be considered.
Jensen Button (+10000) will be driving the No. 15 car for Rick Ware Racing. It’s not a great ride, but the Ware cars have improved. Button is a former Formula 1 Champion. Andy Lally +100,000) will be in the No. 51 car for RWR. He has plenty of NASCAR and IMSA SportsCar experience, RCR is following Trackhouse Racing’s lead by bringing in a Supercars contender. Brodie Kostecki (1800) will drive the No. 33 RCR Chevy at Indy. Kamui Kobayashi (+8000) doesn’t have the strongest resume, but not just anyone races 75 Formula 1 GPs. He’ll race the No. 67 Toyota for 23XI Racing. Josh Bilicki (+100,000) doesn’t stand a chance. He’s a decent road racer, but His BJ McLeod Motorsports car simply doesn’t have enough speed. He will need pure chaos to win.
Chris Buescher +2200
Here is the strategy: Pick a top-10 driver with longer odds. Skip the favorites. Pick a driver with top-10 skill and a top-10 road course car. Indy is mayhem. There are wrecks everywhere. Spins everywhere. Tires go down. Turn 1 is a graveyard. The Grim Reaper strikes in the middle of the pack and up front. A top-10 driver can sneak away with a win. That’s what happened in the inaugural Indy Grand Prix Circuit race. A.J. Allmendinger (+1800) did not have a race-winning car, but when the dust settled, he was parked in Victory Lane. Buescher has eight top-10 finishes in the last nine road course races (2022-23).
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.