NASCAR Cup Series: Verizon 200 preview, predictions and how to watch

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After Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were disqualified at Pocono, Chase Elliott took his fourth win of the season in rather controversial circumstances. Now, the NASCAR Cup Series sets its eyes on Indianapolis for the second annual Verizon 200.

INDIANAPOLIS — “1 tainted trophy and 1 used bottle of champagne.”

That was Denny Hamlin‘s caption on a Monday night tweet, accompanied by a video in which he sat at a table with the trophy and bottle of champagne that belonged to him for a few hours, Sunday. As it turned out, however, both Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch failed post-race inspection, because of an illegal piece of tape on the front fascia of both cars and were disqualified.

Despite the plentiful controversies that came with Pocono, the Cup Series rolls on, this weekend, to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for just the second time in series history. Last year, the end of the race was marred by a multiple-car crash caused by a curb malfunction. After that red flag, Chase Briscoe turned Hamlin, resulting in an eventual win for A.J. Allmendinger.

Track Preview

Sunday’s race will be split into three stages across 82 laps around the 2.4-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Originally built for Formula 1 in 2000, the IMS Road Course has 14 turns and multiple overtaking opportunities, the first of which comes at Turn 1 after drivers traverse the 5/8 mile frontstretch.

The next overtaking opportunity comes at Turn 4, a slow right-hander that feeds into the now-infamous chicane at Turns 5 and 6. Then comes the backstretch, where drivers can size up a daring move at Turn 7. Drivers then snake through the final part of the lap to get back to the frontstretch to complete the 2.4-mile lap.

Championship Standings

  1. Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports – 4 wins
  2. Ross Chastain, Team Trackhouse – 2 wins
  3. Joey Logano, Team Penske – 2 wins
  4. William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports – 2 wins
  5. Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing – 2 wins

Drivers Locked In: Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Kurt Busch

Drivers Needing a Win: Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Bubba Wallace

Race Predictions – Verizon 200

After his season-opening win at Daytona, it’s about time that Austin Cindric grabs another. It’s a decent shout considering his win in the Xfinity Series at this track last year. Following him will be Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, A.J. Allmendinger, and Kyle Larson.

  1. Austin Cindric, Team Penske
  2. Ross Chastain, Team Trackhouse
  3. Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing
  4. A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing
  5. Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports

How to Watch – All times in EST

  • Practice and Qualifying: Saturday, 7/30 – 9:3o a.m. on USA
  • Verizon 200: Sunday, 7/31 – 2 p.m. on NBC (Green flag at 2:30)

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