Friday, September 23, 2022

Video: NASCAR Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Odds, Predictions & Picks by Micah Roberts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Texas NASCAR Betting Preview: 2022 AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500

 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Picks, Predictions

The 30th race of the season at Texas Motor Speedway also kicks off the Round of 12 in the playoffs in Sunday’s AutoTrader Echo-Park Automotive 500. Four drivers were chopped from playoff contention last week while three non-playoff drivers won all three races in the Round of 16. There have been 19 different winners so far in what has been the most parity I’ve ever seen in NASCAR. The NextGen car has done its job. Erik Jones, Bubba Wallace, and Chris Buescher told the playoffs to hold their beer while winning the last three, and all at 20-to-1 or higher prices. That’s four straight high-odds payouts when including Austin Dillon’s Daytona win in the cutoff race.  

Let’s get to work and find this week’s Texas winners. I take at the top portion of the odds chart using odds courtesy of BetMGM.

AUTOTRADER ECHOPARK AUTO 500 PICKS & PREDICTIONS

Flip the switch, it’s playoff time. That’s what it looks like has happened. Denny Hamlin (6/1) gave a sign on the 1.5-and 2-mile tracks that he was ready to roll and then he started the playoffs with two runner-ups. It has to be one of his wildest seasons of his career, but he might just win his first championship and I can’t wait to see it. He has three Cup wins at Texas and a 13th-place average finish in 31 starts. He also gets a boost by getting Kyle Busch’s pit crew who has been one of the best this season. He thinks this Texas race is huge in this round. 

“This is going to be a very important race,” Hamlin said. “With the unknowns of Talladega and the (Charlotte) ROVAL, we’re looking at Texas as a place we can go run up front, try to maximize our points and be in contention for the win. Passing was very difficult in the All-Star Race though, so I expect that to be the case like it has been for the last few years at Texas, so qualifying up front and having a smooth day on the track and on pit road are going to be key for us to have a shot.”

Christopher Bell (13/2) is coming strong with three top-fives in the Round of 16. He leads all Toyota drivers with 10 Top-fives this season and he has a great track history on his home track with a 2017 Truck Series win and a 2019 Xfinity Series win. His next step in the progression is winning at Texas in the Cup Series. Caesars has him at 8-to-1 odds.

“The two ends of the track are completely different,” Bell said of Texas. “We have the All-Star race under our belt with the NextGen car and turns 3 & 4 have lots of throttle time, tons of banking, and lots of grip with the repave, and turns 1 & 2 have lots of grip but they don’t have the banking to hold you. Drastically different corners for sure. Long runs are where we’ve been really good and I’m excited to kick off the next round of the Playoffs at my home track.”

Christopher Bell has seen a Top 5 result in three straight races. (Getty)

Kyle Larson (7/1) won at Texas in the Cup Series for the first time last season after winning also winning the All-Star Race there. He was dialed in in 2021. They had a huge edge over everyone winning 10 times and winning the championship, but just two wins this season. What did he learn from last season’s incredible run that he can apply this week as he starts the Round of 12? 

"Be clean and let the other teams make the mistakes,” Larson said. “Honestly, if you can just finish you don’t have to do anything crazy in the first couple rounds. Don’t take yourself out of stage points or a good finish and you can advance. Once you get to the Round of 8, that’s obviously when you need to get some top-five finishes or a win. You just don’t want to take yourself out of any race or get any DNF or anything like that where you put yourself in a must-win situation because winning is really difficult to do. You just want to keep yourself in contention every race."

Chase Elliott (8/1) has the championship vibe going and leads all drivers in points (3040), wins (4), and is tied with his teammate with 11 top-fives. In 11 Cup races at Texas he has two top-fives and an 11.5 average finish.

"I’d love to go to Texas this weekend and have a good, solid run and start this round off on a high note. We didn’t get to run the full All-Star Race earlier this year, but I still feel like we got enough track time to have good notes as we head back there. We just need to put a good weekend together and execute a solid day. If we can do that, then we have as good a shot as anyone to get a win and lock ourselves into the next round."

AUTOTRADER ECHOPARK AUTO 500 BETTING RESOURCES

Date: Sunday, September 25, 2022
Venue: Texas Motor Speedway
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Distance: 501 miles
Laps: 334
Network-Time: USA - 3:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: Kyle Larson

Martin Truex Jr (10/1) has five top-fives in 32 Cup starts at Texas and 17 top-10s with 674 laps led. He was the best on 1.5s for a few years and never won here. He’s definitely got more speed now like all the Toyotas on the big tracks. He was fifth at Kansas after leading 24 laps.

“I’m looking forward to the race,” Truex said. “As a whole, I feel like the Toyotas have ran really well on these types of tracks, so if we can put a full race together, I have a lot of confidence in what we’re capable of.”

Kyle Busch has failed to see a Top 10 result in 12 of 14 races. (Getty)

In 31 Cup starts at Texas, Kyle Busch (10/1) has four wins, 14 top-fives, 18 top10s, and 1,069 laps led. He also has 10 Xfinity Series wins and five Trucks Series win. He had a quick exit from the playoffs despite fast cars. He’ll be the weekly wild card, the unknown element of the betting equation. It’s important to realize that his only win came on the ridiculous Dirt Race at Bristol. I wonder if they learned anything from the All-Star Race they can use this week.

“I don’t know, we obviously were very fast there in the All-Star Race until we had the tire issue,” Busch said. “We’d like to think we can go out there and we’re fast and we have good strong racecars. As far as the track and the resin, I’m hoping we can dabble in it a little longer the outside way around, but it does seem to have grip and you can make some runs off the top of the corners and try to make some moves down the straightaway and such. Same old Texas, it looked to me there in the spring, from that standpoint.”

Ryan Blaney (10/1) dominated the All-Star Race at Texas in May after leading a race-high 84 laps. He won $1 million for the win, but it’s an unofficial non-points win. He still has no wins in 2022 when everyone else seems to be winning. This is a great track for him as he’s finished eighth or better in nine of his last 10 Texas starts which includes two All-Star races. He’s still alive racing for the championship.

READ MORE HERE....TOP-5 PREDICTION ON VEGASINSIDER.COM


2022 NASCAR Cup Notes at Texas

Texas native Chris Buescher is the 19th different winner of 2022


Holding off the field for 57 laps following the final restart and taking the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway, RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher snapped the longest active winless streak in the series at 223 races and became the 19th different winner of the season. As a result, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is now tied with the 1956, 1958, 1961 and 2001 seasons for the series-most different winners in a single season at 19 each. If this year were to see another different winner in these final seven races, then the 2022 season would become the sole leader in the NASCAR Cup Series in the number of different winners in a single season at 20.

The Bristol victory was the first points-paying race win for RFK Racing since Brad Keselowski joined the organization as an owner, and the second win of Buescher’s Cup Series career (Pocono, 2016 and Bristol, 2022).

“We’ve had a great week celebrating and taking in everything associated with the Bristol win, but I’m just as excited to get back to my home state of Texas and see friends and family and give our Fastenal Mustang another good run this weekend. We put together a solid plan for the All-Star Race this spring and had good success, so our goal is to capitalize on that even more and keep the train rolling this weekend.”

Now the Prosper, Texas native, Buescher, heads to Texas Motor Speedway to make it two wins in a row. Buescher has made 12 series starts at Texas posting an average finish of 22.7. Buescher’s best finish at his home track is 15th back in 2018.
 

Oklahoman Christopher Bell emerges from the Playoffs’ Round of 16 as a contender


Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell entered the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 as the 10th seed with the pedal to the floor, as he was the only driver in that round to post three top-five finishes and clinch his spot in the Round of 12 prior to the elimination-race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Plus, he finished the Round of 16 in the Playoff standings lead by not only finishing well, but by dominating his competitors in stage points. Bell accumulated 50 stage points in the first three Playoff races – 14 more stage points than the next highest driver, Kyle Busch with 36.

Now that the Playoff competitors have been reseeded for the Round of 12, Bell is ranked seventh in the standings, just 27 points back from Chase Elliott in the Playoff standings lead, and only four points above the Round of 8 cut line. This is Bell’s second career appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2021, 2022) and the Oklahoma native is looking to advance to the Round of 8 for the first time. He was eliminated in the Round of 12 in last season’s Playoffs, ultimately finishing 12th in the final championship standings.

But this weekend is looking fortuitous for Bell, as Texas Motor Speedway is a track at which he has exceled. In three series starts at the 1.5-mile facility, he has put up two top-five finishes and has an average finish of 9.0 (second-best among active drivers).

“Texas is one of my best tracks statistically and a place I enjoy racing at,” Bell said. “It’s a very important race and we need to capitalize on Texas before heading into Talladega.”


Playoff Bubble: All-Star winner Ryan Blaney returns to Texas


Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney has advanced to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 after a slow start to his postseason run putting up just one top-10 finish in the Round of 16. Now the North Carolina native shows up to Texas Motor Speedway as the winner of the 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race, which was held at this same 1.5-mile facility back in May, needing a boost to his championship chase.

Currently, Blaney sits in the eighth and final transfer spot on points in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs standings up just four points on Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe in ninth – the first spot outside the Round of 8 cutoff. This is Blaney’s sixth appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2017, ’18, ’19, ’20, ’21, ’22) and he is looking to advance to the Round of 8 for the fourth-time in his career (2017, ’19, ’21).

In addition to his NASCAR All-Star Race win at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this season, the 27-year-old has made 13 points-paying race starts at the 1.5-mile speedway posting three top fives and seven top 10s. He has a career-best Texas finish of runner-up in 2018 and has an average finish at the track of 16.3.

 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Video: Micah Roberts talks NASCAR Championship & Darlington

 


Darlington NASCAR Betting Preview: 2022 Cook Out Southern 500

It’s going to be a hot and humid Sunday night at Darlington Raceway’s high banked 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval. It’s time for the Cook Out Southern 500, one of the grandest traditions in NASCAR history running on Labor Day weekend almost every year since 1950. It’s 500 miles on The Lady in Black, and she’s angry all the time. But she’s been sweet to a few drivers over the years who understand her story and understand how to not wear out their tires too quickly.

It’s the perfect race to start the 2022 NASCAR Playoffs where 16 qualified drivers will be competing for the 2022 Championship. The Southern 500 begins the Round of 16 and four drivers will be eliminated after this three-race round. Win a race in this round and you move on to the next round regardless of points. After nine races and three stages, we’ll have the Championship 4 race at Phoenix on Nov. 3 and a Champion will be crowned.

I wrote earlier in the week about who I like to win it all.

COOK OUT SOUTHERN 500 PICKS & PREDICTIONS

Here’s a look at who I like this week using odds courtesy of BetMGM

Kyle Larson (6/1) - In nine Cup starts at Darlington he has an 8.9 average finish with five top-fives which includes three straight runner-ups before his 36th in the May race. He started second, led 30 laps, and the engine blew. The 2021 Champion likes the track a lot, but no wins.  The NextGen car has brought his party way down. Too much noise from 10 wins in 2021. Just two wins this season, each separated by a long gap. So why is he favored? Because it’s the playoffs and he gets his old car back? No. Because he’s due? No. It doesn’t matter because the sportsbooks all copied each other's lazy odds, likely using last fall’s odds grid, past experience on the track, and threw 2022 results out the window. I won’t be on Larson this week, but I’ve got a driver they fell asleep on with odds. 

"We had a really fast car last time before we had trouble,” Larson said of the May race. “The first round has a lot of really good tracks for us. Darlington, Kansas, and Bristol. Those are honestly three of my best racetracks. I really like that round and hopefully we can do well in it and get some wins and get some bonus points. I have always run really well at Darlington, but have not gotten a win there yet. I finished second three times in a row before this year, so would love to be one spot better there and finally get that Darlington win that I have been close to getting."

Denny Hamlin (7/1) - He’s still banged up from the late Daytona wreck and will not race in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. He has five Xfinity Series wins at Darlington and a series-leading four wins at Darlington. He won last year's Cup race there. He leads all active drivers with a 7.8 average finish and also has 11 top-fives and 786 laps led. The Lady in Black and Hamlin are good friends and send each other Christmas cards. But the new car has taken away all the edges he’s experienced at his favorite tracks like Darlington and Martinsville. And he had to scheme with differing pit strategies to win at Richmond. We’ll look to bet him next week at Kansas, but he’s saying all the right things this week. 

(Getty)

“I feel really good about where our team is at. We have as much potential as anybody in the field if we can just put it all together,” Hamlin said. “Darlington is obviously a great place to get that started with our history there. It would be nice to go in there Saturday, qualifying up front and be able to maintain that throughout the night Sunday. That’s easier said than done, but Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) and everyone on our 11 team is doing everything they can right now, so I’m excited to see it play out.”

Read More Here.....Top-5 Finish prediction on VegasInsider.com

2022 NASCAR Playoffs Grid

 


NASCAR Playoffs Predictions

 The green flag to the 2022 NASCAR Playoffs drops on Sunday at Darlington Raceway with 11 of the 16 qualified drivers having a chance to win their first Championship. That’s the thing that struck me first. We’ve got a lot of new faces that have been elevated in the sport with a big assist from the NextGen car and I love it. 

There are five first-time winners this season and they’re all in the playoffs. There are 16 winners overall during the first 26 races with the only one missing the playoffs being Kurt Busch who is suffering from concussion symptoms. It’s the most wide-open playoffs I’ve seen yet in all my years of following NASCAR. Just like the weekly races, anyone can win this thing.

We’re going to have 10 weeks of awesomeness with four drivers being eliminated from championship contention every three races until only four are standing for the Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 6.

Here’s a look at all the candidates to win in order of odds posted by Caesars Palace sportsbooks.

NASCAR PLAYOFFS PICKS & PREDICTIONS

Chase Elliott (5/2) stands alone to win the title. The 2020 Champion leads the series with four wins, 17 top10s, and is tied with two others with 10 top-fives. He’s shown to be good at all styles of tracks and doesn’t even have a road course win yet this season. Because he’s been great at Dover and Nashville, I can correlate that to win at Bristol and Phoenix. And because he won at his hometown track of Atlanta for the first time, I can suggest Las Vegas, Kansas, Texas, and Homestead might be possibilities for wins as well. His calm demeanor is his secret and it translates to running great races when he had only a good car. It’s going to take someone really special to beat Elliott in this format.

The 2021 Champion Kyle Larson (6/1) won 10 races last season. Then NASCAR moves to the NextGen car and now he no longer has an edge. He won at Fontana in Week 2 and Watkins Glen in Week 25, but he also had 10 top-fives showing that perhaps his struggles were more amplified by myself than reality. Would I bet him to win at these prices? No way. The only races I could see him doing well at are Bristol and Phoenix.

Ross Chastain (6/1) is the guy to watch. I’d hope to find better odds than what Caesars is offering but he’s got all the attributes of a cham[pion and it’s been a thrill to watch. After the Atlanta race where he was runner-up in Week 19, he had 10 top-fives to lead the series. He comes into the playoffs still with only 10 top-fives. He had some of his mojo taken away by veteran drivers trying to teach the young whipper-snapper a lesson. But he’s got to get back to being who is which is an aggressive driver. He’s one of my favorites to win it all.

Ross Chastain has failed to see a Top 10 result in seven straight races. (Getty)

Denny Hamlin (8/1) is the sentimental choice to win it all because he’s been so close in the past but never won it. It absolutely kills him inside that he hasn’t won and now he has to sit by all this week and throughout the playoffs to answer questions about how bad it hurts not to win one. “What would it mean to you to win the championship?” But this season hasn’t been great. The new car has made things tougher on him, especially at tracks he’s dominated in the past such as Darlington and Martinsville which are both in the playoffs. His win at Charlotte says he can win at Las Vegas, Texas, and Kansas. His Richmond win shows his team can do some differing pit strategies and try things outside the box to steal a win. His Pocono win taken away by NASCAR’s post-race inspection shows that his team is trying everything they can to find speed, and I like that. The unwritten NASCAR rule is that if you aren’t cheating, you’re not trying.

Read More Here.......Final 4 Prediction on VegasInsider.com

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Las Vegan Noah Gragson grabs best Cup finish at Daytona

 

Beard Motorsports and Noah Gragson

Score Career-Best Results

Gragson Wheels No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet Camaro to

Impressive Fifth-Place Finish in Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona

Date:  Aug. 28, 2022

Event:  Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Round 26 of 36)

Series:  NASCAR Cup Series

Location:  Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)

Format:  160 laps, broken into three stages (35 laps/60 laps/65 laps)

Start/Finish:  37th / 5th (Running, completed 160 of 160 laps)

 

Race Winner:  Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner:  Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-35):

●  Noah Gragson started 37th and finished 33rd.

●  The Las Vegas native opted to hang at the back of the pack to avoid being collected in one of the inevitable multicar accidents that typically happen at Daytona, running just outside the top-30 in his No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet Camaro.

●  Gragson successfully avoided a six-car accident on lap 32 and ran among the top-15 before pitting for four tires and fuel. He restarted 32nd with one lap to go in the stage and dropped one position before its conclusion.

●  Crew chief Darren Shaw brought Gragson down pit road for a fuel-only pit stop during the stage break.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 36-95):

●  Gragson started 20th and finished 28th.

●  The 24-year-old driver again opted to race outside of the top-30 during the initial laps of the stage.

●  Gragson joined his fellow Chevrolet drivers during a round of green-flag stops on lap 78. The team topped off his No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet Camaro and he returned to field in 28th, a position he maintained through the end of the stage.

●  Prior to the break, Gragson reported that he was bottoming out on the racetrack.

●  With the threat of rain, the team opted to pit twice during the break – once for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments and another to top off his tank with fuel before the start of the final stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 96-160):

●  Gragson started 30th and finished fifth.

●  Gragson wasted no time working his way up through the field, running 18th by the time the caution flag waved on lap 103 for an eight-car incident. During the caution, he pitted for fuel and right-side tires.

●  Gragson worked his way up to 17th by the next caution on lap 126 for a six-car incident. He pitted for tires and fuel.

●  The Beard Oil Distributing driver found himself in a hornet’s nest of racecars as the field frantically jockeyed for position with rain imminent. He was running 21st on lap 139 when a sudden cloudburst dumped rain in turn one and resulted to a 13-car incident. Gragson successfully avoided the melee and, after a three-hour and 19-minute delay, he restarted in the top-10 for the final sprint to the finish.

●  Gragson picked up five positions over the final 18 green-flag laps to finish an impressive fifth.

 

Notes:

●  This was Beard Motorsports’ best finish in the NASCAR Cup Series. It came in its 20th Cup Series start and its 10th at Daytona. Its previous best result also came at Daytona – a pair of seventh-place finishes in the 2017 Coke Zero 400 and the 2020 Daytona 500, both with former driver Brendan Gaughan.

●  This was Gragson’s best NASCAR Cup Series finish and it came in his 11th Cup Series start and his second at Daytona. In fact, in his 10 previous Cup Series starts – all of which have come this season – Gragson’s best result was 18th on May 15 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.

●  Austin Dillon won the Coke Zero Sugar 400 to score his fourth career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his second at Daytona. His margin over second-place Tyler Reddick was .128 of a second.

●  Dillon was the 16th different winner in the 26 NASCAR Cup Series races run this season.

●  There were seven caution periods for a total of 30 laps.

●  Only 10 of the 37 drivers in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  Chase Elliott won the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season championship.

 

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet Camaro:

 

“It was a strong run for this Beard Oil Distributing team. To come home with a top-five, that’s big for us. We were in a good spot running third there when the 2 (Austin Cindric) was out front and the 3 (Austin Dillon) was running second. It seemed like the 2 got loose and started down the racetrack and it was a hell of a save by Cindric, but that killed all our momentum. We were in a four-car breakaway – I thought I was going to set myself up to be in a pretty good spot and it just didn’t transpire. We had to regroup and come back for a fifth-place finish and we’ll take it. 

 

“Congrats to everybody at Richard Childress Racing and the ECR motor department. They help us out tremendously on this Beard Motorsports team and, with one employee, this is a pretty big deal to go up against these organizations with 500 to 600 employees. So for the goals that we have, the budget that we’re on, and the race team that we are, it’s pretty rewarding to be kicking yourself over a fifth-place finish in the Cup Series. Very grateful for the opportunity and appreciate all the fan support and for NASCAR for letting us go to the end. I just want to say congratulations to Austin Dillon and his team. It was a lot of fun.”

 

Next Up:

 

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Cook Out Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 4, at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The first race in the 10-race NASCAR playoffs starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by USA and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Gragson and Beard Motorsports’ next race is the YellaWood 500 on Sunday, Oct. 2, at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. That race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Daytona NASCAR Betting Preview: 2022 Coke Zero Sugar 400


This is it. Do or die for a couple of drivers. It’s the unofficial wild card round.

The NASCAR Playoffs begin next week but the field isn’t quite set yet and news of Kurt Busch giving up his playoff spot (concussion) makes two spots available adding a new twist to Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

The volatile nature of the high-banked 2.5-mile layout adds to the intensity with drivers having no wins on the season and outside the top-16 all expected to be more aggressive in an attempt to crash the playoff party. This means we should see more wrecks than usual.

COKE ZERO SUGAR 400 BETTING RESOURCES

Date: Saturday, August 27, 2022
Venue: Daytona International Speedway
Location: Daytona Beach, FL
Distance: 400 miles
Laps: 160
Network-Time: NBC - 7:00 p.m. ET
Defending Champion: Ryan Blaney

COKE ZERO SUGAR 400 PICKS & PREDICTIONS

Here’s what I’m thinking for Saturday’s race using the order of odds posted by BetMGM

Chase Elliott (10/1) - In 13 Cup starts at Daytona he has a 20th-place average finish with two top-fives, but no wins. However, he’s got top-10s in all four superspeedway races this season culminating with his first win on his hometown track in Atlanta. This dude has a championship vibe right now. Hey Chase, how are you feeling about getting another championship?

"The feeling is good, honestly,” Elliott said. ”Our group, amongst our team, is just such low drama and we just put our work in, we go to the track, we give it our best effort and we go home. If it went good, great. If it didn’t, we’re going to try harder to do a better job when we go back. That’s really all you can control. So that’s really where our mindset is every week whether we’ve had a good year, a bad year, a mediocre year, a good month or a bad month, coming off a win or a loss. That is something about our team. I’m super privileged to have a group of guys that have their priorities so straight that performance (is what matters) and putting things first that need to go first ahead of things that don’t matter in order to be successful. I feel like our team is just solid and we look forward to going to battle with each other every weekend, and regardless of the result, we’re ready to re-rack and try harder to do better the next week."

Denny Hamlin (12/1) - I cashed big with him in all three of his Daytona 500 wins, but the new has messed his JGR stuff up. No top-10s in any of the four superspeedway package races. But no one understands the draft better than him. He is able to propel himself faster using other cars. He’s got tricks, but may not have the car again.

Joey Logano (12/1) - The 2015 Daytona 500 champion is always a contender here because he has Team Penske equipment. In 27 Cup starts he has six top-fives, led 220 laps, and averaged an 18th-place winning. But he’s so much better in superspeedway races than the record shows. He’s always fighting with the leaders up front.

Kyle Larson (12/1) - I’m unhappy with him because he sunk my entire odds to win betting ship last week when he gave no room to Chase Elliott on the last restart at Watkins Glen. Some teammate. I know he was starving for a win after not winning since Week 2 at Fontana, but Elliott is a teammate that deserves more respect, and he said as much after a team meeting Monday. He has no wins at Daytona or Talladega. Bad luck always seems to find him. But he’s in the playoffs ready, so what’s the strategy this week?

"It’ll be interesting,” Larson said. “It’ll be a wild race – maybe not in the first two stages – but definitely in the last stage when drivers will be going for it. In our case, there are four or five of us close to second place in points. The No. 5 team can’t forget about that. We need to go chase points to try and stay up front all race long to finish second in regular season points and get those 10 extra bonus points. Our goal will be to get to the finish and beat those guys behind us in points."

Ryan Blaney (12/1) - Making a bet on him this week is tough because he doesn’t have to win. If I was in his spot I’d just hang back the entire race and give it a shot with five or 10 laps to go. But he’s a Penske guy, he won this race last season, and he’s won at Talladega twice. The fast pace decision-making of the superspeedway suits him. Or you could go with the angle of him tired of hearing he’s being bullied weekly and wins just for a statement. With Kurt Busch bowing out of the playoffs, both Blaney and Truex are in the playoffs as of now.

Bubba Wallace (14/1) - This is it. It’s do-or-die for him on his best track. Playoffs or not? He’s been runner-up the last two races at Daytona and has four top-fives in 10 starts. I’ve written the story before it happens. I love great stories in NASCAR, it’s what keeps me glued to each race every week. In this case, I know NASCAR wants Wallace to win so they can use his face in playoff promos. No conspiracy, but he’s shown over the years he can win in any car at Daytona, and won his first Cup race on superspeedway last season at Talladega. The team has had its best seven-week stretch ever coming in. Playoffs are what it’s all about and I’ve bet the most on him to win this week.  Wallace winning would be a great story and payday.

Read More Here...Top-5 Finish prediction on VegasInsider.com

Kevin Harvick is 25/1 to win to win Coke Zero Sugar 400

 

KEVIN HARVICK

Daytona Advance

No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

 

 

Event Overview

 

●  Event:  Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Round 26 of 36)

●  Time/Date:  7 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Aug. 27

●  Location:  Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway

●  Layout:  2.5-mile oval

●  Laps/Miles:  160 laps / 400 miles

●  Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 35 laps / Stage 2: 60 laps / Final Stage: 65 laps

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

 

Notes of Interest

 

●  There are more than 4 million miles of road in the United States, but none embody the love of driving more than famed Route 66. Yet the small businesses that are the lifeblood of the Mother Road need help. Mobil 1 aims to inspire a journey on the open road, specifically by exploring the small businesses of Route 66 and meeting people along its 2,400-mile path from the shores of Lake Michigan to Los Angeles, right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Route 66 crosses the country, connecting not only east and west, but past and present. Mobil 1 aims to Keep Route 66 Kickin’ with its recently debuted Mobil 1 Muffler Man – an homage to the larger-than-life Muffler Men that dot Route 66. Molded in fiberglass and polyester resin on steel frames that stand 14- to 25-feet tall, Muffler Men became icons of the Route 66 landscape – square-jawed men with arms outstretched promoting the business on which they stood. Now, Mobil 1 is taking its Muffler Man to promote the small businesses of Route 66. Its journey begins Aug. 25 at California’s Santa Monica Pier before visiting Seligman, Arizona, on Sept. 10 to see the world’s most milkshake flavors at Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In. It then travels to Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Sept. 24 to stand alongside the world’s largest corn dog at Clowndog Hot Dog Parlor before culminating its journey Oct. 9 in Litchfield, Illinois, to witness the most dogs attending a film screening at Litchfield Skyview Drive-In. Kevin Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) are helping Mobil 1 kick off its Keep Route 66 Kickin’ campaign with a special paint scheme in Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

 

●  When Harvick takes the green flag for the Coke Zero Sugar 400, it will be his series-leading 43rd NASCAR Cup Series start at Daytona. Harvick made his Cup Series debut at the track on July 7, 2001, starting 10th and finishing 25th, one spot ahead of his SHR car owner, Tony Stewart. In his 42 starts at the 2.5-mile oval, Harvick has won twice – the 2007 Daytona 500 and the 2010 Coke Zero 400 – and scored 11 top-fives and 16 top-10s while leading 283 laps.

 

●  Harvick’s 11 top-fives are tied with Denny Hamlin for the second most among active Cup Series drivers. Harvick’s 16 top-10s are also the second most among active Cup Series drivers. Kurt Busch is the leader in top-fives (13) and top-10s (18) at Daytona.

 

●  Harvick’s first NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona was one of the biggest of his career. Harvick won the 2007 Daytona 500 by edging Mark Martin for the victory by .02 of a second in a frantic, green-white-checkered finish. It remains the second-closest finish in Daytona 500 history, trailing only Hamlin’s .01-of-a-second margin over Martin Truex Jr., in 2016.

 

●  Harvick was efficient in his second win at Daytona. When he won the 2010 Coke Zero 400, Harvick started from the pole and led eight times for a race-high 28 laps to take the victory by .092 of a second over runner-up Kasey Kahne.

 

●  Harvick has proven prolific in the non-points NASCAR Cup Series races at Daytona. He is a three-time winner of the Busch Clash when it was held on the 2.5-mile oval (2009, 2010 and 2013) and he is a two-time winner of the Duel (2013 and 2019), twin 150-mile qualifying races that set the field for the Daytona 500.

 

●  Outside of the NASCAR Cup Series, Harvick has made 19 career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Daytona and three IROC starts. Of Harvick’s 47 Xfinity Series wins, only one is at Daytona – the 2007 season opener. And Harvick’s best IROC finish at Daytona is seventh, earned twice (2003 and 2004). Harvick is a two-time Xfinity Series champion (2001 and 2006) and the 2002 IROC champion.

 

●  The Mobil 1 branding on Harvick’s No. 4 Ford Mustang goes more than skin deep as the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand gives Harvick an added advantage. Mobil 1 products are used throughout his racecar and they extend beyond just engine oil. Power steering fluid, transmission fluid, gear oil and driveline lubricants from Mobil 1 give Harvick a technical advantage over his counterparts by reducing friction, heat and rolling resistance.Mobil 1 is a sponsor whose technology makes Harvick’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang faster.

 

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang 

 

You haven’t missed the playoffs since 2009. Is the key to that consistency your experience?

“Well, there are just different ways to race, right? There are different ways to solve the equation, and sometimes we’re going to run fourth, and we have to accept that and be able to say, ‘If we have a fourth-place car, we need to finish fourth.’ On the days when stuff is chaotic and there are cars torn up everywhere and you finish ninth with a 20th-place car, those are really big wins. I’ve done all that. I’ve been on that side of the fence where you’ve had 20th-place cars all year and you have to figure out how to make something out of it. They’re going to have the races, regardless, and you still have to show up. You can’t just quit because your cars are slow. So you just have to figure out how to manage that, and also manage it when you have fast cars, medium cars, know what you have that day and get the most out of that day.”

 

After one race already at Daytona and another at its sister track in Talladega, Alabama, do you have a good idea of what makes the NextGen car tick in the draft, or is there still a learning curve that’ll continue in the Coke Zero Sugar 400?

“It’s pretty straightforward now. It’s pretty basic stuff, and as we’ve gone through the first two races, you kind of know how hard you can push and shove, and things that you’ve done right and you’ve done wrong, so you should have a pretty good playbook at this point.”

 

Does blocking remain the necessary evil it’s seemingly always been when it comes to superspeedway racing?

“It is, and blocking’s just part of the game now. You have to utilize blocking and that’s usually what causes half the crashes, either pushing or blocking. And we usually wreck going straight. I don’t like blocking, but it’s a necessity. Blocking is something that has evolved over the years as people have figured out trying to time the runs, and people have figured out when you can block and when you can’t. It’s just a matter of putting yourself in a position where you think you’re making the right move, and sometimes you make the wrong move. It’s just a game of inches. It just really is a high-speed chess match that you have at 200 mph – and Saturday night will be absolutely no different. There will be a big crash. There will be mistakes made. There will be pit errors made. There will be strategy played. But I can promise you we’re all going to race in a pack – and that’s the way Daytona should be.”

 

What’s the patience level of drivers in the regular-season finale at Daytona?

“You see so many people on different agendas. It’s a chance for everybody to win. It’s a door wide open for everybody.”

 

Pack racing at Daytona is always dicey, but what is it like when it’s a cutoff race to make the NASCAR Playoffs?

“It’s a way different vibe. There’s not a better spot for it to be than Daytona because it is the ultimate saying – and you say it with an exclamation point – anyone can win, and that is never more true than at Daytona. Everyone knows going in that it’s their last-ditch effort to either make the playoffs or put yourself in position to score more points for the playoffs. Everybody kind of has that, ‘Screw it. I’m going for it,’ mentality in that particular race because they know whatever the scenario is, it’s the last chance to score points, it’s the last chance to put you in.”

 

Describe the intensity of racing at Daytona.

“You have to be aggressive just for the fact that if you’re not aggressive, it always seems like you’re not going to be where you need to be. Nine times out of 10, the aggressor is going to be the guy who comes out on the good side of things just for the fact that you’re making things happen and you’re not waiting for something else to happen. When you wait for something else to happen, that’s usually when you get in trouble because it’s usually someone else’s mess. It’s best to stay aggressive and try to stay up front.”

 

When you get to the halfway point at Daytona, is there a sense of accomplishment?

“I think as you look at it, if you can make it through the second stage, hopefully you’ve taken some points out of there, but you’ve at least made it through the second stage. It seems like, especially at the beginning of stage racing, we all kind of lost our minds at the beginning of the first stage, or at the end of the second stage. We’ve had cars torn up before we got started. We could find a way to wreck regardless, whether it’s the first stage, the first lap, the last lap. We can figure it out, you just never know when it’s going to happen.”

 

Denny Hamlin is 12/1 to win at Daytona Coke Zero Sugar 400

FedEx Racing Express Facts – Daytona International Speedway

 

Denny Hamlin

#11 FedEx Cares Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

 

On-Site Media Contact

Tyler Overstreet

980-722-3991

toverstreet@joegibbsracing.com

 

Saturday Race Info

Race: Coke Zero Sugar 400

Date/Time: Saturday, Aug. 27 / 7 p.m. ET

Distance: 160 laps / 400 miles

Track Length: 2.5 miles

 

Express Notes

Press Kit: Download the 2022 FedEx Racing press materials at www.fedexracing.com/presskit, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Chris Gabehart and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights and statistics.

Watkins Glen Recap: The No. 11 team finished 20th in last weekend’s race at Watkins Glen International. After starting 22nd when the race began on a wet track, Hamlin slipped back and eventually fell a lap down during stage one. He eventually rejoined the lead lap during the final segment and climbed to 20th when the checkered flag waved.

Daytona Stats: Hamlin is a three-time winner at Daytona International Speedway with all three victories coming in the Daytona 500. Overall, he has tallied 11 top-five finishes, including three in his past five starts at the historic 2.5-mile speedway. Earlier this year, Hamlin was running solidly inside the top 10 before being collected in a multi-car accident that ended his day prematurely.

Hamlin Statistics

Track: Daytona International Speedway

Races: 33

Wins: 3

Poles: 0

Top-5: 11

Top-10: 12

Laps Led: 635

Avg. Start: 16.6

Avg. Finish: 16.5

 

Hamlin Conversation – Daytona

What is your mindset going into this weekend at Daytona?

“We are going there with a lot of confidence knowing that we don’t really have to do anything special because we’re already locked into the playoffs. It’s a free race for us, so it’s an opportunity to go out and try to get a few more playoff points. I don’t see any reason why we should feel any pressure other than to go out there and try to win the race. I feel like this race is usually chaotic being the last race for guys to make the playoffs. I would say there’s going to be no shortage of wrecks and a lot of things will happen. For me, I’ve just got to be patient because I know I’ve got to make it to the checkered flag if I’m going to win the race.”

 

FedEx Cares / Accion Opportunity Fund: Hamlin’s FedEx Toyota Camry TRD will feature a special paint scheme this weekend to recognize FedEx Cares and the Accion Opportunity Fund. Together, FedEx Cares, e-commerce consultancy 37 Oaks and the Accion Opportunity Fund are providing entrepreneurs hands-on learning and a platform to ship their products across the country. Specifically, FedEx Cares is committed to strengthening minority- and women-owned businesses globally with the tools they need to succeed. FedEx is donating an additional $1 million to the Accion Opportunity Fund to help diverse small business owners in their transition to e-commerce as digital shopping becomes more common.

 

Back of the Yards Coffee: Hamlin recently visited Back of the Yards Coffee – a local coffee shop in Chicago and member of the FedEx E-Commerce Lab – to learn more about how FedEx and the Accion Opportunity Fund are working together to help small businesses. During their meeting, Hamlin surprised one of the shop’s co-owners, Jesse Iniguez, by inviting him and his family, as well as co-owner Mayra Hernandez to this weekend’s race in Daytona where the Back of the Yards Coffee logo will be featured on the TV panel of the No. 11 FedEx Cares Camry TRD.