Verizon 200 Predictions, Picks & Odds (Cup Series)
- Is Kyle Larson the real deal on road courses? It certainly looks that way.
- Chase Elliott seeks to rebound from penalty that likely cost him a win at the Glen.
- SHR driver Chase Briscoe is a long shot that could pay huge dividends.
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Let’s give thanks for small favors. The NASCAR Cup Series drivers in Sunday’s inaugural race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course won’t have go into the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard cold turkey.
Because it’s a brand new track for the series, NASCAR has instituted both a practice session and qualifying before drivers take to the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course in earnest.
Sunday’s race will be contested over 82 laps (200 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 15 and 35 laps. Coming a week after the Cup race at Watkins Glen, this will mark the first time since 1964 that Cup drivers have run back-to-back road course races.
How to Watch Verizon 200
|Verizon 200 Information|
|Race||Verizon 200 at the Brickyard NASCAR Cup Series race|
|Location||Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course|
|Time||Sunday, August 15, 1 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||NBC|
At Watkins Glen, Kyle Larson Solidified His Road Course Credentials
What we didn’t know was that Larson could translate his generational talent into a victory at Watkins Glen International, where in past years he has not run particularly well.
Larson certainly proved us wrong last Sunday at the Glen, where he held off Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott to pick up his fifth victory of the season and his second on a road course.
Accordingly, we can’t discount Larson’s chances in Sunday’s race, where he’s second choice via DraftKings Sportsbook at +350.
There’s one caveat. Larson made an enemy on the way to his win at Watkins Glen. Running third behind dirt-track rival Christopher Bell, Larson dived to the inside of Bell in Turn 1, and contact between their cars sent Bell’s Toyota spinning out of control.
Bell blamed Larson for the racing incident and wouldn’t take Larson’s call to discuss the wreck. So if Bell gets close to Larson on Sunday and decides to exact revenge, all bets are off, figuratively speaking.
Chase Elliott Looks for Problem-Free Run after Watkins Glen Fiasco
OK, it may be a stretch to characterize a second-place finish as a fiasco, but Chase Elliott didn’t get all he could have out of last Sunday’s event at Watkins Glen.
First, Elliott’s team took liberties with the rear window air deflector and got busted in pre-race inspection. Elliott’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, was ejected from the track, and Elliott had to drop to the rear for the start of the race.
Second, Elliott flat-spotted his tires while charging a corner on Lap 30 and had to make an extra green-flag pit stop for new rubber. Despite the snafus, Elliott ran second to Kyle Larson and was closing on his teammate when he ran out of laps.
One thing was clear: Elliott had the fastest car last Sunday and charged through the field with relative ease. If he and his team can turn in a problem-free performance at Indy on Sunday, he will win.
That’s why—even at a modest +200—Elliott is our top pick this week.
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Chase Briscoe Has a Strong Chance to Run in the Top Five at Indy
Only one driver has ever won a NASCAR national-series race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course—Chase Briscoe.
The driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford took the checkered flag last year in the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the 14-turn road course, beating the likes of Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson and AJ Allmendinger.
Now racing full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, Briscoe faces stiffer competition in Sunday’s Verizon 200, but he’s an excellent road racer who is coming off a ninth-place run at Watkins Glen.
In addition, Briscoe is an Indiana native son for whom the vaunted Brickyard holds a special allure.
The 26-year-old driver is available at +3500 via DraftKings Sportsbook. A win is certainly a long shot, but you can have Briscoe to finish in the top five for +550. That seems like a decent bet for a driver who already has won at Indy—even if it was an Xfinity race.
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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]