NASCAR Cup Series Season Takes a Turn on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

With just three races left in the regular season the tensions are high for many of the competitors not locked into the Playoffs as the NASCAR Cup Series returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 13 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, IMS Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) has existed since 1909, and is considered the original “Speedway”, the first racing facility to incorporate the word into its name. With a permanent seating capacity for more than 250,000-plus people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000, it is considered the largest and highest-capacity sporting facility in history. 

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course was completed in 2000 and it incorporates part of the famous four-turn oval. The original length upon completion of the road course measured 2.605-miles. In 2008, and again in 2014, the road course layout was modified to improve competition. This weekend’s event will compete on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile paved version of the road course.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (oval) was August 6, 1994. Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet) won the inaugural event at the 2.5-mile speedway. The NASCAR Cup Series made its historical debut on the 14-Turn, 2.439-mile asphalt paved road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2021 with 40 competitors battling it out for 200 miles (82 laps).

It was Kaulig Racing’s road course ace, A.J. Allmendinger, who knabbed the checkered flag in the inaugural event, by passing Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and leading just the final two laps en route to the victory.

Then last season’s race on the Indianapolis Road Course was just as exciting as the first, with nine lead changes and Tyler Reddick, then driving for Richard Childress Racing, taking the victory by 1.065-second over Austin Cindric in Overtime.

This weekend’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard is scheduled for 82 total laps and will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 15 laps, the second will be 20 laps and the final stage will be 47 laps. All the on-track NASCAR Cup Series activity will begin with practice directly followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET. Both events will be streamed on the NBC Sports App (Peacock).

Playoff Streaks In Jeopardy: Several drivers need to win to get into the postseason

Looking at the NASCAR Cup Series 2023 Playoff standings outlook, several big names are below the cut line and with just three races left in the regular season the pressure to earn a spot in the postseason is mounting.

Rolling into this weekend at Indianapolis, three former NASCAR Cup Series champions – Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott, another eight former Playoff drivers – Michael McDowell, Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman, Austin Cindric, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon and Chase Briscoe, plus another three former Cup Series winners – Bubba Wallace, A.J. Allmendinger, and Justin Haley make up the 20-driver field of eligible competitors still looking for a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series 2023 Playoffs.

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