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The race for the final three NASCAR Cup Series Playoff spots is likely to command as much attention as the winner of Sunday’s race—although those two storylines may intersect.
Though the Playoff permutations are too involved to enumerate here, suffice it to say that Bubba Wallace currently holds the final Playoff-eligible position by 28 points over Daniel Suarez with two races left before the Playoff field is set.
Suarez is the superior road course racer. He claimed his only NASCAR Cup victory last year at the highly technical Sonoma Raceway circuit, and he’s coming off a third-place finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
While we don’t ‘expect Suarez to take the checkered flag on Sunday, we do like the Mexican driver to stand up to the pressure and finish in the top three at +340 via DraftKings Sportsbook.
We also like him to beat Christopher Bell head-to-head at -110.
Last year, with Richard Childress Racing, Tyler Reddick established himself as a road course star, winning in the Next Gen car at Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
After an offseason move to 23XI Racing, Reddick won the first road course event of the year, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
But Reddick hasn’t been to Victory Lane since then, although he showed good speed in finishing fourth last Sunday at the Indy Road Course.
Though we don’t have Reddick winning at the Glen, we do think he’ll beat two-time defending race winner Kyle Larson head-to-head at +110 via DraftKings.
As we noted above, Kyle Larson won the last two NASCAR Cup Series races at Watkins Glen—in 2021 in the Gen 6 race car and last year in the debut season of the Next Gen iteration.
In the two years before that, the trophy went to Chase Elliott. Combined with Larson’s victories, that’s four straight for the Chevrolets of Hendrick Motorsports.
Last Sunday at the Indy Road Course, Larson didn’t have the speed to keep up with the frontrunners. That and an off-course excursion relegated him to an eighth-place finish.
Elliott, on the other hand, dogged race winner Michael McDowell to the finish and came home second. With that result, Elliott seems to be rounding into form.
The driver of the No. 9 Chevy has a lot on the line. A victory at the Glen would vault him into the Playoffs and effectively eliminate both Suarez and Wallace.
We think Elliott has the speed and the know-how to get the job done, and he’s our pick on Sunday at +330 via DraftKings.
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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