Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Denny Hamlin ready to roll in 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. His back feels as good as it ever has.

His confidence never will waver.

And Denny Hamlin and his team managed to maneuver through the minefield of the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2014 to reach the last race of the season as one of the final four competing for the championship.

Based on all that, Hamlin’s optimism for 2015 should be as high as his No. 11 FedEx Toyota is fast.

Well, maybe that’s not the best analogy. Compared to how fast cars go on the highway, Hamlin was pretty fast last season.

Compared to how the rest of the cars on the Sprint Cup circuit moved last season, Hamlin, and his teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing, were straining to keep pace.

Hamlin, 34, is nothing if not honest. He’s first to say his car lacked speed in 2014. And as he has gotten older, he has tempered his optimism with realism.

“I’m as optimistic this time of the year as I have been any year,” Hamlin said during his interview session at the NASCAR Media Tour on Monday. “I’m no hungrier. I’m too competitive to be lackadaisical.

“We had a lackluster year (in 2014), but still made it as far as we did. I thought last year we ran as bad as we possibly could given the organization we’re with. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement, and I think that will change this year.”

Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the powers in NASCAR.

Read More Here.....Richmond Times-Dispatch

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Who will win 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Title?

Jeff Gordon makes final drive for 5 this year
LAS VEGAS -- Let's take a look at some of the odds being offered around Las Vegas sports books on who will win the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. We posted six sports books and five of those sports books have six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as the favorite, while MGM Resorts has Kevin Harvick listed as theirs.

The idea that Johnson should win his record-tying seventh Sprint Cup is an easy notion to accept because he's had the edge with Hendrick Motorsports being ahead of the curve every time change occurs with the cars. This year there are up to five dozen changes to the rules package. The MGM books are offering 7-to-1 odds on Johnson, which is the highest in town.

The worst part about playing the waiting game for some kind of racing action -- remember, no Daytona preseason testing this year -- is that our first real nose-dive into the 2015 season kind of hit us all unguarded. When I got the press release last Thursday morning that 'Jeff Gordon would run his final full-time NASCAR season in 2015' it kind of hit me hard in the gut.

More than anything, it seemed like a wake-up call that time is flying by. Gordon turns 44 in August. I'll be 45 in May, and it seems almost like yesterday he won at Indy for the first time. Gordon took NASCAR to new places all over the West Coast with his popularity, which eventually included getting us a Cup race in Las Vegas, and that, in-turn, helped propel betting to new heights.

Daytona 500 odds: Micah Roberts discusses Vegas' best values

When Gordon made his Cup debut in the 1992 season finale at Atlanta -- the same race in which Richard Petty said goodbye -- there weren't sports books carrying odds on every race. The Daytona 500 was always up, but some of the other races never saw an odds board. Gordon's inaugural Brickyard 400 win in 1994 really sent a shock wave out to the West Coast that was felt by many. People out here wanted to watch more races and they also wanted to bet on them.

I was fortunate to have been with a sports book that wanted to offer odds on every Cup race and I got authority to play around with the numbers, so went I went all in with efforts (read magazines and newspapers daily) and later started posting props and different types of ways to wager on a race box score. By the time the Fontana Cup race came in 1997 and Vegas Cup race the year after, we had some seasoned fans out west that turned out to be good bettors as well. Many of them were fired up Jeff Gordon fans rooting for the Vallejo, Ca. kid. 

Hendrick cars should be most consistent throughout 2015

Jeff Gordon makes his final full season run in 2015

Last season there were six drivers that accumulated 28 of the 36 wins, and yet in the final stage of the Chase at Homestead it was Ryan Newman, who didn’t win a single race in 2014, that was two laps away from winning the Sprint Cup Championship.

Denny Hamlin with only one win on the year was leading with seven laps to go. So as we look at odds to win the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup, there’s a lot more to think about than ever before.

In addition to the pitfalls of the Chase where 16 drivers are eliminated in each three-race stage before the final-four duel it out in Homestead, you’ve also got to wonder how the five dozen changes to the 2015 rules package is going to affect the speed of each team.

Racing will surely be different from last season just because the horsepower has been reduced significantly from 850 down to 725. Don’t expect to see any track records broken during qualifying this season.

Whenever there has been any change to cars, the safest bet has been to assume Hendrick Motorsports will have the immediate edge, which is part of the reason Jimmie Johnson (9/2) is favored at most Las Vegas sports books to win the 2015 title.

The six-time champ will be looking to tie Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most Cup Championships all-time and his stellar crew always finds an advantage before others catch on.

But while that strategy has worked in the past where the car was good over the long haul has changed now because of the Chase format. It pays better to fast on the short term because if you win, you advance. Kevin Harvick (6/1) had the best car on the track in at least half the races last season, but had plenty of poor finishes and errors as well. They only won three times in the first 34, but advanced by winning race No. 35 at Phoenix and then won at Homestead.

Brad Keselowski (7/1) won a series leading six races in 2014, but didn’t make it to the final stage. Nor did Jeff Gordon (6/1) or Dale Earnhardt Jr. (15/1) who won four races each. Joey Logano (8/1) had five wins last year and made the Championship round, but finished 16th at Homestead.

So with the small sample size of the Chase and the unknown of how the cars are going to run – no pre-season testing, there aren’t many drivers you can discount like we used to in the past. Paul Menard at 200-1 to win the title used to sound ridiculous, but after seeing his teammate Newman restart with two laps to go at Homestead, you start to believe the wild possibilities that could occur.

It is my belief, and a few others within the garages, that Hendrick Motorsports will be the team quickest out of the gate. That means Johnson, Gordon, Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne could present value in individual races, but what about the title?

Gordon will be making his final full season run in NASCAR this year and what a story it would be if he could win his fifth championship, and if you’ve been reading my NASCAR stuff here for the past 20 years, you know I’m a sucker for the dramatic. Judging by bets being taken in at the books so far, they are feeling Gordon 2015 as well.

“We’ve got twice as many bets on Jeff Gordon to win the Championship than any other driver,” said MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback. “That’s twice as many as Johnson and then much more over our next three, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Junior.”

The MGM Resorts are offering 10-1 odds on Gordon, which is the highest in the city, and their 31 percent theoretic hold on their Championship odds is close to being one of the best in the city.

I have to give Gordon a lot of credit for his role in making NASCAR what it is today in American society and for also what he did here in Las Vegas by spurring the betting movement. Before Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994, you didn’t see odds posted on every race during a NASCAR season.

His popularity fueled a west coast NASCAR frenzy that demanded every Cup race have odds posted and the books obliged. The fans also got race tracks in Fontana, Calif., and Las Vegas, and several more have sprouted up across the country.

I can’t just say Gordon’s amazing rise to stardom was accomplished all by himself, but during that short period from 1995-98, where Gordon combined to win 40 races, the NASCAR brand sure benefited from the Vallejo, Calif., kid.

Here’s a look at who I have in my top-10 to win the title with expected season wins in parentheses:

1. Jeff Gordon (3 wins)

2. Jimmie Johnson (4 wins)

3. Brad Keselowski (4 wins)

4. Denny Hamlin (3 wins)

5. Matt Kenseth (1 win)

6. Joey Logano (2 wins)

7. Carl Edwards (2 wins)

8. Kevin Harvick (3 wins)

9. Kyle Busch (2 wins)

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1 win)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jeff Gordon to run final full-time NASCAR season in 2015

One last Drive for '5' for Jeff Gordon in 2015  
CONCORD, N.C. (Jan. 22, 2015) - Jeff Gordon, the celebrated stock car champion whose crossover appeal helped take NASCAR into the mainstream, will compete in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015. He announced his decision this morning to the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team he has driven for since November 1992.

"As a race car driver, much of what I've done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions," Gordon said. "I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I've decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won't use the ‘R-word' because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there's always the possibility I'll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that.

"I don't foresee a day when I'll ever step away from racing. I'm a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I'm passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I'm a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that's stood behind me every step of the way.

"Racing has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity that's been extraordinarily rewarding and fulfilling in my life. The work we're doing with the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation will continue to be extremely important to me. Outside the race car, my passion is pediatric cancer research, and my efforts will remain focused there when I'm no longer driving.

"I'll explore opportunities for the next phase of my career, but my primary focus now and throughout 2015 will be my performance in the No. 24 Chevrolet. I'm going to pour everything I have into this season and look forward to the challenge of competing for one last championship.

"To everyone at NASCAR, my teammates, sponsors, competitors, friends, family, members of the media and especially our incredible fans, all I can say is thank you."

Gordon, 43, has earned four career Cup championships, 92 points-paying race wins and 77 pole positions, all for longtime car owner Rick Hendrick. He is third in all-time victories behind only NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105).

One of the most versatile drivers of his era in any auto racing discipline, Gordon's résumé includes three Daytona 500 victories and a record five Brickyard 400 wins. He is the sport's winningest road course driver with nine victories, stands alone as the all-time leader with 12 restrictor plate wins and has won at every track on the Sprint Cup circuit with the exception of Kentucky Speedway.

"There's simply no way to quantify Jeff's impact," said Hendrick, who first noticed Gordon during a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 1992. "He's one of the biggest sports stars of a generation, and his contributions to the success and growth of NASCAR are unsurpassed. There's been no better ambassador for stock car racing and no greater representation of what a champion should be. I will never be able to properly express the respect and admiration I have for Jeff and how meaningful our relationship is to me. I'm so grateful for everything he's done for our company and my family, and I look forward to many more years together as friends and business partners."

Hendrick Motorsports will announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date.


FULL NAME: Jeffery Michael Gordon
BIRTHDATE: Aug. 4, 1971
BIRTHPLACE: Vallejo, California
HOMETOWN: Pittsboro, Indiana
FAMILY: Wife Ingrid Vandebosch; daughter Ella Sofia (7); son Leo Benjamin (4)

• Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001)
• 92 career Cup victories; third on the all-time list
• 77 career Cup pole positions; third on the all-time list
• Three-time Daytona 500 winner (1997, 1999, 2005)
• Five-time Brickyard 400 winner (1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014)
• Three-time champion of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (1995, 1997, 2001)
• NASCAR record nine road course victories
• NASCAR record 12 restrictor plate victories
• 1997 Winston Million winner and four-time Winston No Bull 5 winner
• Seven-time winner at Darlington Raceway


2014: Captured four victories, three pole positions, 14 top-five finishes and a series-leading 23 top-10s. Scored a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 win, tying Formula One driver Michael Schumacher for the most victories at Indianapolis. Posted series-best average finish (10.4) en route to a sixth-place finish in the point standings. Extended NASCAR record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (22). Starred in the viral video "Test Drive 2," which has surpassed 17 million views on YouTube.

2013: Finished sixth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with one win (Martinsville), two poles, eight top-fives and 17 top-10s. Set NASCAR record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (21), breaking a tie with NASCAR Hall of Fame driver David Pearson. Starred in the viral video "Test Drive," which has surpassed 43 million views on YouTube.

2012: Recorded two wins, two poles, 11 top-fives, 18 top-10s and finished 10th in the Chase. Scored first career Homestead-Miami victory and surpassed NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Darrell Waltrip for sixth in all-time career laps led (23,147). Recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award, established to recognize those in sports who give significantly to serve communities and improve the lives of others. Appeared as himself in an episode of the FOX animated television show "The Simpsons." Returned to Rwanda for a second time in conjunction with the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation. Recipient of the NMPA Myers Brothers Award, which recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing.

2011: Began working with fourth full-time crew chief Alan Gustafson. Posted three wins, one pole, 13 top-fives and 18 top-10s en route to an eighth-place finish in the Chase. Moved to third in all-time wins after scoring his 85th career victory at Atlanta and claimed sole possession of third in all-time career poles (70). Voiced the character "Jeff Gorvette" in the animated film "Cars 2." Traveled to Rwanda with the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, and visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative.

2010: Finished ninth in the Chase with one pole, 11 top-fives and 17 top-10s. Tied NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Cale Yarborough for third in all-time career poles (69) and remained sixth in all-time career wins (82), one behind Yarborough.

2009: Finished third in the Chase with one win, one pole, 16 top-fives and a series-high 25 top-10s. Scored first career Texas victory. Appeared in an episode of the long-running children's television series "Sesame Street."

2008: Finished seventh in the Chase with four poles, 13 top-fives and 19 top-10s. Scored first career Texas pole. Became first NASCAR driver to surpass $100 million in career prize winnings.

2007: Finished second in the Chase with six wins, seven poles, 21 top-fives and 30 top-10s -- a single-season record for most top-10s in NASCAR's modern era (1972-present). Scored first career Phoenix victory and set all-time record for most career restrictor plate wins (12). Moved to sixth all-time in career wins (81) and fourth all-time in career poles (63).

2006: Finished sixth in the Chase with two victories, two poles, 14 top-fives and 18 top-10s. Scored first career Chicagoland victory and extended own record for most road course victories (9) with fifth career win at Sonoma.

2005: Posted four wins, two poles, eight top-fives, 14 top-10s and finished 11th in the point standings. Achieved third career Daytona 500 victory, fourth win at Talladega and sixth and seventh victories at Martinsville, marking the second time in three years he swept both events at the short track. Ran first race with third full-time crew chief Steve Letarte at New Hampshire on Sept. 18. Appeared as himself in the film "Herbie: Fully Loaded."

2004: Five wins, six poles, 16 top-fives and 25 top-10s. Finished third in the inaugural Chase, marking 11 consecutive top-10 point finishes. Led standings after 26th race before top-10 points were reset. Became the first stock car driver to capture four victories at Indianapolis and only the fourth driver in history to win there four times. Won back-to-back races for the 19th and 20th times in his career.

2003: Three wins, four poles, 15 top-fives, 20 top-10s and a series-leading 1,639 laps led. Won both events at Martinsville to complete a season sweep at the track. Finished fourth in the point standings. Became the only auto racing driver in the show's history to host NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

2002: Recorded three victories, three poles, 13 top-fives and 20 top-10s. At Darlington, won 60th career race. Recorded 300th career start and became first NASCAR driver to surpass $50 million in career prize winnings.

2001: Achieved a fourth career championship to become at the time only the third driver to win more than three titles. Led the series in several statistical categories: wins (6), poles (6), top-fives (18), top-10s (24), races led (25) and laps led (2,320). Became the first driver to eclipse $10 million in single-season prize winnings. Won both the all-star event and the Brickyard 400.

2000: Began working with second full-time crew chief Robbie Loomis. Earned three wins, three poles, 11 top-fives and 22 top-10s. Became the youngest driver in history to achieve 50 career wins. Won Talladega, Richmond and Sonoma. Win at Sonoma marked sixth straight road course victory, a series record. Finished ninth in points.

1999: Finished the season with seven victories to become the first driver in history to win the most races for five straight years. Also won the most poles (7) and led the most laps (1,319). Finished the season sixth in points with 18 top-fives and 21 top-10s. Ran final race with original crew chief Ray Evernham at Dover on Sept. 26. Appeared on the cover of Fortune magazine. Established the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research, treatment and patient support programs. Became an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports after signing a lifetime contract to drive for the team.

1998: Won third series championship with 13 victories, seven poles, 26 top-fives and 28 top-10s. Became first driver to win the Brickyard 400 twice. Won the Winston No Bull Five twice. Tied two modern-era records with 13 wins in one season and four wins in a row. Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.

1997: Won second series championship with 10 victories, one pole, 22 top-fives and 23 top-10s. Became youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 in a Hendrick Motorsports 1-2-3 finish. Second driver ever to win the Winston Million.

1996: Led the series in wins (10), poles (5) and laps led (2,314). Also recorded 21 top-fives and 24 top-10s. Finished second in championship points, only 37 behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Terry Labonte.

1995: At 24, became youngest Cup champion in NASCAR's modern era in only third full season in the series. Recorded seven victories, eight poles (personal record), 23 top-10 finishes and 2,610 laps led.

1994: Won twice, including first career victory at Charlotte and the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Achieved seven top-fives and 14 top-10s.

1993: Earned series Rookie of the Year to become the first driver ever to win top rookie honors in NASCAR's two top divisions (XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year in 1991). Became first rookie in 30 years to win a 125-mile qualifying race at Daytona.

1992: Signed contract with Hendrick Motorsports and made first career series start on Nov. 15 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, finishing 31st under the guidance of crew chief Evernham. The race also marked the final NASCAR event for seven-time series champion Richard Petty.

Founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has earned more than 200 race victories and a record 11 car owner championships in NASCAR's premier division, the Sprint Cup Series. The organization fields four full-time Chevrolet teams on the Sprint Cup circuit with drivers Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Headquartered in Concord, North Carolina, Hendrick Motorsports employs more than 600 people. For more information, visit or interact on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Come get your 2015 Daytona 500 odds from Las Vegas; lots to choose

Who really has a shot at winning Daytona 500?
LAS VEGAS -- We don't have Daytona Preseason Thunder (testing) like we’ve been accustomed to over the years, where a few days' of media reports about who was fastest in early January was like the rooster on the dawning of a new season.

Because of limited testing, we have to find our own wake-up call that NASCAR is just around the corner, and mine came on a walk through several Las Vegas sports books on Wednesday afternoon to find the best value for Sprint Cup and Daytona 500 odds.

Over the last few days, I have been baffled by what to expect at not only Daytona, but the entire 2015 Sprint Cup season. I made a few calls and talked to some respected people in the garages, and came away feeling somewhat satisfied that we won't be blindsided by rapid change at Daytona, a track whose races are always up for grabs for a large pool of drivers -- see Aric Almirola’s win last year in the Coke Zero 400.

But with up to 60 changes in the rules package, does that mean racing at Daytona will be different this year?

I was assured by several smarts that they expect the racing to be very similar to what we saw last season and that the majority of solid set-up notes from 2014 will still apply this year. If that’s the case, we should see Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing excel throughout Daytona Speedweeks.

Last year, JGR’s Denny Hamlin won the Sprint Unlimited and a Budweiser Duels race, but Hendrick’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. would halt the Daytona-triple by winning the Daytona 500, his first win on the track since 2004. Hamlin would go on to win at Talladega, the other restrictor-plate track, followed by Almirola's win in the summer at Daytona and then Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski at Talladega during the Chase.

Between all my stops throughout town, I was most impressed with the concerted effort by Caesars Palace’s chain of sports books. The Westgate SuperBook and William Hill U.S. set the standard for lowest theoretic hold in the city, and Caesars/Harrah’s used to be second-tier in that regard. Not anymore. Not only do their NASCAR odds compare well with the top books in the city, but it also extends to their future prices in NFL, MLB and NBA.

Hail Caesar, big high-five!

The chart below allows you to shop for the best Daytona 500 odds in Las Vegas. I hit all of these places in a relatively quick amount of time, so if you’ve got five to six drivers you like, do yourself a favor – take a walk and find maximum value.

The juiciest numbers look like Earnhardt Jr. at 12-to-1 (Westgate), Hamlin at 15-to-1 (William Hill, Stations), Tony Stewart at 25-to-1 (Stations), Almirola at 60-to-1 (MGM) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at 60-to-1 (MGM).

We’ll be talking Daytona for the next month and keeping our ears open. Just like any sport, information is key and right now info is at a premium because the books are in the dark just as much as the bettors.

Every Las Vegas books' Daytona 500 odds

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Could Dale Earnhardt Jr be a major player in NASCAR 2015? Shootout odds

 Dale Earnhardt Jr. tasted success in 2014. Title on horizon?
When I look at all the odds being offered around town to win the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup, Daytona 500 and Sprint Unlimited, I really have no idea what to expect or how to project a winner. I’ve been doing this NASCAR odds stuff for a few decades and I’m always quick to give a take on who should fare well for the races, but not in 2015.

This season is a little different. We’re looking at five dozen changes to the 2015 NASCAR rules package which includes horsepower being dropped from 850 down to 725 and the rear spoiler being dropped from 8 inches to 6 inches. We’ve got 15 different crew chief changes and all kinds of other considerations that always occur with a new year.

We also don’t have test sessions like we used to see. You knew immediately from the preseason testing at Daytona what teams were going to be fast in the season. Then you had Las Vegas testing where you could get a gauge on who would be fast on 1.5-mile tracks. Now, there’s nothing except Goodyear tire testing, and Goodyear doesn‘t let anyone into the track until the testing is over. Four cars will be testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Monday, but media isn’t allowed at the track until the session is complete.

As of right now, I’m absolutely stumped. My probability model I run every preseason is completely out of whack. I have no idea who to key on for anything. Last season’s Chase taught me that anyone can win the title like we’ve never seen before. Instead of keying of 12 to 15 drivers to win it all, it’s now expanded up to 25 drivers. If Ryan Newman can be two laps away from winning a championship without winning a race in the first 35 races, then that gives Sam Hornish, Brian Vickers and Martin Truex an opportunity like never before to being champ. 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick agreed with the idea that there's a broader pool of drivers contending for a legitimate shot at the title following his Las Vegas Champion tour in early December.

"Absolutely. You know, I think as you -- if you can get to the Daytona 500 or Talladega or whatever that
particular driver's good track is or the team's good track and capitalize on those situations, you look at Aric Almirola and AJ Allmendinger and those guys being able to get themselves into victory lane, if you can get that one win and really prepare yourself for the Chase and have a good first few weeks and you have some guys have some problems and you kind of.

" I guess, you guys have all kind of dubbed the 31 team (Newman) as the Cinderella story, but there's a lot of cars in the garage that have that capability of being that Cinderella team, especially when you start talking about momentum.

"When you get the momentum in the sports world, momentum is a huge thing, and you can carry that a long ways. I think it definitely opens the possibility of things -- of cars and teams coming from being that dark horse I guess you could say to being in contention just for the fact of that momentum building and the teams getting better as they go through the year.

"It definitely opens things up to a lot of people being able to be in the Chase."

I saw Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon dominate in 2014, but none of them won the title. Kevin Harvick won his first championship, but he was swinging for the fences all season in a win or nothing approach and then put 10 good races together. One poor finish in the 10-race Chase and your season is done. Now, this year, we have all the changes to the car which makes it even a bigger crap shoot. So where do we start?

While there are better opportunities for the smaller teams to compete because of less testing where Michael Waltrip says his team will save up to $1.5 million this year with the ban, one thing I can say is that the power teams should be fast right out of the gate. Anytime there’s a major change to the cars, Hendrick Motorsports has been way ahead of the curve, such as the ‘Car of Tomorrow’ when they initially dominated.

Hendrick’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. told Fox Sports that he thinks the changes will benefit him.

"I think the (rules) package will favor me," Earnhardt said. "I think it will favor the majority of the guys in the field. We did run a little bit of that package at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) the other day (at a Goodyear tire test).

"To be honest with you, it feels very, very similar to what we ran last year, aside from the engine. But once you run with that engine package for about a day, you almost forget you have it.

"Right away, the difference is noticeable, but after a while, you sort of get used to it and forget you're even down on power compared to last year."

So maybe Junior, who won last years Daytona 500, is a driver to take a shot with. You have to at least like his confidence.

Here's a look at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook's odds to win the Sprint Unlimited which is a 75-lap non-points shootout:

Sprint Unlimited Odds to Win

Video: Roberts talks about perplexing 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Westgate posts odds to win 2015 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona

Denny Hamlin won Unlimited and Duel race last season










Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Updated Westagte SuperBook odds to win 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship

Is Joey Logano ready to be Champ?