NASCAR’s top series hits Road America this weekend for the second time in 65 years. The last Cup race at the road course near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin was in 1956.
The next race, the Jockey Made in America 250, is Sunday, July 4 at 2:30 p.m. on NBC.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series has raced annually at Road America since 2010, so a majority of the drivers in Sunday’s lineup have experience at the track. Additionally, teams will be able to use a practice and qualifying session ahead of the race to get familiar with the 14-turn course.
Some drivers, including Kevin Harvick and last Sunday’s Pocono winner Kyle Busch, raced in Saturday’s Xfinity event for more experience, but hadn’t previously competed at the track. Nine drivers — Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Corey LaJoie, Anthony Alfredo, Quin Houff, Ryan Eversley and Kyle Tilley — will make their first start at Road America on Sunday.
“I have no clue what to expect,” LaJoie told The Observer earlier this week. “I’ve never seen the place and can’t make three laps on iRacing, so my expectations are low.”
LaJoie’s playoff chances look slim as he sits 29th in points, but other drivers such as Chris Buescher, Daniel Suárez, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Bubba Wallace are battling for points to secure a spot in the 16-driver field for the postseason. Seven races remain before the playoffs begin in September.
It will likely be drivers who have already won this year leading the pack, potentially including two drivers who won at the beginning of the season. Christopher Bell and Michael McDowell have each won one Xfinity race at Road America, and Bell’s Cup win in February was at a road course.
BetMGM, however, is giving the best odds to Chase Elliott (+230), Kyle Larson (+280), Truex (+650) and Busch (+750).
A.J. Allmendinger has +2500 odds, according to the sportsbook, but he’s another driver to watch along with Austin Cindric (+4000). Allmendinger is entering the Cup race for Kaulig Racing, while Cindric will drive for Team Penske. Both have won at Road America in the Xfinity Series.
Additionally, Logano has not finished lower than fourth in the three road course races this year, and proved he’s able to handle a new challenge during the Bristol dirt race. The recent speed Hendrick Motorsports cars have shown will be tough to beat, however. I predict it will again come down to Elliott and Larson for that reason, but Logano, Allmendinger or Cindric could be a surprise win.
NASCAR race at Road America how to watch
Race: Jockey Made in America 250 Presented by Kwik Trip
When: Sunday, July 4
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250 miles (62 laps) with stages ending on laps 14, 29 and 62 (14 turns on a 4.048-mile course)
Qualifying: 11:05 a.m. ET on Sunday (CNBC)
NASCAR at Road America entry list (by number)
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||19|
|32||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47|