Road course races have been chaotic in the NASCAR Next Gen era. Which drivers could pull off an unexpected upset at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course?
Two of the three remaining races on the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule are road course races, including this Sunday afternoon’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard.
There is speculation that the third Cup Series race at the 13-turn, 2.439-mile (3.925-kilometer) Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course could be the last, as the Cup Series is rumored to return to the Speedway, Indiana venue’s four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) oval layout for the traditional Brickyard 400 in 2024.
The last time the Cup Series ran a race with both left and right turns was in early July, when the new Chicago Street Course hosted the first ever Cup Series street course race.
Trackhouse Racing Team’s Shane van Gisbergen, who was listed at +7500 to win the race ahead of his debut weekend, pulled off the upset in dominant fashion to become the first driver to win on debut in six decades.
Suffice it to say that van Gisbergen’s odds won’t be nearly as long ahead of his second career start this weekend. But which other drivers could pull off the upsets at what has been one of the more chaotic races on the schedule since it was added in 2021?
DraftKings Sportsbook, which is offering fans an instant $150 just for betting $5, lists several drivers with intriguing odds ahead of Sunday’s Verizon 200. Here’s a look at five in particular.
NASCAR at Indianapolis: Verizon 200 longshot picks – Michael McDowell
Michael McDowell has become quite the road course racer, and he has been one of the key beneficiaries at such tracks following the introduction of the Next Gen car. In the last calendar year, he has racked up four top eight finishes in road and street course races.
NASCAR at Indianapolis: Verizon 200 longshot picks – Kamui Kobayashi
Shane van Gisbergen was the first driver who just missed my list of three longshots ahead of the Chicago Street Course race when he was listed at +7500. I’m not going to make that mistake again.
Kamui Kobayashi is an experienced road racer who is set to make his Cup Series debut for a road course-winning team in 23XI Racing, which is exactly what van Gisbergen did for Trackhouse Racing Team last month. It would not be surprising to see his +6500 odds shorten significantly before the green flag flies.
NASCAR at Indianapolis: Verizon 200 longshot picks – Jenson Button
Jenson Button doesn’t have the results to show for his efforts through his first two NASCAR Cup Series starts, but this coming weekend’s race is third and final scheduled start of the year for Rick Ware Racing. Eyeing a Cup Series return in 2024, he will be looking to impress.
While the results haven’t been there, his 18th place finish at Circuit of the Americas was, believe it or not, the team’s best ever road course finish. Then in Chicago, he ran solidly in the top 10 before an issue with his pit stop. Don’t underestimate the former Formula 1 world champion.
NASCAR at Indianapolis: Verizon 200 longshot picks – Justin Haley
Justin Haley isn’t known for his road course prowess, but he was in position to win the inaugural street course race in Chicago if not for Shane van Gisbergen’s once-in-a-generation surge to victory on debut.
Haley also finished in eighth place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2021 and fifth at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval in 2022. His +10000 odds provide great value, especially coming off of that impressive runner-up finish in Chicago last month.
NASCAR at Indianapolis: Verizon 200 longshot picks – Bubba Wallace
We all know that Bubba Wallace hasn’t been nearly as strong on road and street courses as he has been in oval races. But he really hasn’t been +20000 terrible.
Not only are 23XI Racing one of the three road or street course-winning teams this year, but Wallace placed fifth at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last year and added a seventh place finish at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
With odds and availability subject to change, lock in your $150 now before it’s too late!
NBC is set to broadcast the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course starting at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 13, bringing an end to a five-race streak of races on USA Network. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!