NASCAR is racing at an intermediate track for the second week in a row. Kansas is the fourth time that the regular racing package will be implemented this season. Does this consistency mean predictability?
As always, trust the data but also trust your eyes. Here are the best bets for the NASCAR Cup Series AdventHealth 400 at Kansas, which gets underway Sunday, May 7 at 3 p.m. ET.
After a mercurial start to the 2023 NASCAR schedule, the season shifts to a steady stream of intermediate tracks. To some, this might sound boring. To others, the consistent use of the intermediate-track package could lead to predictability and winning bets. The usual suspects ran up front last week at Dover. The cars that have been fast at Fontana (Auto Club), Las Vegas and Dover should be the drivers to target this Sunday at Kansas.
Race Winner — AdventHealth 400
Kyle Larson +500
Yung Money may not be a great fantasy pick, but sports betting is about picking winners. He’s a winner. Larson has finished on the lead lap five times in 11 races this season. He won two of those five races. The mechanical failures and wrecks are a problem, but it’s racing. All that matters are wins. His two wins are tied for the most this season. Had his luck been better, there is a strong argument that he could have six wins this season. Larson had the fastest car at Fontana and Las Vegas. The lap times do not lie, but a mechanical failure and late-caution spoiled his races. It might be a stretch to suggest that he could have won at COTA, but he was a contender before Bubba Wallace took him out. There was a lot of race left last week at Dover, but it looked like he had his usual Dover rocket ship. After three intermediate track races, Hendrick has given Larson the fastest car in every race. Kansas isn’t completely comparable to Las Vegas but it’s close. At Las Vegas, Larson recorded the fastest average lap time.
William Byron +550
Hendrick Motorsports has the cheat code. Byron couldn’t get the win at Dover but he led the most laps (193). Dover has been a good track for Hendrick but not William Byron. This is another clue that Byron has taken the leap towards elite. His wins at Las Vegas and Phoenix should be proof enough. Not to mention, he led 117 laps at Richmond. Picking winners is about speed and Byron and Larson have all of it. Luck and circumstance are unavoidable. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not. Dover did not work out for the Hendrick stable, but they once again had speed, and more often than not, the cars with speed win races.
Race Winner — AdventHealth 400
Ross Chastain +1400
Last week, Chastain was a pick to win at +1400 and came up one spot short at Dover. His Trackhouse Chevy has been competitive everywhere, but it’s been a threat to win in the intermediate-track package. If not for Martin Truex’s undercut and some rear-mirror driving by Kyle Larson late in the race, then Chastain could have won. As far as speed and aggression go, this is a very appealing pick. In terms of pay back, Chastain is going to be risky moving forward. He has rubbed too many people the wrong way. The garage hates the guy and always has. Every series, from Trucks to Cup, despise Chastain. And every time anyone mentions this, someone says, “but what about Dale.” He’s not Dale. Drivers did not retaliate against Dale. There will be pay back for Ross Chastain, and when it happens, those win-bet tickets will go straight to the waist bin.
Ryan Blaney +1800
Young Blaney — NASCAR needs to work on coming up with better nicknames — was fast last week. His average lap time of 23.8 seconds was the fastest. The same package will be implemented this week. Kansas and Dover are distinctly different, but if the No. 12 Team Penski Ford had speed last week, then the team should be able to build speed this weekend. Last season, Blaney got hot during the spring. His team built fast cars every week. They built fast cars for the intermediate tracks. We are entering the same schedule. Dover was just the beginning. Kansas has not been a great track for Blaney, but that’s a common assessment of all young drivers. They struggle until they don’t. Blaney had one top-10 finish at Dover and an average finish outside of the top 20.
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