2023 Verizon 200 at the Brickyard: Preview, 5 Best Bets, Longshot Pick

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Jul 17, 2023; Loudon, New Hampshire, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Tyler Reddick (45) is introduced before the start of  the Crayon 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Jul 17, 2023; Loudon, New Hampshire, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Tyler Reddick (45) is introduced before the start of the Crayon 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Image: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Three races remain before the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begin, and Sunday's Verizon 200 at the Brickyard is one of two that will be contested on road courses.

Martin Truex Jr. holds a 57-point lead atop the standings over Denny Hamlin, but the real drama is focused on the battle for the final four playoff spots.


Unless the next three races produce three different new winners below them in the standings — not outside the realm of possibility, given the venues — Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski are relatively certain they'll qualify for the Playoffs on points.

Harvick is 182 points above the cut line and can clinch a Playoff spot by scoring 44 points, if there is no repeat winner or if there is a victory by a driver who cannot compete in the Playoffs (notably Shane Van Gisbergen, who won the Chicago Street Race in his only NASCAR start so far).


Keselowski can clinch by scoring 54 points under the same circumstances.

Ty Gibbs has taken a slim 3-point lead over Michael McDowell for the final qualifying spot and Daniel Suarez is only two behind McDowell.

For Sunday's race, the restart zone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been moved from the main straightaway before the start/finish line to a position between Turns 13 and 14, the latter a sharp right-hander leading to the frontstretch.

Similar to an approach that worked extremely well at the Chicago Street Course, the change should spread out the field and prevent the cars from barreling en masse into Turn 1.



The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Aug. 13, 2:30 p.m. ET

The Distance: 200 miles

Defending Champion: Tyler Reddick

Cup Series Leader: Martin Truex Jr.


Radio: SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Tyler Reddick (+500 at BetMGM)

The pre-race favorite, Reddick is coming off a 30th in Michigan on the heels of a 16th in Richmond. He finished runner-up at Pocono three races ago and won at the Brickyard last year.


Martin Truex Jr. (+550)

Truex leads the series with 828 total laps led and is tied for the lead with 13 top-10s this season. He's also second with three victories and nine top-5s. No driver has been more consistent the past few months, as Truex has a pair of wins among eight top-10s in his past 10 races.


Chase Elliott (+800)

Time is running short for Elliott, who is 55 points below the playoff cutoff line. After a seven-race run of finishes of 13th or better, Elliott stumbled to 36th last week, placing even further pressure on the former Cup champion. Elliott likely needs to win one of the final three races to get into the playoffs.


Shane van Gisbergen (+850)

Van Gisbergen won his only previous NASCAR Cup Series race on the Chicago road course, and the three-time Australian V8 Supercars champion is eyeing a full-time ride next year. He leads all drivers with the public backing van Gisbergen with 11.1 percent of the total bets and 29.7 percent of the money placed on the winner, making him the book's second biggest liability.


A.J. Allmendinger (+1500)

A top road course driver, Allmendinger enters the weekend 24 points below the playoff cutoff line. He hasn't been consistently competitive this year, but both of Allmendinger's previous Cup Series victories have come on the next two courses — Indianapolis' road course and Watkins Glen International.


"The last two years at Indy have been really special," said Allmendinger, who won on the Indianapolis Road Course in 2021 in a part-time Cup role and claimed victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race last year. "To be able to kiss the bricks in the Xfinity Series and Cup Series has been a dream come true.

"Our road course stuff hasn't quite been where we need it to be, but we are definitely working hard on it. We were close last year on the Cup side, and if we get to Indy and unload well, we can have a shot to go win the race."



Kamui Kobayashi (+2500)

Kobayashi steps in for Noah Gragson, who resigned from Legacy Motor Club on Thursday after his suspension for "liking" a meme on social media that made light of the death of George Floyd. A former F1 driver, Kobayashi is BetMGM's biggest liability this week as his odds have shortened from +8000 while being backed by 7.9 percent of the total bets and 7.3 percent of the money.


—Field Level Media (NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this story)