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The NASCAR Cup series takes on its third road course of the season this weekend in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., at the demanding Road America circuit. The Kwik Trip 250 presented by JOCKEY Made In America, in addition to being a mouthful, is the 18th of 26 races in the Cup regular season before the playoffs kick in on Labor Day weekend at Darlington.
Here's a preview of the weekend including broadcast/streaming information, track layout, best bets and more:
What is the weekend schedule and how can I watch?
Fans in the United States can watch parts of all sessions and the race on the USA network, the NBC or USA mobile apps (requires a cable or satellite subscription) or on the Peacock platform. Radio coverage is available on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM.
Practice: Saturday, July 2, 11:30 a.m. - 12:25 p.m. ET (Streaming from 11:30 a.m.; USA begins at Noon)
Qualifying: Saturday, July 2, 12:25 - 1:30 p.m. ET (USA, MRN, SiriusXM)
Kwik Trip 250: Sunday, July 3, 3 - 6 p.m. ET (USA, MRN, SiriusXM)
Who are the top drivers and best bets for Road America?
Things line up nicely for Chase Elliott heading into Elkhart Lake, where he won last year. The 2020 series champion and current points leader won last week at rain-soaked Nashville Superspeedway and has won seven road course races in 21 career starts, including a staggering six wins in 14 starts since 2019. Elliott's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson won three of the series' six road course events last year en route to the 2021 series championship.
Trackhouse Racing has won both road course races so far in 2022, with Ross Chastain (second to Elliott in driver points) claiming victory at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, in March and Daniel Suarez winning at Sonoma Raceway less than three weeks ago.
Elliott is BetMGM's overwhelming favorite for the race win with +450 odds, followed by Larson (+700), Chastain (+800), Kyle Busch (+1000) and AJ Allmendinger (+1200). Additionally, Yahoo Sports' Nick Bromberg writes that good value can be found in Christopher Bell (+1400) and Chase Briscoe (+2500). Bell finished second at Road America last year and won the Xfinity series race in 2019, while Briscoe posted three top-10 road course finishes in 2021.
What are Road America's characteristics?
Road America, built in 1955, winds around the hills and through the ravines of Kettle Moraine in eastern Wisconsin, about midway between Milwaukee and Green Bay. At 4.048 miles it is the longest circuit on the Cup series calendar, more than half a mile longer than COTA. It runs counter-clockwise with 14 turns including the the famous "carousel" — a sweeping, 240-degree downhill right-hander that puts incredible load on the the left-side tires and is a physical challenge for the drivers.
The race will run for 62 laps — two 15-lap stages and third stint of 32 laps. Last year's event, the first contested by the Cup cars since 1956, only saw four caution flags overall, three for mechanical failures (one of which coincided with a stage break) and the stage two break. Of the 40 cars that entered, 36 finished running, with 34 of those on the lead lap.
What will the weather be like for the Kwik Trip 250 weekend?
Warm and partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain Sunday. The Cup road course cars can run in light rain as they are equipped with windshield wipers and can run grooved tires, but the forecast doesn't seem to indicate it will. But, it being the midwest, rapidly changing moisture in the air can always happen.