NASCAR’s Cup Series resumes on Sunday in Kentucky. This event calls for an unusual, but promising approach for bettors.
NASCAR Cup Series: Quaker State 400
Sunday, July 12, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. ET (FS1) at Kentucky Motor Speedway
Kentucky’s Quaker State 400 is so-called because, in completing 267 laps, drivers will have accumulated 400.5 miles. There are three stages. Stage 1 terminates at Lap 80, Stage 2 at Lap 160, and the race ends at lap 267. The starting lineup has already been determined. Kyle Busch will begin the race in pole position.
Keep in mind that the info for this track is only accurate as of 2016. In 2016, Kentucky’s Motor Speedway underwent a total repavement and partial reconfiguration, meaning that its track history before 2016 is irrelevant. Kentucky’s Motor Speedway is designated a tri-oval for its shape.
On the corners, the banking is noticeably higher than what we saw last week in Indianapolis during the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400. But the difference is not too stark. Turns 1-2 are banked at 17 degrees while the second corner, turns 3-4, is banked at 14 degrees. Meanwhile, the straightaway enjoys slight banking that progresses. This level of banking does more to encourage a driver’s speed.
Since we have seen so many races by this point of the season, we are more likely to locate patterns in driver performance. One certain pattern emerges in favor of Ryan Blaney, who has repeatedly delivered his best performances at 1.5-mile tracks. Charlotte, Atlanta, Homestead-Miami, and Atlanta all feature 1.5-mile tracks. He finished top-four in each track. At Las Vegas, a 1.5-mile track that is more similar to Charlotte and to Kentucky for its smooth surface, Blaney led late before a troubling decision to pit blew his opportunity.
My Bet: Why I Want to Focus on Kyle Busch
While sportsbooks are allowing us to bet on a winner, I would rather sacrifice some of the potential payout in order to make a safer bet on a top 3 finish. Although Blaney would be a fun long-shot betting option, it’s hard to take him seriously as a contender to win because, even in his best performances, he tends to do no more than just barely crack the top 3.
Kevin Harvick is favored and he immediately appears to be a salivating option given his recent performances. But Harvick has really struggled on this track. Based on average finishing position, he tends to perform better at 17 other tracks than he does at Kentucky.
So, I am looking at ways to profit by trusting Blaney and fading Harvick — especially when NASCAR oddsmakers release their match-up bets. My main focus, though, is on Kyle Busch. With my NASCAR Betting Picks, I want to invest in him to finish top-3.
I think that the inability to practice on this track should cause us to place more emphasis on a driver’s history at the track because he has to rely more on his previous experiences at the track since he cannot rely on practicing on it. This restriction will benefit Kyle Busch the most.
Busch did struggle with the new reconfiguration and repavement in 2016. But since then, he has figured this track out, placing 5th, then 4th, then second, in his past three races in Kentucky. If the pattern holds of him improving every year, then he will win on Sunday.
While Busch hasn’t performed well at many of the other tracks that are similar in surface and length, there are many others like him. Obviously, surface and length are not decisive factors for every driver as they seem to be for Blaney. One thing that does connect Kentucky to Busch’s other top tracks is a moderate degree of banking.
At all events, Busch understands how to thrive in Kentucky.