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Coke Zero 400 at Daytona 

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Saturday 7:30pm TNT

Mmm Daytona under the lights on Saturday night. We know that these restrictor plate races can be a total crapshoot but there are in fact a handful of drivers that have found success at them. It’s like the WSOP Main Event of NASCAR races. Sure anyone can bust early but somehow Phil Hellmuth keeps finding his way to the money. Same thinking goes into a race at Daytona. Some guys just know how to navigate their way through these restrictor plate races.

Before we get into how to bet this race I just want people who watched the Nationwide race last night to know that you won’t be seeing tandem racing tonight. Unlike last night tonight will feature pack racing and we should be in for a few big wrecks. However like last night we will see a lot of pit strategy. Fuel is the most important thing on pit road. Tires and adjustments aren’t really needed here since the draft will determine how fast your car goes. No need for adjustments when your foot has the gas pedal pinned to the floor. In other words we should see some cars taking fuel only to get track position. Tonight is arguably the most fun race of the year. I’m giddy just thinking about it. Ok, now let’s win some money.

Stay Away from:

Matt Kenseth 10-1

He not only had luck on his side last weekend but he had luck on his side last night winning the Nationwide race at Daytona. Daytona doesn’t give out free passes very often just ask Tony Stewart who has won at Daytona 19 times yet has never won a Daytona 500.

Kyle Busch 13-1

Starting from the pole he should be able to run up front most of the day. But we all know the Busch blood lines and they say Kyle will wreck when the heat is on late in the race.

Michael Waltrip 33-1

Some might think he is a great value bet, but I’m telling you I came into this thinking he would be either a “Best Bet” or at least a “Best Longshot”, but he’s only 33-1. Yes he is really good at these races but he’s also a one man wrecking crew. Don’t forget about how the end of his full-time Cup career as a driver closed with wreck or an error every week. 33-1 just doesn’t have the value.

Best Bets:

Jimmie Johnson 13-1

I know, I sound like a broken record. Anytime you can get #48 at even 6-1 you are getting incredible value. 13-1 is off the charts, even in a race that’s a total crapshoot. Jimmie Johnson will almost certainly try to lead a lap early to get a bonus point and then drop to the back of the field. There will be several guys that will drop to the back in hopes to avoid “the big one”, before making their move to the front late. The #48 almost always does this and it always has me wondering why more guys aren’t trying to copy what they do. If the #48 is doing it so should you.

Clint Bowyer 16-1

Clint has won two restrictor plate races but he has never driven to victory lane at Daytona. Clint would love to grab his first win of the season and his first win at Daytona tonight under the lights. He has the 4th best average finish among active guys in these races so he knows how to get the job done here. He will be starting 3rd so barring something happening he will probably run up front most of the day. There’s two good places to be in restrictor plate races, the front or the back. When you find yourself in the middle of the pack is when you find yourself in trouble. Also worth mentioning that his two teammates, Truex Jr. and Waltrip will be lined up directly behind him at the drop of the green flag, so he should be able to start strong.

He also has this going for him... I’m in a salary cap fantasy NASCAR league with AP3 which I had been dominating the last six weeks with the same team. Last week I stupidly sold Bowyer and picked up Keselowski. Obviously Brad wrecked out last week lowering his value while Bowyer raised his. When I went to pick Bowyer back up and roll on with my original team I found out I was $0.1 short of being able to do so. So yah, look for him to have a solid night.

Carl Edwards 20-1

Carl has never won a restrictor plate race but we all remember having plenty of chances, like at Talladega when he went for his wild ride on top of Ryan Newman and then into the catch fence. He is better at these races than the stats say and that makes him at 20-1 the best value bet on the board well except for...

Greg Biffle 22-1

The Biff is a very underrated restrictor plate racer. He is arguably the best “pusher” in the game. That makes his 6-1 top 3 odds rather nice looking. He has won one of these things before and quietly finds himself finishing up the front quite often. In the last 10 restrictor plate races he has finished inside the top 6 eight times including a pair of 2nd place finishes.

Best Value Bets:

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 40-1

Granted he has only raced in three of these races in the Cup series before but he is just one of two guys with an average finish of 15th or better, the other... Dale Jr, but at 13-1 he won’t be seeing any action from this guy. Stenhouse however at 40-1 in a race he’s been good at in the small serving size we have in Cup and he proved he was great in these races in the Nationwide Series as well with three top 5’s in nine starts. As far as value bets go, he’s a gooda.

Paul Menard 48-1

Maybe you can call it a hunch but I love Menard at 48-1 today. Maybe my memory is leading me in the wrong direction here but I seem to remember him nearly always running well in these races before getting caught up in “the big one”. Point is in a race like this where really anyone can win you want to take guys like Menard who are underrated drivers. He is starting up front, 6th, and has run well in this race in the past finishing 14th last year and 8th the year prior. He’s also still very much in the thick of the race for The Chase. He will be gunning for a win to have a chance at racing in on points and to have a shot at a wildcard spot.

My Pick to win:

Tony Stewart 13-1

Where do I begin to make this seem like a legit pick and not a homer pick... oh yah let’s just get the fact that he’s a 19 time winner at Daytona out of the way. He is starting 13th and will take the green flag directly behind teammate Danica Patrick. Now that might not sound ideal it is nice to have a teammate to work with at the start of the race. Also he’s starting near Dale Jr. who has been one of his favorite drafting partners. He really needs to go hard to try and get that 2nd win otherwise he is going to find himself scrambling to grab a wildcard spot. This race has been circled on his calendar since the schedule came out. Tonight will be his night.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

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