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IMS Writers’ Roundtable, Vol. 31: Verizon 200 at the Brickyard Winner?

Today’s question: Who will win the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 15, the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course?

Curt Cavin: Like the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, which stages the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on Saturday (12:30 p.m., NBCSN), the Cup Series has a host of good, young road racers. Consider how well Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, William Byron and Tyler Reddick ran in last weekend’s race at Watkins Glen, with all six of them finishing in the top 10. But if pressed to pick one driver to win Sunday’s inaugural Cup road race at IMS, I’ll go with Elliott. His luck on the Speedway’s oval wasn’t good, but he has seven career Cup road course wins for a reason, and he impressively drove from the back to finish second to Larson at Watkins Glen.

Zach Horrall: I have to lean toward the most recent NASCAR Cup Series winner here in Kyle Larson. The Hendrick Motorsports driver seems to be good at every track he goes to these days, and even won four straight over the summer. He beat NASCAR’s road course master Chase Elliott on Sunday’s road course race at Watkins Glen, and the last time NASCAR had a new race, in Nashville, he routed the field. I think his natural talent will give him a leg up on a field that has little knowledge about this 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course.

Paul Kelly: Remember Kyle Busch? Yeah, the guy who won two straight Brickyard 400’s on the IMS oval, in 2015-16? Sure, he has won only twice this season, a down year by his lofty standards, but he has four career road course victories in points-paying Cup races. Rowdy also has finished in the top 10 in the last four Cup Series road course races this season and placed fourth last Sunday at Watkins Glen. Busch has six victories on the IMS oval since 2012 (two in Cup, four in Xfinity), and he’s way overdue for win No. 7. It will happen Sunday.

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