By Jerry Jordan, Editor
Well, Michigan was a huge success with Kevin Harvick taking the checkered flag and sending my longshot bettors to the payout window with +2500 odds, so what’s the plan for Richmond Raceway? Who’s the favorite? Who’s the longshot?
Almost nothing from practice transferred over to qualifying at Richmond this week and with Kyle Larson on the pole and extremely fast, it is a difficult decision not to pick him for the win. After all, he sits on the pole and the WynnBET Sportsbook has him at +650 odds, which would be a good payback for one of the favorites. However, this week, I think I am going with the actual favorite because this driver is in a near must-win situation if he wants to make the playoffs. Sure, he could point his way in if Ryan Blaney has a disastrous couple of weeks. And, as always, I am ready to put my money where my mouth is and bet on Martin Truex Jr. at an underwhelming +550 odds.
Truex was the fifth-fastest in practice with a speed of 116.782 mph. He followed that up with a qualifying run of 116.204 mph – one of the only four drivers to show consistency from practice to qualifying. Truex goes into the race looking to extend his three past wins to four and lock himself into the NASCAR Playoffs.
Moving on to this week’s mid-tier value pick, it’s another tough call but this driver also needs a win to lock himself into the playoffs. Yes, it is true, that is there are no more new winners, he will be in on points but he will be the only one, so a trip for Blaney to victory lane would be great for him and give bettors +1200 odds. That’s a $60 return on a $5 bet for a guy who was able to pick up his practice speed into qualifying by more than a mile per hour, despite getting into the wall on his first lap. The dynamic between he and Truex could come into play at Richmond.
Blaney started on the pole for the first Richmond race of 2022 and finished seventh. It was a good run but he may have left a little on the table, so to speak.
This week’s longshot bet is probably going to shock some people but how big would it be for a rookie fill-in driver to get a win in the NASCAR Cup Series? At +4000 odds, I like Ty Gibbs’s chances of parking the No. 45 in Victory Lane for Kurt Busch and 23XI Racing today.
Busch was supposed to be racing today but continued symptoms from his lingering concussion have him sidelined, again. I still remember Busch’s first win at Richmond in the Crown Royal car. I didn’t make any bets on the races back then but I did enjoy the bottle of Crown that I was able to score.
In the modern era of racing, Jamie McMurray is the only driver we can come up with who was a rookie filling in for a Cup driver and then went on to win. Tiny Lund also did it in 1963 at Daytona, I believe. Gibbs could repeat history today and it’s not too much of a stretch to think it’s a real possibility. After all, I did pick Harvick as the longshot winner last week. It was never unreasonable that Harvick could win at Michigan – he’d done it before. What was unreasonable was that his odds were high enough that he would be considered a longshot. Full-disclosure, I also had Harvick picked at +1100 to finish in the Top 3 last week.
If you don’t think Gibbs can get it done, here is another suggestion for a longshot pick. That Jones boy – Erik Jones – was fast in practice and qualifying – staying in the Top 10 for both. He starts the race in ninth and after recently extending his contract at PettyGMS Racing, a win would put him in the playoffs and be the icing on the cake. He sits at +6000 on the WynnBET odds sheet.
Remember, my suggestions are based on what I see at the track and from past performances by drivers. It’s called gambling for a reason and there is no guarantee the drivers I pick will end up in victory lane. If you can’t afford to bet, then don’t. And if you aren’t 21 years of age, you cannot legally gamble, so don’t even think about it. Should you have a problem with sports betting or other forms of gaming, you can get help at 1-800-522-4700.
Federated Auto Parts 400 – Richmond Raceway
|Martin Truex Jr
|Bubba Wallace Jr
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr