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Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas

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Sunday 2pm on ESPN

As we get ready to go back to racing in Kansas, all the talk is that this is now a three team Chase. Last week Jimmie Johnson dominated closing the gap between he and Matt Kenseth to just eight points. Kenseth and Kyle rode up front almost all day long, each leading some laps and coming home 7th and 5th respectively. Through three races, those have been the three best cars and have earned sizeable lead on Gordon and Edwards whom are tied for fourth 39 points behind Matt Kenseth. But with seven races still remaining I think it’s too early to call it a three horse Chase. Too many weird things have happened to Johnson, too many mechanical problems have occurred for Kenseth and Kyle hasn’t exactly been the most consistent driver throughout his career. Actually as I type this Kyle just wrecked in practice and will be forced into a backup car, pushing him to the back of the pack to start the race. This is a big race for those three but it’s a bigger race for the other ten guys in The Chase. This race could make or break their season.

This race is going to be interesting. The 1.5 mile Kansas Speedway provides multiple racing lines allowing for passing on the track. However, the forecast calls for some chilly weather meaning the track should provide a ton of grip which should create a lot of green flag racing. That type of a race will make pit strategy, track position and fuel mileage very important.

Stay Away From:

Kasey Kahne 8-1

Kahne has been really good here. But he has been really bad as of late. Since finishing 2nd at Bristol Kahne has finishes of 36th, 14th, 12th, 27th, and 13th. Despite three top 5’s at Kansas in his last five races, he has never won here and he doesn’t exactly have the momentum in his favor to get that first win this weekend.

Best Bets:

Jimmie Johnson 3-1

Matt Kenseth +450

Well anyone that was hoping for a race that might tighten The Chase up, probably won’t be getting that this weekend. These guys are the last two winners of this race. They have won three of the last five Kansas races and have the top two average finishes in that span (Kenseth with a 3.2 and Johnson with a 4.6). Among active guys all time here, Johnson has the best average finish with a 7.64. They both have two wins here in their careers and both will have a nice shot at winning their third. Johnson will roll off third and Kenseth will roll off seventh. The short odds make them a tough bet but a strategy of betting just these two guys could net you a win.

Kevin Harvick 10-1

Starting on the pole almost assures this team of having a shot to do what they do best, ride around the front and close at the end for a win. 10-1 for Harvick when he is starting up front is a gift.

Carl Edwards 12-1

This week could make or break the #99 team. Along with Harvick Carl sits 39 points behind Matt Kenseth for the points lead and really can’t afford to lose any more. He needs to have a strong race to keep his championship hopes up.

Best Value Bets:

Clint Bowyer 20-1

Clint has never won here but he has been in the discussion the past few years. Last year he finished 6th in this race and 7th the year prior. He will be starting in the middle of the pack, which will make it difficult to get to the front, but facing a 51 point deficit, they now have nothing to lose. In a race that could be determined by fuel, I could absolutely see Bowyer stretching the window to earn his first win of the year.

Greg Biffle 25-1

Similar to Bowyer, Biffle faces almost a full race deficit to the leaders just three races in. Also like Bowyer, Biffle will be starting deep in the pack. But the Biff has won here twice before and has seven top 5’s in his 14 career starts here. The Biff has the Kansas pedigree to win this race and get him back into the conversation.

My Pick:

Brad Keselowski 18-1

What an awful year it has been for the blue deuce. Between the penalties, the lack of wins, and missing The Chase, it has certainly been a disappointing title defense for Brad. It’s time that they get something going in their favor even if it’s just building for next year.

Jimmie Johnson would be the easy pick here but Brad Keselowski has been great on these 1.5 mile tracks and after last week he should have a bounce back week. Kansas is a great track for him to do just that. He is second to only Jimmie Johnson in average finish with a 9.29 including one win and four top 10’s in his seven starts. This is the week they finally get to celebrate a little and earn their first win of the year.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

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