Richmond International Raceway is the final stop on NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series’ schedule in April for the running of Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400. The green flag is set to wave at 2 p.m. (ET) and the race will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
Jimmie Johnson made it two victories in a row with this past Monday’s rain-delayed win at Bristol. Clint Bowyer posted his second Top 5 run of the season by taking second and Kevin Harvick raced his way to a third-place finish. The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and long shot to win this Sunday’s race at Richmond based on betting odds as provided by 5Dimes.
Top Valued Favorite
A number of the Cup series’ top drivers are still looking for their first victory of the season, and I am betting on Kyle Busch’s +600 odds that he gets his name off of that list with a trip to the Winner’s Circle on Sunday. The No. 18 Toyota is sitting in 11th place in the current standings with a total of 214 points and through the first eight races this team has just two finishes in the top five to its credit. While a second-place run at Martinsville a few weeks back is an encouraging sign, the main reason I am going with Busch as a top-valued favorite this week is his solid track record at Richmond. He has won here four times over the course of his career, and his impressive 7.0 average finishing position includes a near-miss in this race last year as the runner-up.
Top Valued Contender
Matt Kenseth is another highly successful veteran driver who has gotten off to a slow start this season with just two runs inside the top five through his first eight events. However, he is also the type of driver whom you can only keep out of the Winner’s Circle for so long. Driving the No. 20 Toyota, he posted two victories last season on his way to a fifth-place finish in the final standings. Over his past four seasons in Cup series racing, he has laid claim to 14 checkered flags. The main reason I am going with Kenseth’s +1800 betting odds as my top-value contender is his solid showing at Richmond over the past few years. He has finished seventh or better in seven of his last nine trips around this track, including a victory in the second race here in 2015.
Top Valued Long Shot
I have gone with Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch as my top long shot a few times this season as a guy who does not seem to get any respect despite his performance on the track. He guided the No. 41 Chevrolet to a seventh-place finish in last year’s standings, and he has the ability to be a factor in any race he runs. This week Busch comes into Richmond as a prohibitive +5000 long shot, but I still see some solid value in his chances to actually pay off considering that he won this race in 2015. He placed 10th in last year’s event and eighth in the second race at this track later in the year.
Betting Odds To Win For Other Notable Drivers
Following Kyle Busch as the favorite, there is a logjam of +700 second-favorites starting with two-time winner this season Brad Keselowski. Kyle Larson is also in the group with a victory and four runner-up finishes on his 2017 resume. The other three drivers in this group are Harvick, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin. The three drivers listed as +800 third-favorites to win are Johnson, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr.Think You Know NASCAR? Drop Some Knowledge In Our Forum