Driver Group Game Picks for Road America


The NASCAR Cup Series travels back to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin this week to celebrate the 4th of July at Road America. The race in Wisconsin last year was the first for the Cup Series since 1956. The excitement outside the track was a lot better than what happened on the track. The track was absolutely packed with fans but the race was not great. That should change this year since the Gen-7 car and its independent rear suspension performs well on road courses. The Kwik Trip 250 can be seen Sunday at 3 p.m. on USA Network.



The strategy for the road courses usually is not very difficult. There are a handful of drivers who have dominated these races in the past. That has not been the case this year. A lot of the drivers who have run well in these races before (Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson and AJ Allmendinger to name a few…) have not had any success in the two road course races this year (COTA and Sonoma).

So what do we do? Do we fade the drivers listed above who have been to Victory Lane many times at the road courses or do we give them another chance. Most of those drivers are very good at other tracks so I will save my allocations with Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson for other tracks.

Now the question is… What do we do with AJ Allmendinger? We all know he is going to be one of the fastest drivers in practice. We all know he is going to qualify up front. We also know he will run well in the race. But will Allmedinger finish the race? That has been a problem for him. Allmedinger has finished 19th, 33rd, 39th, 1st and 29th in his last five road courses races. I am going to give Allmeindinger one more chance before I start fading him on the road course.

Here are the picks for the Kwik Trip 250…




CHASE ELLIOTT (7): Chase Elliott is the “free square” this week. He has momentum after his win last Sunday at Nashville and he won the race last year at Road America. Elliott has seven wins on the road courses. That is one behind Tony Stewart and two wins behind Jeff Gordon for the most in NASCAR history. His is almost a lock for a top-five finish Sunday so I will use an allocation with the No. 9 car at Road America.

RYAN BLANEY (5): The Joe Gibbs Drivers (Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin) have a history of running well at the road courses but they looked liked crap at Sonoma. I am going to play it safe and pivot to Blaney this week. He finished sixth at COTA and sixth at Sonoma. Blaney only has one win on a road course (Charlotte Roval) but he has finished four road course races in a row in the top-10. He should finish in the top-10 again this week.

GROUP A DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Chase Elliott 2) Ryan Blaney 3) Kyle Larson 4) Kyle Busch 5) Martin Truex Jr. 6) Denny Hamlin 7) Kevin Harvick



ROSS CHASTAIN (4): Chastain has been the best driver on the road course this year. That is nothing new. He has been the most consistent driver in the Cup Series in 2022. Chastain won the race at COTA and he finished seventh at Sonoma. His 121.1 Driver Rating on the road courses is a series-best and so is his fourth-place average finishing position. Chastain finished seventh at Road America last year. He should have a good chance to go to Victory Lane Sunday.

CHRISTOPHER BELL (5): Yes the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers looked like crap at Sonoma, but Bell was their best driver. He also looked really good when he finished third at COTA earlier this year. Bell finished second at Road America last year. He has finished six of his last seven races in the top-10, so Bell is on a hot streak right now.

TYLER REDDICK (7): Reddick is not the first name that people think of when they think of road course racing, but he has proved he can run up front. Reddick finished fifth at COTA earlier this year and he finished eighth at Road America last year. He is also one of the best drivers in the field at qualifying on the road courses. Reddick scored bonus points for qualifying in both road course races this year. He should qualify in the top-five again this weekend.

ALEX BOWMAN (7): I had three drivers to choose from for my last pick in Group B. Kurt Busch ran well at Road America last year and he has had a lot of success on the road courses. He looked horrible at Sonoma and was not much better at COTA so I faded him. Chris Buescher should be the pick here but I do not have the guts to pull the trigger. Buescher nearly won the race at Sonoma. Instead, I will play it safe and use Bowman. He finished second at COTA and his average finishing position in his last 15 road courses races is 11th. That is a lot of consistency over a long period of time. Bowman should finish in the the top-10 Sunday.

GROUP B DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Ross Chastain 2) Christopher Bell 3) Tyler Reddick 4) Alex Bowman 5) Joey Logano 6) Chase Briscoe 7) Kurt Busch 8) Chris Buescher 9) William Byron 10). Brad Keselowski



AJ ALLMENDINGER (7): I will take the free bonus points for qualifying from Allmendinger and pray he has a clean race. Allmendinger is almost a lock to qualify in the top five. How will his car hold up over 62 laps? I hope he doesn’t over drive the car. Allmendinger has a win at Road America in the Xfinity Series and he may have two wins after the Xfinity Series race Saturday. I will take another shot with Allmendinger Sunday.

* If you want to play it safe, use Michael McDowell over Allmendinger. Daniel Suarez is also a great pick but you need to save your allocations with the No. 99 car for the oval tracks.

AUSTIN CINDRIC (4): I will have Cindric on my team as an insurance policy this week. He has been a lot more consistent than AJ Allmendinger on the road courses. Cindric finished fifth at Sonoma and eighth at COTA this year. Cindric was running in the top-five at Road America when he had a rear gear go out in his car. I may use him in my starting lineup if Cindric looks as fast at Allmendinger in practice and qualifying this weekend.

GROUP C DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) AJ Allmendinger 2) Austin Cindric 3) Daniel Suarez 4) Michael McDowell 5) Erik Jones

* Be sure to check back Saturday evening for my starting lineup for the Driver Group Game.


Good Luck This Week!

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