NASCAR Cup Series returns on Sunday with the 2021 Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, where Kyle Larson will look to take sole position of No.1 on the NASCAR Cup Series standings. However, it remains to be seen whether he’ll manage to achieve that feat over Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 2021 Verizon 200 at the Brickyard will mark the sixth road course race of the season, with one more to go — The Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This weekend also marks the first time that the NASCAR Cup Series is racing on road courses back-to-back.
Racing on the road hasn’t stopped Larson from winning the 2021 Go Bowling at The Glen; however, he is definitely not the only driver who can deliver on Sunday.
Chase Elliott’s Dominance
There is no driver who has been as consistent on these races as Chase Elliott, who travels to Indianapolis as the betting favorite (+175). The 25-year-old failed to claim a W last week but was a lot closer to winning the race than he should have been.
” I made too many mistakes to get the win” — @chaseelliott on his runner-up finish at @WGI. pic.twitter.com/jyGtoCZciJ
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 8, 2021
Before the race started, a part of his car was confiscated, his crew chief was ejected, and Elliott had to start in the back. What’s more, he needed to pit midway through the race because he flat-spotted his tires.
“If I hadn’t have let them down there, I think we would have had a shot at it, but congrats to Kyle,” said Elliott after the race.
“Happy for everybody at HMS. Hendrick Motorsports has been working extremely hard, and not only do the people deserve to win, but Mr. Hendrick deserves to win. Really happy for him, and I’ll try to clean some things up and make less mistakes next time.”
Despite all that, Elliott still finished a close second to Larson, which is quite remarkable.
The track will be a new experience for nearly all drivers, who will have a chance to test it out and get familiar with it during the practice session Saturday morning. And let’s not forget that the Road America was a new experience for Elliott, yet he still won despite starting from the back.
Experience Could Help
It might sound contradictory to our previous statement; however, drivers with experience driving at the Indianapolis road course could perform better. This is why we have to view Austin Cindric (+2500) as a potential underdog that can upset.
Cindric should have arguably won the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Indianapolis Grand Prix race last season, but he received a controversial green flag penalty. Still, he battled his way back to the front and looked poised to take the lead before tangling with A.J. Allmendinger.
Looking back, Cindric drove well at Road America, where he had his chances to steal the win. He ran inside the top five for the majority of the first stage and came close to taking the lead in the second stage but had to end the day due to a mechanical issue.
Most of the roval-type events in NASCAR have been chaotic and unpredictable. Looking back at the Daytona Road Course race, we saw Christopher Bell claim the winning flag cashing NASCAR betting odds as high as +6000, which isn’t too surprising.
Underdogs tend to perform much better largely thanks to late-race cautions that have become common in these races. That’s a bit reason why it’s worth checking out a few outsiders.
As noted above, we like Cindric as a longshot pick, who is a good bet at +2500 and could prove lucrative if there are yellow flags toward the end of the race. Still, we have to pick our main prediction, and for that, we have to side with Elliott.
There is a world where Larson (+275) goes back-to-back, but after Elliott’s phenomenal showing last time out, it’s tough to pass on the road-course specialist at +175.