Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Three drivers favored by Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook to win at Chicago

How about Jeff Gordon for Chase?
LAS VEGAS - Right out of the Chase gate, we get to see what driver has the upper-hand on 1.5-mile tracks, the first of five in the 10-race Sprint Cup Chase that starts Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway. If the previous six races on 1.5s this season are any indication, we should be able to narrow down the top candidates to win between two organizations - Penske Racing and Hendrick Motorsports - that have claimed all six wins.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has been running through all their data on these types of races and have come up with three drivers - Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon - as 5-to-1 co-favorites to win Sunday's 400.

Each of them have had memorable moments at Chicago as well as being dominators on 1.5-mile layouts this season. Keselowski kicked off his 2012 Cup title with a Chase win at Chicago, doing exactly what Tony Stewart did in 2011. Kevin Harvick won the first two Cup races (2001-02) ever run near the windy city (Joliet, IL). Jeff Gordon won there in 2006 and has been runner-up twice.

The big mystery here is how Jimmie Johnson has never won at Chicagoland in 12 starts. This type of layout is his bread and butter and it's always go-time when the Chase starts. He's led Chicagoland-record 537 laps, but his best finish has been runner-up three times. It's one of four tracks Johnson has yet to conquer -- Homestead, Watkins Glen and Kentucky are the others. Earlier this season, Michigan was finally crossed off his 'things to do' list after it had been avoiding him twice a year since 2002.

Johnson won one of the six 1.5-mile races at Charlotte in May and comes in at 6-to-1 odds. It looked as though he was in a slump last month as he finished 10th or worse in six straight races, but he's been ninth or better in his last four starts, including a very relevant fourth-place at Atlanta two weeks ago.

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