2 #5 Kyle Larson (9/2) - He probably should be closer to 3-to-1 odds here because he’s done nothing but dominate the short-track scene this season. How did he do at Richmond? He won after leading 93 laps. How’d he do at Martinsville? He won after leading 30 laps. How’d he do in the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro? He won after leading a race-high 145 laps. And then finally to finish off the similar track comparison, how’d he do at Phoenix back in March? He settled for fourth after leading a race-high 201 laps. I’ll have a piece of him this week.
3 #20 Christopher Bell (11/1) - He’s a 2016 Truck Series race winner at Gateway and the closest comparison to Gateway might be the 1-mile flat layout at New Hampshire which Bell happened to win at last season. He was fourth at Richmond in April after leading 26 laps and was sixth at Phoenix in March. He’s been given higher odds this week at the track he’s most suited to win at for some reason.
4 #11 Denny Hamlin (10/1) - You know how you know that Hamlin is running well despite just one win on the season? He’s led laps in his last six starts on all types of tracks. He’s showing speed in every race lately and I can see him running well like he does at Richmond where he led 71 laps. I could see him stealing this one.
5 #23 Bubba Wallace (30/1) - This is my biggest payout of the week. He’s rising with three straight top-fives, and one of them isn’t his runner-up at the non-points All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro. His team has everything dialed in and I still have no idea what Wallace said to have mild-mannered Aric Almirola shove him during a red flag last week. Bubba brings that on to himself, but I think he believes in his cockiness and attitude to give him confidence. He also won a 2014 Truck Series race at Gateway.
6 #22 Joey Logano (10/1) - He led 22 laps at Gateway last season and notched the first Cup win ever there. Another good example of why he might do well is that he was runner-up at Martinsville after leading 25 laps. He was also seventh at Richmond. This is a good track for him, but I didn’t bet him. I have to get at least 14-to-1 on him to fire.
7 #1 Ross Chastain (13/1) - He doesn’t have any wins yet in 2023 but he’s racing hard on all types of tracks and is near a win. He was seventh last season at Gateway despite getting minds games played on him by Hamlin who had a big part of having a bad race. He was third at Richmond to begin April. He also won a 2019 Truck Series race at Gateway. I have a piece of him to win this week.
8 #19 Martin Truex Jr. (8/1) - He won from the pole in a 2004 Xfinity Series race at Gateway but the reason you might bet him this week is because his JGR Toyota has been fast for the last two months and gotten better with each race. He won at Dover to kick off May, finished third at Martinsville two weeks earlier, and finished 11th at Richmond after leading 56 laps. He’ll contend for the win, but I need higher odds than Caesars offers to bet.
9 #14 Chase Briscoe (30/1) - The team has been issued an LS-level penalty for counterfeiting a NextGen part. The penalty comes with a loss of 120 drivers and owners points, 25 NASCAR Playoff points, a six-race crew chief suspension, and a $250,000 fine. It’s kind of a big deal. The question is how long they’ve been using this part and did more SHR Fords use the part. They were all really good at Martinsville. Briscoe was fourth at North Wilkesboro and fifth at Martinsville.
10 #8 Kyle Busch (10/1) - He was runner-up at Gateway last season, but that was in the JGR No. 18 Toyota. He now has to use RCR equipment that has won twice already this season. He won the 2009 Xfinity Series race at Gateway. He hasn’t fared well in the shorts tracks and 1-mile races this season, but the guy just works it. He battles. Give me 18-to-1 odds and I’d buy Busch this week.