Scott McLaughlin

Today’s question: Which current NASCAR driver would you like to see race in the Gallagher Grand Prix NTT INDYCAR SERIES race Saturday, Aug. 12 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and which NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver would you like to see race in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday, Aug. 13 at IMS?

Curt Cavin: Let’s start by ruling out Kyle Larson since we will see him in next year’s Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. As for INDYCAR SERIES drivers in a Cup car, I’ve always wanted Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon to get their shot at the Daytona 500, and I continue to want that. But for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on the road course, let’s go with Josef Newgarden, who could easily step into an extra car of Team Penske and show the best stock car drivers a thing or two as AJ Allmendinger routinely does. Going the other way, let’s make it a clean Team Penske swap: Let’s let Austin Cindric continue to realize his dreams here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He won an Xfinity Series race here in 2021, and Sunday will mark his third Cup race at the Brickyard after finishing ninth in ’21 and second last year. What’s next? This road course in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. And then, in a couple of years, suit him up for the “500.”

Joey Barnes: I don’t know how anyone doesn’t go with the most obvious choice of Scott McLaughlin making as the main INDYCAR SERIES guy getting a one-off in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on the IMS road course. A three-time Australian Supercars champion and 2019 winner of the Bathurst 1000 prior to joining the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Kiwi would be the one guy that could make an instant impact, in my opinion. McLaughlin is someone that I firmly believe could deliver a similar performance to fellow countryman Shane van Gisbergen – another three-time Supercars champion that holds two Bathurst 1000 victories – accomplished last month by winning in his NASCAR Cup Series debut on the streets of Chicago. If Roger Penske allowed McLaughlin the chance, there would be fireworks and plenty of fender banging from this fan favorite. As far which full-time Cup driver I’d like to see give it a go in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for the Brickyard weekend, I keep leaning toward Christopher Bell. He has been strong this season, with consistency the key to sitting fourth in the regular-season standings and projected to be seventh at the start of the playoffs. He has always put in respectable performance on road courses and has a knack for adapting. Even more, though, is Bell’s background isn’t far off from Kyle Larson’s, having earned three victories in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. So, put him in an INDYCAR SERIES ride and let him get a feel for it before bringing him back next May for a shot at the Indianapolis 500, where maybe he and Larson can duel for the grandest victory in all of motorsports.

Paul Kelly: I’ve wanted to see Kyle Busch in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car since his older brother, Kurt, raced in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Nothing has reduced that desire over the last nine years, as “Rowdy” has the raw talent and speed to adapt quickly to the demands of a rear-engine formula car that’s far lighter and far more reliant on aerodynamics than a Cup Series car. It also would be curious to see if there really is something in the water in Australian racing, with Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen stunning the INDYCAR world with a debut win just like he did to NASCAR Nation by winning the July 4 weekend inaugural street race in Chicago. Still, give me Rowdy. As for NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers crossing over to the Cup Series at IMS, I’d like to see Pato O’Ward give NASCAR a try. O’Ward can control a sliding car with his quick hands as well or better than anyone in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, and he would live on the edge of a lightning bolt often in the heavier, less grippy Cup cars. Pato trading paint with NASCAR’s best would be boffo box office, and I bet he would love it. Bring it for this special weekend in global motorsports.