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Sylvania 400 at NHMS 

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Sunday, 1pm, ESPN

Round 2 of the 2013 Chase. After a rough start for NASCAR’s postseason, Kenseth proved victorious. All the pre-season Ait Titan talk and nobody seems to bring it to the track. It seems to be too expensive for the track owners to pay for up front, but it’s the frigen Chase let’s get it together. While the Air Titan can’t stop it from raining it could have allowed us to go back to racing closer to 8pm EST instead of 10pm. However after a somewhat boring first half of the race, the second half delivered with some excitement. That excitement should carry over into this week where the racing up at Loudon has been shockingly exciting in recent years. This one figures to be no different.

Before we get to the best bets, I wanted to just mention what has been talked about quite a bit this week, a NASCAR halftime of some sort. Obviously nobody wants a 5 hour break, but there is something to be said about running maybe just under halfway (in case rain rolls in), then a bit of a break and then running the remainder of the race. It could allow drivers to really work with their crews to figure out what they want to do to their cars coming out of the break for the rest of the race. While it may create a first half run of guys not being too aggressive, it could also create a heck of a second run.

It could also be fun for fans to watch the first half unfold and then get to hear interviews from the drivers as to what should be expected from the second half. It may also force the hands of most sportsbooks to allow for first and second half wagering, which there should already be live NASCAR betting on every sportsbook, but that’s another topic altogether.

The arguments against it would be that people may not watch the first half, but it could bring in a bunch of new fans who don’t want to sit down and watch a full race. It may not work for all races but it certainly is something the board should look into, along with midweek races, during the offseason.

As far as Loudon goes this week, we will witness a race of just over 300 miles on a shorter, flat track. It isn’t easy to pass, so track position and strategy comes into play. Also it appears that there will be more weather this week, but it shouldn’t create another long mid-race delay, instead it could just push the start of the race back a bit, and ruin the tailgating experience. Either way these NHMS races have gotten progressively more and more fun as the years have gone by. While Loudon probably doesn’t deserve a Chase race, this should be a good race.

Stay Away From:

Jeff Gordon 8-1

Call it a hunch if you want, but the #24 team just doesn’t feel like a winner to me this week. While he has run very well in Loudon and is starting 3rd, I just don’t feel 8-1 is enough value to take Gordon to win, seeing as to how he hasn’t won yet this year.

Joey Logano 20-1

Joey Logs got his first career win in a rain shortened race here a few years ago. But if you take that out of the fold he has an average finish of just under 20 and only one top 5 in the other nine times he has raced here. Yes he has been hot and is starting in 6th, but at a tight track, and with a target on his back, he may get spun out, by a number of guys. Logs is still a stay away and will remain on this list until someone takes him out. It could be this week, even if it isn’t 20-1 isn’t nearly enough value for me to take him to win this one.

Best Bets:

Jimmie Johnson +450

Johnson comes into this race 3rd in the points standings, three behind Kyle for 2nd and eleven behind Kenseth for the lead. After finishing the regular season with finishes of 40, 36, 28, and 40, with a top 5 last week at Chicagoland to kick off The Chase. He battled back after being held up by a NASCAR official who made a mistake on pit road, to get the good finish. This week he starts 11th and looks to get the lead back at a track he has been great at. In his 23 races here, he has won three times and holds the second best average finish among active drivers. This may be the week to get the #48 back to his winning ways, en route to a sixth championship.

Kyle Busch 6-1

This hasn’t been one of Kyle’s best tracks, but he has won here before and his one win seems like too few. He will start outside of Jimmie Johnson in 12th, and will try to make up for back to back finishes outside the top 10 in this particular race. He has some momentum behind him for a change and doesn’t look like he’s on the verge of running out of gas due to the big schedule he likes to run. If Kyle is going to win this championship, I think he will have to win this race.

Kurt Busch 12-1

Kurt has been pretty much hit or miss in New Hampshire. Despite his three wins, he has an average finish of outside the top 15. This time through, Kurt actually has quite a bit of momentum behind him. He has three straight top 5 finishes and five out of the last seven. Also, only one of those non top 5 finishes resulted in him finishing outside the top 10. He will roll out 4th tomorrow and should be a factor for the duration of the race. While I could absolutely see him forcing the issue and wrecking himself, yet again, I think he is actually may get the job done and win this race. Unfortunately it will be the high of The Chase for this #78 team as they will fizz out as the season wears on.

Best Value Bets:

Martin Truex Jr. 30-1

There is so much on the plate of Martin Truex Jr. right now. It seems like it would be nearly impossible for him to be able to shake all the off track stuff and win this one, but it would be fitting wouldn’t it? Little prediction for me… as Napa has come out and said they will cease sponsorship of Michael Waltrip Racing, due to the Richmond snafu, I think they will be gunning to take over sponsorship of the currently named Nationwide Series when they move onto bigger things after next season.

Juan Pablo Montoya 50-1

Sure, the likely scenario here, is that Juan goes unnoticed in his final nine NASCAR races, but you know he will be gunning for a win in each of them with Indycar racing in his future for 2014. This definitely isn’t his best track, but these shorter tracks are really the closest you get to road course racing without actually turning right.

My Pick:

Ryan Newman 25-1

The last time I recall Newman winning the pole here he won the race in a race dominated by SHR. He and owner Tony Stewart started and finished 1-2. Newman knows this track as well as anyone and could get his fourth win. It just seems silly to have him at 25-1. He is the best value on the board and he will win this race.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

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