NASCAR Navigating the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course to Find the Playoffs

NASCAR Cup Cars racing on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course 7-31-22
NASCAR Cup Cars racing on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course 7-31-22 (Photo credit: YouTube)

There are three races remaining for NASCAR Cup Drivers to make sure they are a part of the Playoffs with a chance at the Championship. This week will be a challenge and a chance as they race the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.

The Verizon 200 at the Brickyard will be only the third time the Cup Series has competed on the road course at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The racing on this road course has been calculated at times and a bit out of control at times. Drivers seem to be trying to learn the nuances of the course while also trying to find the edge they can race up to. Unfortunately, while looking for that edge some have gone past it.

Here is what the drivers and teams will be facing this weekend at the track and in the race.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Data:
Track Size: 2.439-miles
Track Type: Asphalt Paved Road Course
Number of Turns: 14

Verizon 200 at the Brickyard Data:
Season Race #: 24 of 36 (08-13-23)
Race Length: 82 laps / 199.998 miles
Stage 1 Length: 15 laps
Stage 2 Length: 20 laps
Final Stage Length: 47 laps

Since there have been only two Cup Series races on this road course, there have only been two drivers who have won on it. A.J. Allmendinger won the inaugural race on the road course in 2021 and Tyler Reddick was the winner in 2022. Both drivers will be in this weekend’s race.

There are four drivers above the cut line for the Playoffs based on points. Two have a decent margin: Kevin Harvick (+180 points) and Brad Keselowski (+168 points). Bubba Wallace is closer to the line with just a +58 point margin. Ty Gibbs is sitting right on the line only +3 points to the good.

Both Bubba and Ty could easily fall below the line with some bad luck. They will need to race smart while trying to get a win to lock inn the Playoffs. Kevin and Brad need to be concerned about new winners for the 2023 season. If the final three races of the regular season have three new winners, one of them will not be making the post-season unless one or both of them are among the new winners.

The drivers from 17th place to 30th place in the point standings know that if they win one of these last three races, that catapults them past everybody and locks them in the Playoffs. Some of those drivers have a good chance to do just that this weekend since they are typically good on road courses. That includes A.J. Allmendinger, Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola to name a few.

We will find out who races to simply survive, who races aggressively and who races to win when the gre4en flag waives. The Verizon 200 at the Brickyard starts at 1:30 p.m. central time (2:30 p.m. eastern time) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Sunday, August 13th.

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens