With two road-course races in the books this season, the main players — and teams — are set with who runs well turning left and right. Similar to Sonoma Raceway three weeks ago, the likes of Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell and Chris Buescher will start inside the top 10. Meanwhile, the two Trackhouse Racing entries that have won both road courses this season will start 12th and 17th, respectively.
Dustin Albino’s race-day lineup:
Starter 1: Chase Elliott
Starter 2: Austin Cindric
Starter 3: Chris Buescher
Starter 4: Michael McDowell
Starter 5: Tyler Reddick
Garage pick: Daniel Suárez
NEXT IN LINE: Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger, Chase Briscoe
RISING: Last year, Briscoe earned his three top-10 finishes solely on road courses. Road America equaled his best result of the year in sixth. This weekend, the No. 14 car has been sporty, turning the quickest lap in practice and will start on the front row. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Briscoe battling for his second win of the season. One concern: Multiple drivers said Briscoe’s car fell off on the lone long run of practice.
For just the second time in team history, Rick Ware Racing will have an entry starting inside the top 10. Joey Hand, making his fourth career start, delivered the team its best career starting position in ninth. Hand is an experienced road racer and has coached many of the Ford drivers on how to get around the track. The former Rolex 24 at Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner might help your team out.
FALLING: While Suárez is starting in my garage, the No. 99 team didn’t show the lights-out speed it had at both Circuit of The Americas and Sonoma. But sticking with conventional wisdom, plot at least one Trackhouse entry into your lineup — or garage — some way.
After turning the 34th quickest lap in qualifying, Justin Haley said neither he nor his Kaulig Racing teammate AJ Allmendinger had much speed. The bigger concern here is Allmendinger, who will be a popular pick for fantasy players. The No. 16 car will take the green flag from 19th and was just 20th on the scoring chart in practice.
Chase Elliott vs. Martin Truex Jr.: Last year, these two drivers were considered two of the best road-course racers on the circuit. But in the two road courses in 2022, Elliott has been superior to the No. 19 car. With the No. 9 car starting from the pole, it could make for a long day at the office for the competition.
Alex Bowman vs. Corey LaJoie: The bad blood boils over from Nashville Superspeedway after these two had a run-in early in the race. Bowman is the layup pick this weekend, as he’s steadily shown an improvement when racing on road courses since joining Hendrick Motorsports.
Chase Briscoe vs. Ty Dillon: Theoretically, this is another easy choice in Briscoe. The No. 14 car will start from the front row, and he believed he had the best car on the short run. Briscoe had the quickest car in practice as well, so the speed is there this weekend. Meanwhile, Dillon had a disappointing 30th-place qualifying run, after posting the ninth-best time in practice.
Christopher Bell vs. Kyle Busch: Take your pick. Toyota has struggled on road courses this season, particularly at Sonoma. Based on recent success on said tracks, Bell should get the nod. More bad news for the No. 18 team: Busch will have to start at the rear due to an engine change.