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NASCAR DFS: Verizon 200 Preview

The NASCAR Cup Series is down to just three races left in its regular season. Last week at Michigan, Chris Buescher claimed his second win of the season. Prior to Richmond, Buescher had just two career wins on his resume. Two weeks later he’s doubled his career win total going back-to-back at Richmond and Michigan. A similar feat was done by Kevin Harvick last season. This week, NASCAR heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for some road course racing. Indianapolis has been a high-variance race when we’ve seen the Cup and Xfinity Series race here. This race saw three rookies finish in the top four a year ago. Even Bubba Wallace, who hates road courses, finished fifth as the top Toyota. Let’s take a look at what to expect and dig into the Verizon 200 preview.

2023 marks the third year the NASCAR Cup Series has run the road course at Indianapolis. Don’t be surprised if you see similar drivers in this article to the Sonoma article from a couple of months ago. The layout is similar to a “Roval” like Charlotte where the track incorporates part of the oval, but the racing also occurs in the infield. The oddity with this race is the cars run clockwise around the track while the Indianapolis 500 and the former Brickyard 400 run counterclockwise. So this is an adjustment for pit crews for Sunday’s race. In general, we can still target the road course ringers for Sunday’s race. Don’t force in too many drivers starting up front because DFS success is dependent on position differential and overall finish.

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the brickyard verizon 200

Verizon 200 Preview: The Top Picks

Martin Truex Jr. (#19 Toyota)

Truex opened as a +400 favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook to win this race. That gives him a 25% win equity which is huge in the Cup Series. In two races at Indy’s road course, he’s finished 15th and 21st. But don’t write him off because of that. As mentioned, the first two races have been high variance with curbs coming out of the track and this was after NASCAR had to remove “turtle shells” from the track prior to Sunday’s race in 2021. Either way, MTJ has long been considered one of the best road ringers in NASCAR. He’s having an outstanding year, having won Sonoma earlier in the year and he’s been incredibly fast every week over the last month. The sportsbook odds seem justified heading into the weekend.

Tyler Reddick (#45 Toyota)

Tyler Reddick has four career wins on his resume in the Cup Series and three of them have come at road courses. He led 38 laps in this race a year ago after starting on the pole and winning the whole thing. He’s also won at Road America and COTA. He had his struggles at Sonoma earlier this summer, but overall he has a great road course acumen and it’s no wonder he opened as the driver with the second-best odds to win behind Martin Truex Jr.

A.J. Allmendinger (#16 Chevrolet)

All things being equal, Allmendinger is probably the best road course driver in the field. He won this race two years ago, but certainly needed some carnage for track position. He also finished seventh here last season but did win the Xfinity Series race here. Kaulig will do everything they can to get Allmendinger the right setup for this race. He’s 24 points out of the last playoff spot, but he should be able to race for stage points but also contend for a win. He also has a Cup Series win at Watkins Glen (next week’s race) on his resume. Since the start of 2020, Dinger has eight wins in the Xfinity Series on road courses.

Verizon 200 Preview: Wouldn’t Bet Against Them

Chase Elliott (#9 Chevrolet)

It’s pretty much impossible for Elliott to point his way into the playoffs now. He needs a win. Luckily there are two road courses and Daytona left so he has hope. Truthfully, he’s been mediocre by Hendrick Motorsports’ standards this year. There are some rumblings floating around that he was never really that good of a road racer and that his team just always nailed the setup. He may be selling himself short, but he grabbed a top-five here two years ago while leading 14 laps. He also has wins at COTA, Watkins Glen, Road America, Sonoma, and Daytona’s Road Course. This is definitely the kind of race where he could win and secure his playoff spot.

Chris Buescher (#17 Ford)

This isn’t necessarily a bold driver to place here. He’s won the last two weeks after all. Buescher came close to winning Sonoma last year but finished second. After that runner-up, he was then sixth at Road America, tenth at Indy, ninth at Watkins Glen, and sixth at the Roval. Buescher has been top ten on all road/street courses this year and might be the only driver with more momentum than Martin Truex Jr.

Shane van Gisbergen (#91 Chevrolet)

Shane van Gisbergen took the racing world by storm when he won the Chicago Street Race in his Cup Series debut. And he’s back to tame Indianapolis. Indy draws some comparisons to Chicago in that it’s largely a flat track. The elevation changes are almost non-existent and there are long straightaways to reach top speed. He’ll be a popular option based on his debut. Not to mention, Trackhouse does pretty well setting up their cars. Since the start of 2022 in the NextGen car, they’ve won on three different road courses.

Verizon 200 Preview: The Sleepers

Michael McDowell (#34 Ford)

McDowell was one of the many cars collected in a wreck over the lifted curb fiasco two years ago. But he bounced back and finished eighth here last year. But McDowell is a very strong road course driver given the equipment he runs. So far this year he’s finished 12th at COTA, 7th at Sonoma, and 7th at Chicago. Even last year he finished top eight at Sonoma, Road America, and Watkins Glen. McDowell is three points out of the last playoff spot and he’ll definitely be driving for stage points with a longshot to win. But these last three races are a great opportunity for him get earn his spot in the playoffs.

Austin Cindric (#2 Ford)

Cindric drives for Team Penske whose owner, Roger Penske, also owns this track. Needless to say, he wants to win anytime IndyCar or NASCAR comes to town. Cindric grabbed a top ten here in 2021 and finished second here last year. He also has a win here from his time in the Xfinity Series. He’s hardly a sleeper but at the same time, he hasn’t done much in the Cup Series aside from his Daytona 500 win in 2022. He finished sixth at COTA and at the Chicago Street Course so he’s certainly more comfortable on this type of track.

Brodie Kostecki (#33 Chevrolet)

Richard Childress Racing is getting in the business of hiring drivers from another hemisphere to compete on road courses. It worked for Trackhouse Racing and Richard Childress wants to see if he can strike gold with Brodie Kostecki. He’s still young at just 25 years old but he has two wins in the Supercars Championship series. He opened with 18-1 odds to win outright and that’s better than Denny Hamlin, Chris Buescher, William Byron, and a few others. I wouldn’t want to bet him at that number before practice and qualifying. But the equipment is pretty good and we saw what Tyler Reddick could do for this team on road courses last year. Give him some consideration for your NASCAR DFS lineups.

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