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In 1956, what is known today as the NASCAR Cup Series visited Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin to compete at what is known as Road America — a road course well-known to several racing circuits. This weekend, the Cup Series returns for the first time in 65 years for the Jockey Made in America 250 Presented by Kwik Trip (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
NASCAR Hall of Famer Tim Flock won that road-course race that day, and it would be his last NASCAR victory of a storied career. He won 39 races in the Cup Series and won two season championships. Fellow NASCAR Hall of Famers and racing pioneers Junior Johnson, Lee Petty, Fireball Roberts, Joe Weatherly, Rex White, and Curtis Turner — among others — were in the field that day.
The Cup Series paychecks are a tad bit better these days. So who tops the NASCAR racing odds this weekend, and what is going to happen? We discuss the contenders below with odds as of Saturday afternoon.
THE ODDS-ON FAVORITE
Chase Elliott (+300)
For once, Kyle Larson (+300) isn‘t dominating this category, right? By Saturday after practice, though, Larson was a co-favorite.
Road courses are a special place for Chase Elliott. And his Hall of Fame daddy — Awesome Bill from Dawsonville, Bill Elliott — he was pretty good at these rare venues, too. At least they were rare when Bill raced.
Chase has nabbed six of his 12 NASCAR Cup Series wins on road courses, thus his standing heading into this weekend. In 15 career road-course races in the Cup Series, he has eight top-five finishes. It‘s an incredible stat and explains why he tops the NASCAR betting odds going into this weekend.
OTHERS: Larson (+300) has proven he can win on any style track. It only makes sense he‘s near the top. He‘s been nearly untouchable the past month (year?).
Martin Truex, Jr. (+850) is third in the odds and has an impressive record on road courses, winning four races in the Cup Series and finishing in the top 10 more than half the time he‘s raced on tracks of this genre. This is clearly a niche for stock-car racers, and Truex is one of the best. And Kyle Busch (+1200) is always a threat, anywhere. Who are we kidding? No need to elaborate.
THE DARK HORSE THREAT
AJ Allmendinger (+2000)
The Road America course in Elkhart Lake has been a racing playground for A.J. Allmendinger for nearly 15 years. While many of the NASCAR Cup Series regulars haven‘t been here — or if they have, it was years ago in a lesser series — Allmendinger has gotten it done.
Allmendinger has won here in diverse series (Xfinity Series 2013, Cart/CCWS in 2006). There‘s a reason he‘s No. 7 (tied) this week in the NASCAR odds, even though he‘s not in elite equipment.
The man can wheel a car around this Wisconsin-based track. Folks might be sick of him being brought up every time there‘s a road-course race, but let‘s face it? While several Cup Series drivers quietly loathe these tracks, Allmendinger salivates when he sees them on the calendar.
THE INTRIGUING LONG SHOT
Christopher Bell (+2500)
This young man won the Xfinity Series race here at Elkhart Lake in 2019. He won the Daytona Road Course race earlier this year and has been an understudy of Kyle Busch, who has won everywhere.
Bell has posted top-five finishes in the Cup or Xfinity Series at five different road-course venues: Daytona, Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, Charlotte … and Road America.