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NASCAR Betting – RCR a good bet to challenge Johnson

Written by Matt Stevens   
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 20:30

Shelby American OddsSportsbook players have been looking for a challenger to Jimmie Johnson and the Hendrick stable, and this year’s team may come in the form of a revived Richard Childress Racing, even though they’ve downsized. Here’s who should run for the checkered flag in the Shelby American at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Shelby American Odds – Sunday, February 28, 2:00 PM ET

Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer are rated at +1500, and all three finished in the top eight last week at Fontana, behind eventual winner Jimmie Johnson.  Burton’s 9.8 finishing average in 12 races is the best among active drivers, and he has eight top-10s, along with back-to-back victories in 1999 and 2000. Harvick has three top-10s in nine trips to Vegas with a 14.0 finishing average, and Bowyer brings up the rear at 20.2, but last year’s second-place run should give him a boost of confidence. Burton and Harvick had cars that could win last week, while Bowyer was around the top 10 all day, and that’s encouraging after last year’s awful season in which all four cars missed the Chase, and they had to drop the No.07 and Casey Mears due to a lack of sponsorship.

Of course, everyone is still chasing Johnson at +400, and he won three consecutive races here from 2005 to 2007. Johnson may have won last year as well, leading a race-high 92 laps, but late-race contact with the wall relegated him to a 24th-place result.  Teammate Mark Martin finished fourth in California and comes into this race at +700, and he is one of four drivers, along with Burton, Jeff Gordon at +1000, and Bobby Labonte (in the field at +1800) to have started all 12 Las Vegas races. Martin won the first race here in 1998 and has nine top-10s, but also a pair of DNFs, one of which was a blown engine last year. Gordon won here in 2001 and has six top-10s, and finished 20th at California last week.

US sportsbook odds (US sportsbook review) can’t count out the JGR trio of Kyle Busch at +700, Denny Hamlin at +1000, and even Joey Logano at +3000. Busch won the race from the pole last year at his hometown track despite an engine change that sent him to the back, while Logano finished 13th in his first voyage to Vegas. Hamlin’s 22nd-place run was his first time outside the top 10 in four Las Vegas races. Logano finished fifth at California, while Busch finished 14th, while Hamlin faded to 29th.

You should bet on Jeff Burton on +1500, even though he hasn’t won in 43 races. Burton has been pretty consistent over the first couple of races, and was the car that Johnson beat out of the pits to take the lead last week. If Burton gets out front in clean air, watch out.

Handicapping pick: Jeff Burton

 
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