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NASCAR at Road America: How to watch, entry list, predictions

Chase Elliott, left, Aric Almirola, center, and Kyle Busch, right, lead as a NASCAR Cup Series auto race starts, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Lebanon, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chase Elliott, left, Aric Almirola, center, and Kyle Busch, right, lead as a NASCAR Cup Series auto race starts, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Lebanon, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)

AP

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

TV: NBC

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)

DriverCar No.
1Quin Houff00
2Kurt Busch1
3Brad Keselowski2
4Austin Dillon3
5Kevin Harvick4
6Kyle Larson5
7Ryan Newman6
8Corey LaJoie7
9Tyler Reddick8
10Chase Elliott9
11Aric Almirola10
12Denny Hamlin11
13Ryan Blaney12
14Chase Briscoe14
15James Davison15
16AJ Allmendinger16
17Chris Buescher17
18Kyle Busch18
19Martin Truex Jr.19
20Christopher Bell20
21Matt DiBenedetto21
22Joey Logano22
23Bubba Wallace23
24William Byron24
25Austin Cindric33
26Michael McDowell34
27Ryan Preece37
28Anthony Alfredo38
29Cole Custer41
30Ross Chastain42
31Erik Jones43
32Ricky Stenhouse Jr.47
33Alex Bowman48
34Cody Ware51
35Josh Bilicki52
36Ryan Eversley53
37Justin Haley77
38Kyle Tilley78
39Ty Dillon96
40Daniel Suárez99

NASCAR and Charlotte FC beat reporter Alex Andrejev joined The Observer in January 2020 following an internship at The Washington Post. She played Division I volleyball at Columbia University before earning her master’s degree at the University of Southern California.
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