Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Denny Hamlin is 6/1 to win at Martinsville

Denny Hamlin

11 FedEx Ground Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing

Sunday Race Info:
Race: Xfinity 500
Date/Time: Sunday, Oct. 31/2:00 p.m. ET
Distance: 500 laps/263 miles
Track Length: .526 miles

Express Notes:

Kansas Recap: Hamlin started sixth in the FedEx Freight Toyota and asked for help tightening up the car’s handling throughout the first two stages. Extremely windy conditions also made the car a white-knuckled handful, with gusts frequently pushing drivers up the track and sometimes into the wall. The FedEx Racing driver was able to keep the car out of the fence despite the challenging weather and finished the first two stages in fifth and eighth, respectively. The #11 team made some headway on the car’s handling in Stage 3, allowing Hamlin to circle the mile-and-a-half oval a little faster. Track position was difficult to make up, but he was able to climb multiple spots to cross the finish line in fifth. The result put him 32 points above the cut line to make the Championship 4 – the final four drivers who will compete for the NASCAR Cup Series trophy in the last race of the season at Phoenix Raceway.

Martinsville Preview: The Cup Series moves on next to Martinsville Speedway on Sunday for the final race in the Playoffs’ Round of 8. Denny Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team will look to claim their spot in the Championship 4 either with a win or a solid points day. In his 31 career races at the half-mile, paperclip-shaped oval, Hamlin has notched five wins and 16 top-5 finishes.

Hamlin Statistics:

Track: Martinsville Speedway

Races: 31

Wins: 5

Poles: 4

Top-5: 16

Top-10: 22

Laps Led: 1,884

Avg. Start: 8.5

Avg. Finish: 9.7

Hamlin Conversation – Martinsville:

How do you feel about your chances at Martinsville and the short track package?

“I’m confident in our chances at Martinsville. We’ve been very strong at these types of racetracks, and I’ll think we’ll have a really good FedEx Toyota when we go there. We want to battle for a win. Because if we’re in the battle for a win, we’ll be fine no matter where we finish.”

Will you have a particular strategy, given your points position and what you need to advance?

“I think we should be OK. But, of course, you just never know what can happen. I just need to make sure I get some stage points and don’t give it away early, and I think we’ll be alright to advance.”

FedEx “Drop Off, Win Big” Sweepstakes on the #11: The TV panel of the #11 car will carry a special message at Martinsville, encouraging FedEx small business customers to participate in the “Drop Off, Win Big” sweepstakes going on now through January. Small business owners can register online to have a chance to win up to $10,000, just for dropping off their packages at any of the 60,000-plus locations across the U.S. The TV panel message points fans to the URL where they can learn more and enter:

FedEx Ground Along for the Ride at Martinsville: With the national observance of Corporate Compliance Week (Nov. 7-13) approaching, the alpha code “DELV” on Hamlin’s car recognizes the extraordinary focus on processes and compliance by the FedEx Ground’s Delaware Valley District.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Aric Almirola is 100/1 to win 2021 Kansas Lottery 400


Aric Almirola

Kansas II Advance

No. 10 Farmland/Hy-Vee Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing



Event Overview

● Event:  Hollywood Casino 400 (Round 33 of 36)

● Time/Date:  3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Oct. 24

● Location:  Kansas Speedway  

● Layout:  1.5-mile oval  

● Laps/Miles:  267 laps/400.5 miles

● Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 80 laps / Final Stage: 107 laps

● TV/Radio:  NBCSN / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Notes of Interest


●  History at Kansas: In 19 starts, Almirola has seven top-10 finishes and has led 69 laps. 


●  2021: Almirola locked himself into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with his July 18 victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in LoudonHe led 46 laps around the flat, 1.058-mile oval en route to his third career NASCAR Cup Series win. After a year full of adversity and bad luck, the victory put the No. 10 team, which was 27th in the standings and facing a must-win situation if it was going to compete for this year’s championship, in prime position to earn one of the 16 coveted berths in the 10-race playoffs. Almirola’s award-winning YouTube series “Beyond the 10” captured his entire race day here.


●  This year marked Almirola’s fifth career playoff appearance and fourth in a row since joining SHR. While he didn’t advance beyond the Round of 16, he has set his sights on a top-10 points position after the checkered flag drops at the season finale Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway. Fans and media can watch the “Beyond the 10” episode of his playoff run on YouTube here.


●  Farmland, which has been bringing great tastes to tables since 1959, will adorn the No. 10 Ford Mustang with a special blue, white and green paint scheme. As part of the paint scheme, Farmland launched a huge prize package valued at $4,750. The prize package includes two tickets to the Kansas Cup Series race May 15, 2022, airfare and hotel accommodations, a rental car, BBQ catering for a tailgate, and an extra $400 after the race if Almirola wins. To enter, follow @FarmlandFoods and comment #Sweepstakesentry. 


●  Hy-Vee returns to the rear quarterpanels, decklid and bumper of the No. 10 Ford this weekend. Hy-Vee is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Its slogan, “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle,” expresses the foundation of the supermarket chain’s operating philosophy.


●  Career Stats: Almirola has career totals of three wins, two poles, 26 top-five finishes, 82 top-10s and 893 laps led in 385 NASCAR Cup Series starts.


●  Beyond the 10 YouTube Series: In 2021, Almirola continues to share his life beyond the No. 10 Ford with season three of his award-winning YouTube series. Fans and media can subscribe on YouTube to see Almirola’s personality on and off the track. Episodes have already featured life as a dad, a husband and an athlete, and it gives fans a unique perspective on what goes on in the life of a professional NASCAR driver. Fans can also follow Almirola’s social media channels: @Aric_Almirola on Twitter and Instagram, and @AricAlmirola on Facebook. Almirola’s latest Beyond the 10 episode gives a driver's perspective of the NASCAR Next Gen car.


●  Point standings: Almirola is currently 14th in the driver standings with 2,136 points. 


Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Farmland/Hy-Vee Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing


What goals do you have for the remaining three races of the season?


“We’re sitting 14th in the standings right now, so finishing here or a spot better would be better than last year and the year before. Overall, our goal is to have a few more clean races without any issues or bad luck. Last weekend at Texas, we didn’t really get to see what kind of speed we had after all the damage in the first stage. We were lucky to make it through the way we did, but we’re usually really good at Texas and didn’t get to show that. Kansas will provide some good redemption if we can run a clean race.”


What are your thoughts when you head to Kansas?


“I’ve always enjoyed Kansas. I know that I did have a really bad accident there, but in my mind I just view that as a bad accident. It just happened at a place. It just so happened to be at Kansas. It could have happened anywhere. I don’t really put that on Kansas and so, every time I’ve been back since then, it’s never really been a thought that’s crossed my mind. I actually enjoy going to Kansas. I have friends in Kansas City who I enjoy spending time with that makes it even more enjoyable to be there and, on top of that, I love the racetrack. The racetrack is a really fun racetrack to run at for me and I’ve had a lot of success there and had a lot of really good runs there.”


What do you think of this weekend’s Farmland/Hy-Vee paint scheme? 


“Everything about it just looks fresh. Love the colors. It should be bright on TV. I’m liking the red Hy-Vee on there, too. Let’s see if we can keep it as clean at the end of the race.” 


No. 10 Farmland/Hy-Vee Ford Mustang Team Roster

Primary Team Members


Driver: Aric Almirola 

Hometown: Tampa, Florida


Crew Chief: Mike Bugarewicz

Hometown: Lehighton, Pennsylvania


Car Chief: Jerry Cook

Hometown: Toledo, Ohio


Engineer: Lee Deese

Hometown: Rockingham, North Carolina


Engineer: James Kimbrough

Hometown: Pensacola, Florida


Spotter: Joel Edmonds

Hometown: Dobson, North Carolina

Over-The-Wall Members


Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux Center, Iowa


Rear Tire Changer: Michael Johnson

Hometown: Andover, New York


Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard  

Hometown: King, North Carolina 


Jack Man: Sean Cotton

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina


Fuel Man: James “Ace” Keener

Hometown: Fortuna, California

Road Crew Members


Mechanic: Tony Silvestri

Hometown: Sylvania, Ohio


Mechanic: Robbie Fairweather

Hometown: Westbrookville, New York


Engine Tuner: Matt Moeller

Hometown: Monroe, New York


Tire Specialist: Russel Simpson

Hometown: Medford, New York


Transporter Co-Driver: Dale Lackey

Hometown: Taylorsville, North Carolina


Transporter Co-Driver: Wayne Smith

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia 

Monday, October 18, 2021

NASCAR odds to win 2021 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2021 - 3:15 PM ET

BJ McLEOD 10000/1
JOEY GASE 10000/1
QUIN HOUFF 10000/1
CODY WARE 10000/1
RYAN ELLIS 10000/1

Friday, October 15, 2021

Texas NASCAR Betting Preview: 2021 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500


Oct. 17, 2021


You can never satisfy me, NASCAR. I’m going to complain about the smallest things that grind my gears in the sport and sometimes I’ll even flip flop on a topic. It’s a love-hate-love relationship, the same way I might criticize my brothers.

This brings us to Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway’s high-banked 1.5-mile layout. Long race title sponsorship is a tolerable nuisance, but how about this week’s race is only the second race on a 1.5-mile track after July 11. I’ve complained regularly about all the cookie cutters since 2000, but now I miss them in this new era of the road course.

Sunday’s race will be only the eighth race on a 1.5-mile track and next week’s race at Kansas will be the ninth and last of the season. Las Vegas started the Round of 12 and Texas will start the Round of 8 and Kansas next week will make it only three races on 1.5-mile tracks, the same as last season, but a reduction on the season from 11 races on 1.5s to only nine.

It feels like it’s been a while since watching Denny Hamlin win his first career race at Las Vegas last month. And it’s been ages since Kurt Busch dominated at Atlanta on July 11. Since Atlanta, three road courses, and just two 1.5-mile tracks.

It used to be that organizations focused on mastering the 1.5-mile tracks because that was the Gateway to a championship with the title race at Homestead-Miami Speedway’s 1.5-mile paperclip. Now the title race is at Phoenix Raceway using the low downforce package with engines producing 750 horsepower that has already raced 18 times this season. That is the new gateway.

The 1.5-mile track isn’t going away even though Texas lost a points-paying spring race and instead was given the non-points All-Star Race. This is the 41st Cup race at Texas and the first year since 2004 that Texas hasn’t had two points-paying races on the schedule.

But I can’t help to remember NASCAR at its pinnacle of popularity in the mid-1990s with the young California kid Jeff Gordon and the wiley veteran Dale Earnhardt clashing and then cashing together all the way to the bank with merchandise sales. The new cookie-cutter tracks had massive seating which made the old standards like Rockingham and North Wilkesboro Speedway expendable. The new tracks also took away a Darlington date and caused the stoppage of the Southern 500 on Labor Day.

NASCAR is trying to rebrand itself again with all the road courses (favors Chase Elliott), so I’m flipping on my stance on the cookie cutters after experiencing a full season of road racing so I am back now missing the 1.5s. I may again feel different in two decades.

I hope that all made some kind of sense as I went full circle.


Now let’s make some money. The winner of the race gets a free pass into the Championship 4 race at Phoenix in four weeks. Only a handful of drivers have a chance to win this week with the high downforce race package with engines producing 550 horsepower.

Caesars sportsbooks list season point-leader, Kyle Larson, as the +275 favorite and he’s certainly deserving of being such a short favorite. But more on Larson in a bit. Let’s talk about Kyle Busch who Caesars has posted at 7-to-1 odds to win at Texas.

His only two wins of the season came using this week’s race package at Kansas and the second Pocono race. He also won this race last season. I’ll bet he wants to start off the Round of 8 with a win to ease the pressure the next two weeks.

“For sure,” Busch said. “Both the first two tracks to start the Round of 8 are places we’ve won at within the last calendar year, so I look forward to getting to Texas and starting the next round. All the tracks are good places for us, so hoping we can get some solid finishes and maybe even a win, hopefully the sooner the better, and can get us to the Championship 4 at Phoenix with a win.”

Busch is a two-time Cup Champion and is a nice look to win the Championship which Circa Sports is offering at 6-to-1 odds to win it. The only negative is Phoenix using the 750 HP which hasn’t been far from his best package this season. But let’s stick with Texas here where Busch has been dominant in all three NASCAR national series. Why is he so good there?

“It’s always been a really good place for me, whether that was before the repave or after the repave,” Busch said.” A lot of credit goes to Joe Gibbs Racing and the cars they bring there for me. We’ve had a lot of success at Texas over the years, whether that is in the Xfinity Series, winning five in a row as we did there, winning in the Trucks, and now we have four Cup wins there, too, after the win last fall. It’s just been a really good place for me, and our team has been better with the 550 (horsepower) package this year, and hoping we can get into victory lane there this weekend with our Interstate Batteries Camry and punch our ticket to Phoenix early.”

Kyle Larson was able to extend his lead in the Championship Series with a win in Charlotte last week. (AP)

Interstate Batteries is a Texas-based company that is celebrating a 30-year relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing who won the 1993 Daytona 500 with Dale Jarrett at the start of their second season.

Kyle Busch has four Cup wins at Texas, as well as 10 Xfinity wins, and five Truck Series wins. In only 30 Cup starts there, Busch has 14 top-fives and led 1,049 laps which are both the most among active drivers, as are his four wins.

In his last three races using this week’s race package, he was runner-up to his brother Kurt at Atlanta leading 91 laps. Next, he was at Michigan with a seventh-place and leading 13 laps, and then it was a home race at Las Vegas where he finished third.

I’ve got five car numbers swirling around in my head and Busch’s No. 18 keeps coming up aces for me even though Kyle Larson is a beast and will be again Sunday.


  • Date: Sunday, October 17, 2021
  • TV-Time: NBC, 2:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Texas Motor Speedway
  • Location: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Distance: 501 miles, 334 laps
  • Defending Champion: Kyle Busch

The Texas layout was modeled after SMI sister tracks at Charlotte and Atlanta. All three have their own wrinkles that make them unique to themselves but looking at all three side-by-side they look like twins or triplets. Larson was the best collectively between the three races and also won the All-Star Race at Texas.

In March, Larson led a race-high 259 laps at Atlanta but couldn’t close out the win and finished second. Ryan Blaney scooped the win like he has done late in all three of his wins. This happened two weeks after Larson won his first Las Vegas race and led a race-high 103 laps.

In May, Larson led a race-high 327 of 400 laps in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Chase Elliott was second, and Kyle Busch was third. But Larson hasn’t won a race with this week’s package since the Texas All-Star Race on June 13. It’s in this small gap of semi-failure for the great Larson that I see a window of hope and opportunity for Busch winning.


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Kyle Busch is 7/1 to win at Texas



Capping Off a 30th Anniversary Celebration


HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (Oct. 12, 2021) – Interstate Batteries – the founding sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) – has been in a celebratory mood all season during the company’s impressive 30-year partnership with JGR. And nothing would be more perfect for the Dallas-based company than to cap off the 30-year celebration in victory lane after Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500, just up the road from the company’s headquarters, at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.


Likewise, it’s no surprise that Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for JGR, would like nothing more than to bring home his fifth Texas Cup Series win this weekend, not only for another chance to celebrate with his longtime partner, but to automatically lock himself into the Championship 4 Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway. Needless to say, there’s a lot on the line as Busch and his fellow Cup Series competitors head to the 1.5-mile Texas oval.


Sunday’s race at Texas serves as the first race of the Round of 8 of this year’s Cup Series playoffs. Busch advanced with his fourth-place run in the Round of 12 finale last Sunday on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval. The two-time Cup Series champion is the defending Texas race winner.


Busch brings plenty of optimism, along with 23 important playoff points, to the Round of 8. With the unknowns of Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and the Charlotte Roval now in the rearview mirror, Busch can focus on the next three tracks ahead of him in the Round of 8 – Texas, Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Busch has a combined eight wins at those three tracks, including victories at both Texas and Kansas within the last calendar year.


With Interstate Batteries finishing off its six primary sponsorships of Busch’s No. 18 Toyota in 2021, JGR’s founding partner hopes to put an exclamation mark on an important milestone as the team celebrates its 30th anniversary of Interstate Batteries being along for the ride every step of the way. Busch has brought home nine victories sporting the colors of Interstate Batteries. Add Bobby Labonte’s 21 wins and Dale Jarrett’s two, and Interstate has made a combined 32 visits to victory lane in the Cup Series over the years. Labonte scored his last win for Interstate Batteries at the 2003 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and five years later it was Busch who brought Interstate back to victory lane during his first season at JGR, when he bested Carl Edwards to win the July 2008 race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.


As fall is in full swing and winter is quickly approaching, Busch is encouraging race fans to stop by a local Interstate dealer to get their vehicle batteries checked, as cold weather of winter can adversely affect a car’s battery.


So as NASCAR’s top series heads to Texas for the start of the Round of 8 on Sunday, Busch and the Interstate Batteries team are charging toward back-to-back fall wins in the Lone Star State. As Busch sports the colors of the official battery and founding sponsor of JGR for the final time this season, he hopes there’s one more celebration for its 30th anniversary season, back in a familiar spot – Texas victory lane.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 


Given your success at Texas, including being the defending fall winner, is this an ideal track for you to get off to a good start and gain momentum in the round?


“For sure. Both the first two tracks to start the Round of 8 are places we’ve won at within the last calendar year, so I look forward to getting to Texas and starting the next round. All the tracks are good places for us, so hoping we can get some solid finishes and maybe even a win, hopefully the sooner the better, and can get us to the Championship 4 at Phoenix with a win in our Interstate Batteries Camry.”


You are the defending fall race winner at Texas. Does that mean something as you head there this weekend?


“Yes and no. You look at last year, we did what we needed to do to save fuel and win the race, so not sure it really translates from that one race. But, we’ve won at Texas four times and feel like it’s a really good place for us. The biggest part of a lot of Texas races is having Interstate Batteries on board for a least one race a year there, and we’ve gotten them a few wins at their home track over the years. Would be a really big deal to get them a win as we celebrate 30 years with them and JGR, and then also advance us to Phoenix, as well.”


Is there anything about Texas that particularly suits your style (or JGR), outside of being a 1.5-mile layout given your dominance there in all three NASCAR national series divisions? 


“It’s always been a really good place for me, whether that was before the repave or after the repave. A lot of credit goes to Joe Gibbs Racing and the cars they bring there for me. We’ve had a lot of success at Texas over the years, whether that is in the Xfinity Series, winning five in a row as we did there, winning in the Trucks, and now we have four Cup wins there, too, after the win last fall. It’s just been a really good place for me, and our team has been better with the 550 (horsepower) package this year, and hoping we can get into victory lane there this weekend with our Interstate Batteries Camry and punch our ticket to Phoenix early.”


How do you think the round lays out for you, given your success at all three tracks – four wins at Texas and two each at Kansas and Martinsville, along with a lot of top-five efforts?

“This round lays out very well for us. We have three tracks where we have had a lot of success over the years. Like I said earlier, we won at both Texas and Kansas within the last year, so I feel like that’s a good omen for us. The mile-and-a-half program has been really strong for us. We did not run so well at Texas in the All-Star Race, but that was different, just everything with the package tweaks they had for that race. We should have a pretty good starting spot for us and we need to stay up front and hopefully keep our track position. Looking forward to this weekend.”


Event Overview:

● Event: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500

● Time/Date: 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Oct. 17

● Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth

● Layout: 1.5-mile oval

● Laps/Miles: 334 laps, 501 miles

● Format: Stage 1: 105 laps / Stage 2: 105 laps / Final Stage: 124 laps

● TV/Radio: NBC/ PRN/ SiriusXM NASCAR Radio