NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series returns to action this Sunday with it first road race of the season at Sonoma Raceway in California. The start of this year’s Toyota-Save Mart 350 is set for 12 p.m. (PT) and the race will be broadcast nationally on FOX Sports 1.
Two weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway, Kurt Busch cemented his spot in the 2015 Chase with his second point-race victory of the year. Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced his way to a second-place finish and Martin Truex. Jr. remained hot by taking third.
Top Valued Favorite
Given the road course at Sonoma, drivers with experience in open-wheel racing always tend to do better in this race. That is why I am going with Jeff Gordon to finally post his first point race victory of the season as a 5/1 favorite to win on Sunday. It has been a tough go of it for the No. 24 car with Gordon racing in his final fulltime Sprint Cup season with just two top-five finishes, so this presents a golden opportunity to end the drought. The main reason I like Gordon’s chances in this race is a stellar driving record at this unique venue. He has won at Sonoma five times over the course of his storied career and he appears to be due for a sixth win after finishing second here the past two seasons.
Top Valued Contender
Another driver that has already shown that he can excel at Sonoma in recent history has been Carl Edwards. This season has not really gone according to plan for the No. 99 car with just one top-five finish through the first 15 point races, but the value in his 10/1 odds as my top contender this week lies in the fact that Edwards comes in as the defending champion of this race. Going back over his last four runs on the road course at Sonoma, he has placed third or better in three of those events. The other motivation heading into this race is that lone victory last season was enough to land this team in the Chase.
Top Valued Longshot
I went a bit deep down the list this week in search of solid value in a driver with longer odd by going with Paul Menard at 40/1 betting odds. The No. 27 car has been respectable this season with four top-10 finishes that has helped the team rise to 12th in the current standings with 421 points. This team knows that the only way it probably makes it into the Chase this year is with a victory and Sonoma might fit the bill. I am probably taking a deep flyer on this pick, but Menard’s past experience is also suited to this style of racing and he was competitive in this event last season with a fifth-place finish.
Betting Odds for Other Notable Drivers
Following Gordon as the favorite, there is a trio of drivers at 6/1 odds to win on Sunday consisting of Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr., who could be one of the most consistent drivers in the series this season with 14 top-10 finishes in 15 events. Next on Bovada’s list at 9/1 odds is AJ Allmendinger given his past experience in open-wheel racing. Jimmie Johnson has been listed at 10/1 odds and Clint Bowyer is also pretty high on the list at 12/1 given his past success on road courses.