What a week of NASCAR we had in Pocono and already we’re onto the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard. The Indy road course is back. So, let’s put all of that Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing drama behind us and focus on what’s ahead. The NASCAR favorites for this week are some of those familiar names we’ve seen this year.
Elliott Leads NASCAR Favorites
This season has been full of surprises. One of those surprises has been how successful first-time winners have been at road courses this season. In the three previous road course races, a first-time Cup Series winner took the checkered flag each time. Ross Chastain at COTA, Daniel Suárez at Sonoma, and Tyler Reddick at Road America.
So, is that what we’re going to see here? Well, Vegas doesn’t seem to think so. Right at the top of the odds, NASCAR points leader Chase Elliott leads the list of favorites. 4-1 odds to win at Indy, and Chase leads just ahead of 2021 Cup Series champion Kyle Larson at 13-2 odds.
Of course, there’s Ross Chastain close by at 8-1 odds. He has finishes of P1, P7, and P4 in the Cup Series this year at the road courses. Not a bad record. Funnily enough, right behind Chastain are the other two road course winners. Both his Trackhouse Racing teammate Suárez, as well as Reddick are set at 12-1 odds to open the week.
But, what about our chance of seeing another first-time winner crossing the line in P1? Well, there’s one name that comes to mind and he’s a longshot.
Can the Rookie Get it Done at Indy?
How about this name for you, Outsiders? Harrison Burton. The No. 21 rookie driver for Wood Brothers Racing hasn’t had a great season to start his career. But, rookies aren’t expected to do great things all the time in NASCAR. He has a top-10 finish on the season and will look to close things out strong.
He’s finished P17, P28, and P22 this season on the road courses. Vegas has him as a 500-1 longshot. However, based on what we’ve seen this season — why not? There aren’t many more drivers that haven’t won a race in their Cup Series career left out there. It feels like Burton would be at the top of the favorites out of the NASCAR drivers without a checkered flag.
This is something that likely won’t happen, but if you are one to believe in those sorts of things – it feels like the most obvious answer. Perhaps road course driver Joey Hand can get it done on Sunday. However, I think this Indy race might be going to one of the odds-on-favorites.