|Jeff Gordon makes final drive for 5 this year|
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.