The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season continues today with the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas. Read on below to see my prediction for who will win the race, as well as my top 10, dark horse, and driver to fade predictions.
Winner: Austin Cindric- The 2022 Daytona 500 winner, Austin Cindric made his mark in the Xfinity Series as a road course killer, winning 5 times on 5 different road courses. Cindric showed pace in both Practice and Qualifying yesterday and has less pressure on him today since he is already locked into the Playoffs due to his Daytona victory. Cindric led laps here last year both in his Xfinity and Cup Series starts and I expect that he will find his way to the front early today on the way to his second win of the season!
Top 10: Tyler Reddick- Reddick has gotten off to a solid start this season, with a pair of top 10’s in the first 5 races. Reddick finished 9th at COTA last year and had 4 top 10’s across the 7 road course races, including a runner-up showing at the Charlotte Roval. Reddick has shown speed at every race so far this season and may have encountered some bad luck along the way, but he has the speed and skill to contend today as Reddick will bring home another top 10 finish.
Dark Horse: Chris Buescher- Buescher started the season off slow, but enters today’s race coming off of back-to-back top 10’s at Phoenix and Atlanta. Although not traditionally thought of as a road course racer, Buescher finished inside the top 20 in all 7 road course races last season, including 13th at COTA and 3rd at the Charlotte Roval. Buescher didn’t show much pace in Practice and Qualifying, but if he stays out of trouble, he can easily work his way towards the front. A win would be surprising, but a top 15 run today is well within reach.
Driver to Fade: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.- It’s not a secret that Stenhouse has struggled on road courses. In 25 previous road course starts, Stenhouse has never even had a top 10 finish. Stenhouse had 2 top 15’s and 4 top 20’s in 7 road course starts last season, including a 22nd place here at COTA. Stenhouse didn’t show much speed in Practice or Qualifying and I expect those struggles to continue during the race, as Stenhouse will finish outside the top 20 today.