Written by Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri
Chris Buescher held off another charging Toyota driver, this time being Martin Truex Jr, and secured the first back-to-back of the season. In the final race before returning to Daytona Beach, the field will be racing at the infamous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but around the road course, as they did in the past few years. In a track filled with chaos and incidents, who will cross the yard of bricks first?
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The road course layout is 2.44 miles (3.93 kilometres) long, comprising 14 turns around the track. The drivers will race around the course for 82 laps, in about 200 miles of racing. Since this is a road course, there will be no stage breaks, which will mostly emphasise the importance of pit stop strategies.
The course runs clockwise, with a run down the main straight to a right-left chicane in turns one and two, then a medium right down turn three leads to a sharp right on turn 4. A short run down to yet another chicane, this time left and right into turns five and six leads onto the long back straight. The consecutive left-right-left 90-degree turns for seven, eight and nine make for a tough challenge to the drivers. Following this section is the fast turn ten, leading to a long right turn eleven. After a chicane at turns twelve and thirteen, a final long right turn brings the racers back to the start-finish line, for a lap around the celebrated circuit.
In the two instances of the race taking place, it was AJ Allmendinger and Tyler Reddick winning in 2021 and 2022 respectively. The weather report shows that there could be thunderstorms on Saturday, while the skies will be mostly clear for the rest of the weekend. The race is set to commence at 14:30 ET (11:30 PT, 20:30 CEST).
The top favourites for this race include the regular road course winners this season, Martin Truex Jr. and Tyler Reddick. The Toyota cars have been some of the strongest on the grid this season, dominating all of the road course races. Martin Truex has shown no signs of slowing down after signing a contract extension with JGR, leading the regular season championship by a staggering 96 points. On the other hand, Tyler Reddick has been outperforming his teammate Bubba Wallace, in a young and hungry 23XI Racing team. As two of the best road course drivers on the grid, they are expected to be with the front runners, if not leading.
Another huge favourite comes as a surprise, as Shane Van Gisbergen holds the third highest odds out of all Chevrolet drivers. After winning the first-ever street race in NASCAR history, he will return at the Indy Road Course. Can the three-time do it again in Indianapolis? The answers lie in waiting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.