This week’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course has a wide-open feel to it. Not only are there several international stars like Chicago Street Race winner Shane van Gisbergen participating, but there are also seven drivers who sit below the playoff elimination line who have strong road-course resumés.
Those drivers include Chase Elliott, who is a seven-time road-course winner; AJ Allmendinger, who won in 2021 at the Indy Road Course; and Michael McDowell, who leads all drivers in points earned on road courses since NASCAR switched to the Next Gen car.
Add to those Daniel Suárez, who ranks fifth in laps run in the top five on road courses this year; Alex Bowman, a two-time road-course runner-up; Austin Cindric, one of two drivers to finish in the top 10 in both Indy Road Course races; and Justin Haley, a runner-up at Chicago.
This could be the week where the playoff picture truly gets a facelift.
So be sure to tune in to Sunday’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, IMS Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App) and see if chaos ensues with just three regular-season races left in 2023.
OTHERS TO WATCH
TYLER REDDICK: If the team can improve on pit road, Reddick will be in the running for the checkered flag. He won at Circuit of The Americas earlier this season and has the highest total of fastest laps run on road courses in 2023 (only green-flag laps).
CHRIS BUESCHER: The recent back-to-back winner has the longest active streak with eight straight top 10s in road-course races. Could he make it three wins in a row?
KYLE BUSCH: After a last-place finish at Michigan, Busch can look forward to the fact he has finished in the top five in the last four road-course races.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: He leads the standings by 57 points over the next closest competitor (Denny Hamlin), and he has the second-most laps run in the top five at road courses this year with 135.
KYLE LARSON: He has four career road-course wins, which is among the active leaders.
Projections as of Sunday, Aug. 13.
RACING INSIGHTS’ PROJECTIONS FOR THE VERIZON 200 AT THE BRICKYARD
Racing Insights’ advanced statistical formula includes current track, current track type, recent performance, team data and pit-crew data to arrive at a projected winner and full race results.
|6||91||Shane van Gisbergen|
|9||19||Martin Truex Jr.|
|28||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|