|Think Phoenix when betting Richmond this week.|
One of the best handicapping strategies for Richmond races is to see what happened in the most recent races at Phoenix or New Hampshire. Although Richmond's three-quarter-mile layout is considered a short track, it is most comparable to the two one-mile flat tracks. If it's good enough for crew chiefs to use similar setups, and sometimes even the same chassis, it should be good enough for bettors to follow.
Last year's New Hampshire fall race won by Matt Kenseth, two weeks after he won at Richmond, isn't as relevant as usual because the new, low-downforce package wasn't used. It was used at Phoenix in March, and Kevin Harvick won that race.
NASCAR at Richmond betting odds
Kyle Busch, 9/2: His 7.1 average finish at Richmond is tops in the series. In 21 starts, he has had four wins and 14 top five finishes. His next win in the capital of the old Confederacy will tie Dale Earnhardt for sixth all time. It would also give Joe Gibbs Racing its 11th win as an organization there, which would break the tie at top of the owners list with Hendrick Motorsports. Busch finished fourth at Phoenix after leading 75 laps, which is a great sign of matching success at Richmond.
Kevin Harvick, 6/1: He's a three-time winner, all coming while with Richard Childress Racing. His best finish with Stewart-Haas Racing in four starts was second in this race last season. He won at Phoenix like he always does, but his Richmond success has always come on the heels of Phoenix. In 2006 he swept Phoenix, but also won at Richmond and New Hampshire. In 2012, his lone win of the season came at Phoenix and were sandwiched between a 2011 fall Richmond win and a 2013 spring Richmond win. A top three finish — likely second, again — looks like a good bet.
Denny Hamlin, 6/1: The Virginian loves racing in his home state and it shows with his 10.7 average finish in 19 starts, which is second-best among all active drivers. He's won twice and his 1,404 laps led are the most in the series. Beyond his affinity for the track, he also grabbed a third-place finish six weeks ago at Phoenix, a track that compares well to Richmond. He'll be using that Phoenix chassis again this week. The Westgate has the proper low number on Hamlin, but it's possible you'll find 8-to-1 or higher at other books — 10-to-1 would be really nice. Could he be the fourth straight Joe Gibbs Racing driver to win on the schedule?
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