The Cup Series will compete at Road America this week. This is a new track for the Cup Series so that means the teams get a 50-minute practice Saturday and qualify Sunday morning. Our Driver Group Game picks must be submitted by 8 a.m. Sunday morning so that means we can use the data from practice for our picks this week.
I wanted to give you an idea of what drivers I am thinking about using this week, just in case you are not able to check the updated picks Saturday. I understand many people may have plans for the 4th of July weekend. Here are my early week picks for Road America…
Driver Group Game A Drivers
Chase Elliott (3): I have been saving my allocations with Chase Elliott for the road course and so far it has paid off. He won at Circuit of Americas and finished second at Sonoma. He has two races at Road America in the Xfinity Series on his resume. He finished fourth in both races and that was before Elliott became the best road course driver in NASCAR. The people I talked to in the garage said the most similar track to Road America is Watkins Glen. Elliott won the last two races at Watkins Glen and he is the clear favorite to win on the 4th of July.
Joey Logano (8): Martin Truex Jr. is the obvious choice to pair with Chase Elliott in Group A, but I will pivot to Joey Logano. Truex seems to be in a slump. Truex has an average finishing position of 19.5 since his win at Dover. Logano has been the second-best driver (behind Chase Elliott) on the road courses this year. Logano finished 2nd (Daytona Road Course), 3rd (Circuit of Americas) and 4th (Sonoma). He has also led laps in each road course race. Logano has now finished 5 consecutive road course races in the top-four. That is much better stats than Truex.
Driver Group Game B Drivers
* Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch are the two best choices in Group B this week. I am not going to use them because their allocations are too valuable at oval tracks.
Christopher Bell (5): Can he do it again? Christopher Bell won the road course race at the Daytona road course. He has also had a lot of success at road America. Bell went to Victory Lane in the 2019 race at Road America. Joe Gibbs Racing always brings fast cars to the road courses so it will be a good idea to have some of their drivers in your lineup. If Bell posts some fast laps in practice, he will be in my starting lineup.
Kurt Busch (5): Kurt Busch is a smart driver. He knew he was behind on points so he had to simply take care on his car and start to stockpile top-10 finishes. That is what he has done over the last month and now he is inside the cut-line for the playoffs. Busch has also been one of the best drivers on the road courses. Busch finished 4th at the Daytona Road Course and 6th at Sonoma. His average finishing position in his last six races at Watkins Glen is 7th. That should translate into a top-10 finish Sunday.
Alex Bowman (5): I hate to use an allocation with one of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers in Group B, but Alex Bowman has been too good to ignore on the road courses this year. He finished 10th at the Daytona Road Course, 8th at the Circuit of Americas and 9th at Sonoma. His average finishing position at the road courses over the last two seasons is 9th. Bowman should have a good chance to finish in the top-10 at Road America.
Tyler Reddick (8): I sure wish I could borrow a driver from Group C this week to use in Group B. There are a lot of good choices in Group C. One of the drivers I will be watching in practice is Tyler Reddick. We get qualifying points if our drivers qualify in the top 10 Saturday. Reddick won the pole for the race at the Circuit of Americas. I am hoping he can do the same. Reddick also has had some success at Road America. He finished 3rd in the Xfinity Series race in 2019. He should be a good pick if we have to use him in the race.
Driver Group Game C Drivers
AJ Allmendinger (8): I got in a debate with one of the odds makers in Las Vegas about who the best road course driver is in NASCAR. His argument is that Chase Elliott is hands down the best. It is hard to argue against Elliott’s success, but how good would AJ Allmendinger be if he drove the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports? I think he would be unbeatable. Allmendinger will once again be in the No. 16 car for Kaulig Racing. Allmendinger has won at Road America before and he could do it again Sunday.
Austin Cindric (9): Austin Cindric will be back in the No. 33 for Team Penske Sunday. He has a lot of experience at Road America and he will get even more this week since he is competing in the Xfinity and Cup Series races. That means Cindric will get two practices, two qualifying sessions and 45 laps Saturday to figure out the track. It shouldn’t take him that long to figure it out. Cindric won at Road America last year and he finished 2nd in 2019.
Chase Briscoe (8): Could this be the break out race for Chase Briscoe? He entered his rookie season with a lot of expectations but so far his 21.2 average finishing position has not be good. Briscoe should have one of his best races of the season this week. He competed in two races at Road America. He finished 7th in 2019 and 3rd last year. Briscoe has a good chance to score a top-10 finish on the 4th of July.
Driver Group Game Team
*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info…
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