Tuesday, August 20, 2013

LVH posts Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson co-favorites to win at Bristol

Kyle Busch is as good as it gets at Bristol with 5 career wins
Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch have been posted as 5-to-1 co-favorites by the LVH SuperBook to win Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the fastest half-mile track in the world.

As if the tension wasn’t great enough for a few drivers vying for one of the remaining 11 spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, now they get placed in gridlock -- bumper to bumper -- for 500 laps, and inevitably tempers flare. With only three races to go until NASCAR’s version of the playoffs begin, this race will be about who keeps their cool, and who is willing to go all-out and ruffle some feathers to gain every position possible.

Johnson is the only driver to have clinched a postseason berth thus far, and it’s a bit surprising to see him at the top of the oddsboard along with Bristol heavyweight Kyle Busch. But perhaps Johnson’s short odds are more a matter of him being one of the few guys who has nothing to lose, but everything to gain. He’s only won once at Bristol (2010) in 23 career starts, but he can further separate himself from Matt Kenseth, who also has four wins on the season, by gaining Chase bonus points with a win.

As for Kyle Busch, he falls into a long line of NASCAR greats who have dominated Bristol. Twelve drivers have won back-to-back races at Bristol, and he’s done it twice. Overall, he has five wins with a 9.8 average finish in 17 starts, but he hasn’t won there in his past four attempts. In the first race held there this season on March 17, Busch led twice for 56 laps before settling for second behind Kasey Kahne.

Kahne, Kenseth and Brad Keselowski all come in at 8-to-1 odds this week. Kahne had some rough outings at Bristol early in his career under the old, one-groove layout of the track, but has been very good lately with finishes of 11th or better in his past six starts, including his first win there in the spring.

Kenseth is a two-time winner, the last coming in 2006, but has had two poor finishes in a row there. In his final Bristol attempt with Roush-Fenway last season, he was 25th, and in his first outing with Joe Gibbs Racing, he was 35th. But in the March race, he ran very well, leading 85 laps in the middle of the race before getting tangled up with Jeff Gordon in an accident with 98 laps remaining.

Keselowski was the 12th driver to win back-to-back races at Bristol, doing so in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012. He has the perfect attitude it takes to be successful at Bristol like all the greats before him, and while he has to be careful of his points status right now because of not having any wins on the season, he’s not the type of driver to back down when the moment presents itself. Of all the drivers trying to maintain a good finish position for their Chase chances -- drivers who should be playing it safe -- Keselowski would be the one we could see mixing it up late with little regard for points. He finished third in the spring race.

Clint Bowyer comes in next at 10-to-1 odds, and while he’s never won at Bristol -- nor does he have a win on the season -- he’s been very consistent at Thunder Valley. He’s finished seventh or better in his last three starts, including fifth in the spring race.

Kurt Busch has been flying up the standings, all the way to ninth, but is still searching for his first win of the season. He has 11 top-10 finishes on the season and has finished third in two of his last three starts. In the first Bristol race, he finished fourth, which wasn't surprising considering he’s a five-time winner and one of the 12 drivers in history to win back-to-back events (2003). His last win there came in 2006, but his current form and past success make it easy to see why he’s 12-to-1 this week.

Although out of the Chase this season, Denny Hamlin is a driver to take serious notice of this week at 15-to-1 odds. He doesn’t have to worry about anything and can race as hard as he wants to. He won this race last season and led twice for 117 laps before settling for 23rd in the spring.

Part of the reason Hamlin had to miss five races this season is because of what occurred in that Bristol race when Hamlin intentionally punted Joey Logano. The two former teammates got into a heated exchange after the race -- much to the delight of the crowd -- and it carried over into the next race at Fontana, where Logano retaliated at speeds much higher than Bristol, resulting in Hamlin hitting the wall violently, injuring his back and effectively ruining his season. A win here could salvage at least something in 2013 for Hamlin.

Read More Here.......LVH Super Book Bristol Odds to Win

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