By Walker Polivka
The NASCAR Cup Series continues today with the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Read on below to see our prediction for who will win the race, as well as our top 10, dark horse, and driver to fade predictions.
Driver to Fade: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.- With just 1 top 5 and 5 top 10’s, Stenhouse has had flashes of success throughout an inconsistent season. However, Stenhouse and road courses are two things that do not mix well together. With finishes of 37th, 25th, and 19th in the first three road courses races this season, Stenhouse has definitely struggled. One of the slowest in both Practice and Qualifying, Stenhouse will continue to struggle and finish outside the top 20 today.
Dark Horse: Michael McDowell- Fresh off an L2 Penalty following last week’s race, that doesn’t take away from a career year for McDowell, as he has 1 top 5 and 8 top 10 finishes this season. McDowell is also very solid on the road courses and has finished in the top 15 in all 3 road courses races this season, highlighted by a 3rd place finish at Sonoma. McDowell will be starting today’s race inside the top 10 and we predict that he will continue his road course success today and bring home his 9th top 10 finish of the season.
Top 10: AJ Allmendinger- The true road course king, Allmendinger has a whopping 11 career wins on road courses across both the Cup and Xfinity Series’ in his career. The defending champion of this race and winner of the Xfinity Series race held here yesterday, Allmendinger is always a threat to win at a road course, regardless of his experience level at the track, the strength of the field, or the quality of the vehicle he is racing. Allmendinger will be coming from deep in the field today, but he will no doubt make his way forward quickly. A top 10 is a lock this afternoon for Allmendinger.
Winner: Austin Cindric- The 2022 Daytona 500 champion, Cindric has put together a solid rookie campaign, with 1 win, 3 top 5’s, and 6 top 10 finishes. Like Allmendinger, Cindric has had success on the road courses, with 5 career road course wins in the Xfinity Series. Cindric unloaded off the truck with a rocket this week, as he was the fastest in Practice and was 2nd fastest in Qualifying. Cindric won the Xfinity Series race here last year and finished 9th in the Cup Series race last year and has proven that he has the skill set necessary to win here. We predict that Austin Cindric will be kissing the bricks again with a win in Indianapolis today!