Sunday, December 19, 2010

Las Vegas Hilton Super Book First To Release 2011 NASCAR Championship & Daytona 500 Odds

By Micah Roberts

The Las Vegas Hilton is the state leader in offering NASCAR odds 
It’s only been a month since Jimmie Johnson claimed his fifth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship to close out the 2010 season, Christmas isn’t even here yet and the 2011 season opener at Daytona is still nearly two months away. However, the crew over at the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book hasn’t wasted any time and have posted odds on the Daytona 500 and the 2011 Season Championship before anyone else in the world.

Despite coming from behind to win the Championship in the final race last season, Jimmie Johnson is still a considerable 5-to-2 favorite to win his sixth straight title. His machine-like performance year after year in the crunch, with what figures to be the exact same team for 2011, makes him the easy choice.

Unlike years past, Johnson’s odds gap between his closest contenders isn’t as large. Denny Hamlin had the champ on the ropes, but couldn’t close it out in the final round. No one has stood toe to toe with the champ like that in any of the five title runs which is why Hamlin is the 6-to-1 second choice. Coming into the 2010 season, Hamlin was 10-to-1.

Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards figure to chase Jimmie Johnson again 
Also coming in at 6-to-1 is Carl Edwards who closed out 2010 with two straight wins after going 70 races without one. The Roush-Fenway team came on strong in the second half of the season and found the horsepower that had been eluding them on tracks that the team had typically done well at over the years. We saw last season how momentum carried over from the previous season with the Childress teams who came within 39 points of beating Johnson with Kevin Harvick. Edwards and the other Roush teams could be in a similar situation for 2011.

Harvick will have Budweiser on the hood of his No. 29 Chevy and is listed as the fourth favorite to win at 8-to-1 along with Kyle Busch. The only negative affect that could slow Harvick from repeating his 2010 form is that Childress has brought on a fourth team with Paul Menard. Perhaps it’s a mere coincidence, but none of the four Childress cars made the Chase in 2009. When Childress eliminated one team for the 2010 season, all three drivers made the Chase.

Kyle Busch is the driver many point to as the one who could overtake Johnson, but the main component in Johnson’s success is something Busch has yet to figure out, consistency. Busch had three wins in 2010 with 10 top-five finishes, but couldn’t put together strong runs for long stretches at a time like Johnson, Harvick and Hamlin did all season, a story that has seemed to plague Busch for his entire career.

Jeff Gordon has gone 65 races without a win, but his consistency throughout gives him immense respect with the Hilton which is why he is 10-to-1. Last season he was fourth in the series with 11 top-five finishes. Coming into this season Gordon has quite a few changes that could lead to improvements. Not only will Dupont only be the primary sponosr for just 14 races this season, but in the Hendrick Motorsports crew shuffle, Gordon gets Alan Gustafson who worked with Mark Martin and Kyle Busch in the past.

Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr could be nice long shots
An interesting long shot choice is Jamie McMurray at 40-to-1 who had three wins with 9 top-five finishes in 2010. The horsepower is there, as is McMurray’s ability, but much like Busch, couldn’t put together a string of good runs.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is listed at 50-to-1 and gets an early boost with a fresh face overseeing the No. 88 car with Steve Letarte taking over crew chief duties. At no time in Junior’s career has his pre-season championship odds been as high as they are this year. The main positive for the No. 88 team this year is sharing garages with Johnson’s team. Ever since Johnson came into the series, it was Gordon’s team that shared garages with the No. 48. Letarte won’t even have to change his office with the switch and has a great relationship with Chad Knaus. Because of information being shared more due to the close proximity, look for Junior to have his best season while at HMS.

The Las Vegas Hilton Super Book has become the clear leader in Las Vegas for auto racing odds. Not only do they offer a multitude of weekly propositions for each Cup race, but they also carry the weekly Nationwide and Camping World Series odds as well. In addition to NASCAR, the Hilton also offers weekly Indy Racing and Formula-1 odds, a package of odds that no sports book in the state offers.

Odds to win 2011 Sprint Cup Championship
Jimmie Johnson 5/2
Denny Hamlin 6/1
Carl Edwards 6/1
Kevin Harvick 8/1
Kyle Busch 8/1
Jeff Gordon 10/1
Greg Biffle 10/1
Tony Stewart 12/1
Matt Kenseth 12/1
Clint Bowyer 18/1
Kurt Busch 18/1
Mark Martin 20/1
Joey Logano 30/1
Jeff Burton 30/1
Juan Pablo Montoya 30/1
Kasey Kahne 40/1
Jamie McMurray 40/1
Ryan Newman 50/1
Brian Vickers 50/1
David Reutimann 50/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 50/1
A.J. Allmendinger 100/1
Martin Truex Jr. 100/1
Paul Menard 100/1
David Ragan 100/1
Brad Keselowski 300/1
Marcos Ambrose 500/1
Field (All Others) 100/1

Odds to Win 2011 Daytona 500
Jimmie Johnson 10/1
Denny Hamlin 15/1
Carl Edwards 15/1
Kyle Busch 8/1
Jeff Gordon 12/1
Greg Biffle 30/1
Kevin Harvick 6/1
Tony Stewart 8/1
Matt Kenseth 30/1
Clint Bowyer 12/1
Kurt Busch 15/1
Mark Martin 20/1
Joey Logano 20/1
Jeff Burton 25/1
Juan Pablo Montoya 20/1
Kasey Kahne 30/1
Jamie McMurray 10/1
Ryan Newman 30/1
Brian Vickers 30/1
David Reutimann 30/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 12/1
A.J. Allmendinger 40/1
Martin Truex Jr. 30/1
Paul Menard 30/1
David Ragan 30/1
Brad Keselowski 50/1
Marcos Ambrose 601
Regan Smith 100/1
Bobby Labonte 100/1
Field (All Others) 25/1

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Test Session Confirms Goodyear Tire Compound for 2011 Daytona 500

Trevor Bayne, Brad Keselowski and Jeff Burton Test Tires at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 16, 2010) – As sunshine warmed Daytona International Speedway’s new racing surface on Thursday, so did the expectations and excitement levels for the 53rd Daytona 500 on Feb. 20.

Thursday marked the second day of a two-day Goodyear tire test in preparation both for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ traditional season-opening event and the track’s new asphalt.

The repaving project – only the second in track history and first since 1978 – began immediately after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event on July 3 and ended last week. With this week’s test open to all series teams, a number took advantage, filling the frontstretch side of the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage with their haulers.

“I think it has gone really well,” said Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet). “Everybody is happy with the surface. The tire combination seems to be really good.”

“It's just a new attitude,” said Kurt Busch (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge). “This is what 2011 will bring to start off our Sprint Cup season. Big, exciting time. I'm proud to be able to say I got a chance to race on the surface when it was redone.”

Jeff Burton and Kurt Busch answer media questions
Busch and Burton, along with reigning Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) and Bobby Labonte (No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota) all visited the infield media center during Thursday’s lunch break. NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton, Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III and Goodyear Director of Racing Greg Stucker also participated in the midday press conference.

“Good communication all along between the folks here at Daytona, Joie, Goodyear, the race teams, the series directors, everybody that had input,” Pemberton said. “It's nice to know you can show up at one of these things, have so many different things that we faced and challenges over the last year to get ready for this. Looks like the plan came together nicely.”

Burton was heartened that Daytona’s repave – while cutting-edge – respected the venue. He cited the 2007 repave at another historic NASCAR venue, Darlington Raceway, as a positive example.

“It's much smoother, has a tremendous amount more grip, but it's still Daytona,” Burton said. “They didn't try to change the banking from the bottom to the top, do all that stuff. They just kept Daytona and put pavement on it. I'm glad that's what they did.”

Although the focus remains on the racing surface, McMurray noted details like a wider pit road.

“They did a really good job, not only on the racetrack, but widening pit road,” he said. “It's really nice to get that little bit of extra room on pit road. Pit road speeds are really fast when you come to [restrictor] plate tracks. Typically we have the smallest brakes on the car that we run all year long, so pit road is also trouble. So the fact they widened that 10 or 12 feet is really nice.”

Media and fan interest also is accelerated. A portion of Daytona’s grandstands was open for public viewing both Wednesday and Thursday and television cameras weren’t the only ones being wielded.

“It's real important,” Labonte said of public and media fanfare. “They have a section open for the fans. They can come down here and see us drafting. I'm sure they've got their cameras out showing video to their buddies now on who-knows-where it's all at. It's the first time we've been to the new facility. That's exciting.”

It’s worth noting that this week’s test was confirmation, not a search process. Stucker said a tight calendar meant Goodyear officials did the bulk of their compound research testing at Daytona’s sister track, Talladega Superspeedway, also the only other restrictor-plate track on NASCAR’s three national series’ calendars.
Drivers, teams and track and NASCAR officials all draw natural comparisons off Talladega, which was repaved prior to its fall 2006 event. The completion of a test asphalt strip at Daytona allowed Goodyear officials to gather additional data, which Stucker said was compared to August’s test results at Talladega.

“We're well into production for the 500,” Stucker said. “In fact, we're just about done. We've come down here and really confirmed that all those decisions we made were the right ones. Very glad to hear that all the guys are comfortable with our setup and really everything we've seen so far has been very good from our perspective, very consistent, a lot of good comments from the drivers.”

Chitwood said the repaving project only enhances the allure of the Daytona 500.

I think when we market Daytona, we market the fact that this is the biggest event we have on the calendar,” he said. “This is how you make NASCAR stars – you win the Daytona 500. It's going to be a great surface out there for all of them to put on a great show.”

NOTE: The next on-track activity for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be January’s three-day test at Daytona. The session, known as NASCAR Preseason Thunder, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20 through Saturday, Jan. 22. Sunday, Jan. 23 is the rain date.

Kurt Busch and Casey Mears during the test session
The 2011 edition of NASCAR Preseason Thunder will help teams further acclimate to the new pavement, plus speed their preparation for the 53rd Daytona 500 on Feb. 20.

All NASCAR Preseason Thunder sessions begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m., weather permitting. Each includes a lunch break from noon until 1 p.m.

Attending media will have daily interview opportunities in the media center.

Fans seeking to rev up their new year can do so at the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona – the companion event to the January test. Along with watching NASCAR Preseason Thunder track activity, fans can enjoy three Fan Fest sessions in Dayton’s Sprint FANZONE – from 5-7 p.m., and 7-9 p.m., on Friday, Jan. 21 and from 5-7 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Driver question-and-answer and autograph sessions are planned. Fans also can watch each day’s testing at no cost, beginning at 9 a.m.

- NASCAR Press Release

Friday, December 17, 2010

2011 Daytona 500 and Sprint Cup Championship Odds From Las Vegas Posted This Weekend

We'll have a full layout of next years NASCAR odds this weekend from the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book who have become the clear leader in auto racing odds around town. Guess who will be favored to win the title? A much more difficult task will be guessing who is the favorite to win at Daytona.

Looking forward to hearing people's thoughts on who will win it all after witnessing such a great Chase for the Championship in 2010. Will Denny Hamlin be ready to take over, or is the sour defeat a lasting downer? Will Kyle Busch's Cup potential ever come to fruition, or will he continue to show up for only half the races? How about Carl Edwards; can he keep the late Chase momentum going and contend like he did in 2008?

All the clues to the answers won't be known until at least a quarter of the season has passed, but it's always fun to put your money where your mouth, or heart, is early to prove you knew it along.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

NASCAR Champions Week in Las Vegas: Drivers Play Family Feud

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 1, 2010) – Survey says: Kyle Busch.
Kyle Busch says…Kyle Busch.
Day 2 of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week featured a day-long fan-friendly event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway dubbed “Chasers for Charity.” The highlight was a NASCAR version of the popular TV game show “The Family Feud.”
And hometown boy Kyle Busch stole the show early, correctly guessing ‘himself’ as the answer to this question: “What driver would you least like to have racing your driver for the win on the final lap?”
Hosted by comedian Kevin Burke, the top-12 drivers in the final series points standings, split into two teams, battled for survey supremacy. Through the track’s website and social media outlets, fans answered a number of questions, with the top-five answers to each put ‘on the board.’
Totaling a combined 13 series championships, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick made up one team. The other squad featured Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton.
Go figure – Team Hamlin, the roster with zero NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, easily bagged the Family Feud title, 400-99.
A sampling of the questions, all of which were NASCAR-themed:
-        “Name a famous finish in NASCAR history.” (No. 1 answer: Darlington, 2003 – closest finish in history, between Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven)
-        “Which driver do most media people enjoy interviewing?” (No. 1 answer: Jeff Burton)
-        “Which NASCAR driver would be most suitable to appear on The Bachelor?” (No. 1 answer: Kasey Kahne)
-        “Name the non-Chase driver who has the best chance of making the Chase next year.” (No. 1 answer: Jamie McMurray)
-        “Which driver from the past would you most like to drive one of your cars today?” (No. 1 answer: Dale Earnhardt)
The game show capped off a number of festivities held throughout the day.
Earlier, the track held a celebrity go-kart race featuring Raybestos Rookie of the Year Kevin Conway, comedians Carrot Top and Kevin Burke and San Francisco Giants centerfielder Aaron Rowand. Predictably, Conway – the ringer of the group – won.
Some of the other activities held in the track’s famed Neon Garage: live music, autograph sessions and a question and answer session with SPEED personalities Krista Voda and Larry McReynolds.
Additionally, the Richard Petty Experience offered rides around the track and charity memorabilia auctions were held throughout the day, with proceeds going to Speedway Children’s Charities.
For the second-consecutive year, Las Vegas hosts the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week, culminating with Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas.
SPEED, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio will broadcast the event, live at 9 p.m. ET.
Following is a complete rundown of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week activities.
Thursday, Dec. 2
·   NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: This annual industry/media event begins at 11 a.m., in the Bellagio Ballroom at the Bellagio and includes presentations to the Champion Crew Chief, Champion Sponsor, Raybestos Rookie of the Year and Most Popular Driver. Fans have the opportunity to attend for the first time. It is co-hosted by NASCAR and the National Motor Sports Press Association.
·   Victory Lap: Set for 3:30 p.m., the top-12 drivers will motor down the famed Las Vegas Strip in their respective race cars. Expect an authentic pit stop along the route and two burn-out sections for drivers. Victory Lap begins in front of Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino and ends at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Prior to Victory Lap at 3 p.m., Johnson will receive the Key to the City of Las Vegas from Mayor Oscar Goodmanand Commissioner Tom Collins. Commissioner Collins also will present a Proclamation recognizing Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 as Jimmie Johnson Day.
·   “NASCAR After The Lap, Made Possible By Coca-Cola and Ford”: This free fan event starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and features a question-and-answer session with drivers and an interactive Coca-Cola Fan Zone experience. Select fans will win NASCAR-themed prizes, including a 2011 Ford Taurus SHO. The Coca-Cola Fan Zone opens at noon, with doors to NASCAR After The Lap opening at 3 p.m. General admission seats are free, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Register for tickets at
Friday, Dec. 3
2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony: The big show starts at 6 p.m. (9 p.m. ET), crowning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver and owner and honoring the other drivers who finished in the top 10 in the final series standings. The star-studded entertainment lineup for the ceremony includes country rockers Rascal Flatts,comedic host Frank Caliendo, country singer Martina McBride, singer Colbie Caillat and a performance from the Las Vegas show “Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil.” A Sam Bass custom designed Gibson Les Paul guitar being played by Rascal Flatts and signed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and the band will be auctioned to support the NASCAR Foundation beginning Friday, Dec. 3 at

- NASCAR Press Release