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Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte

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Downtown Charlotte is shut down for the Speed Street festival and thousands of drunken people are out getting ready for Sunday’s race. AP3 and I attended this event last year and I promise you, if you haven’t gone before, make sure you put it on your bucket list. They shut down two major streets to form a T and have two of the ends capped off by stages with bands constantly playing. In between there are different stands handing out booze and free shit with games and plenty of brand new Chevy’s. This is one hell of a good time by itself but once you’ve drank enough to not want to walk around anymore you can head on over to Dale Jr’s bar and ride the mechanical bull. As far as the race goes, it is one of the major events for a reason.

Stay Away From

Dale Jr 10-1

Somehow Dale Jr just has not been good at this track. While he has found some success on the other mile and a half tracks, he just hasn’t been able to figure this one out. This time through he sits at 10-1 in part because of his crazy fans but also because he was fastest in the first practice and qualified 10th. However, before you throw a few bucks down on him know that in 28 starts in Charlotte, he has only posted five top 5’s and has an average finish of just 19.43 and oh by the way, he has never won a race at this track.

Kurt Busch 20-1

How is he only 20-1? I wouldn’t bet him if he were 50-1. Before he attempts to navigate through 600 miles of the Coke 600 Kurt will have already raced 500 miles at Indy and then flying from Indy to Charlotte and then probably a helicopter ride to the track. There is absolutely no chance of him winning this race this year. Hats off to him for doing the double though, I like seeing guys try it like Tony Stewart did a few years back.

Best Bets

Kevin Harvick 4-1

AP3 and I witnessed him win this race one year ago. Everytime we come to Charlotte he has to be considered a contender. While his odds don’t provide a ton of value, he deserves that kind of recognition at this place, especially with the speed he has found this season.

Matt Kenseth 10-1

All the noise about how Matt and Jimmie haven’t won yes this season has overshadowed the fact that Matt Kenseth has been stellar this season and at mile and a half tracks throughout his career. In 126 starts on these types of tracks, Matt has posted an average finish of 11.90 which is only topped by Johnson’s 9.96. Also, since 2012 he has the best average finish with 7.91 and the most wins with five, in that time frame. 10-1 is fantastic value for a guy with that track record and with his only finish outside the top 13 being at Talladega. His great 2014 season might finally become public this weekend by grabbing his first win of the season and dumping the negative view of the public.

Joey Logano 12-1

Any guesses as to who has the best average finish among active drivers in Charlotte? That’s right, Joey Logs has earned that title through ten career starts. While he has never won in Charlotte, he has been fast. Combine that with the fact that he is starting inside the top 10 and has been bad fast all year long and you have yourself a great bet, especially at 12-1.

Kasey Kahne 15-1

15-1 for Kasey Kahne is rather baffling to me. He has the best average finish among active drivers with eleven or more starts in Charlotte at 11.40, and that includes four wins. I can still hear the lady sitting next to us last year cheering him on as he led 161 laps en route to a runner up finish. In the past seven trips to Charlotte his worst finish is 9th and he has won one of those races while finishing 2nd in both races in 2013. There are only two active drivers that have led more than 1,000 laps in there career at this track and they are Kahne and Jimmie Johnson. Also he will have the track position to lead some more since he is starting in row 2.

Best Value Bets

Carl Edwards 20-1

Carl has been good in this place. While he hasn’t been good enough to win any races he is almost always finishing inside the top 10. At 20-1 you are getting a driver that should be towards the front of the pack at the end, which is all you can ask for when betting a NASCAR race, especially at 20-1.

Tony Stewart 20-1

I know Smoke has struggled quite a bit this season but he has always been good in Charlotte. He has the sixth best average finish and only three drivers have led more laps at this track than he has. Now that the weather is getting warmer it is time for Stewart to heat up and build some momentum. This is a perfect opportunity for that #14 team to turn the tables and get things going in their favor. He probably won’t win but 20-1 is fantastic value for someone like Stewart in the Coke 600.

My Pick

Jimmie Johnson +350

25 career starts, six wins, twelve top 5’s, sixteen top 10’s and the most career laps led by active drivers. Those are Johnson’s numbers for Charlotte. That is flat out impressive. This time through he will be starting in pole position, so he will likely be adding to those already stout numbers. Last week I said that the #48 will be using the All Star race to work on their Coke 600 setup and that he did seeing as to how he was third fastest in practice before they earned the pole position. I know there isn’t a ton of value with this play, but only one driver can win the race. I know I haven’t been picking winners this year, but like Johnson I am about to turn the tables on the season and get some wind in the sails moving forward.


Friday, May 23, 2014

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