NASCAR makes their way to the middle of America in BBQ country for the Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
If you ask me, I think the Pig on Beale Street in Memphis has the best BBQ in the country. I did a self-guided tour once that began near my former home in North Carolina through Tennessee over the Mighty Mississippi and headed south to TX after hitting KCK for Arthur Bryant’s and Gates.
The heartland is just a little too hearty for me, to be honest. It’s either that or I just don’t like the burnt ends. They should really refer to the middle of the country as “Heart attack land” instead because I’ve never had such thick gravy in a diner and that’s coming from a country boy from Southside of Virginia.
Texas was solid, but I liked the steaks at The Big Texan in Amarillo more than anything.
Oh yeah, NASCAR. Sorry guys. I guess I should’ve eaten dinner before writing this. It’s either that or I’ve been away from American food for too long.
This isn’t a food blog, so I apologize but Memphis is king, though. Just don’t stray too far from Beale Street at night…or during the day. It’s a rough town.
For NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series, it’s been a few short tracks then we hit some pack action down in Talladega before last week’s race in Dover, Delaware.
The Monster Mile, as they call it, was won by Martin Truex Jr who took home his second victory of the season and third overall at Dover while Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman was the runner-up for the second straight week.
Here’s a quick synopsis highlight for you guys if you missed it.
This week will be a 1.5-mile track but don’t expect too high of speeds as the new aero package will slow things down quite a bit.
The Monster Energy Cup Series’ leader in nearly every statistical category in 2029, Kyle Busch, recently came out and expressed his opinion on the change and it wasn’t the most positive or friendly of spoken thoughts.
Many fans of other drivers thought he should have been fined but he has a voice, so…
Kyle has a victory here back in May of 2016 and will be looking to shut the haters up while remaining on top of the Series for at least one more week.
BetOnline has the goods this week.
So, let’s get down to picking some drivers for your betting spread.
Kyle Busch: +400
The Las Vegas-native is mad, yall. While he has been outperformed in Kansas by drivers like Truex Jr, Harvick, and Joey Logano, The Cup Series points leader is the favorite for a reason.
Busch hasn’t cracked the top 8 since his win in Bristol a month ago. In my eyes, he has something to prove and is on a mission this week to shut up the haters.
Kyle has an average finishing position this season of 5th! That’s nearly 3.5 spots higher than the next driver on the list, Joey Logano.
He’s not just some middle of the pack guy either, though. He’s the best, so why not take him even though his payout is fairly low (+400) for NASCAR standards.
Martin Truex Jr: +600
The former member of the Big 3 is ranked third is most major statistical categories behind Kyle Busch and Team Penske’s Joey Logano. So, at least thus far this year, you could say that we have a new Big 3.
Hold your lug nuts, though, guys. We are still on our first round of track visits. The final race of the year still isn’t until November, so we have many miles to go.
Truex Jr is having a better start to 2019 than he was having a year ago.
He has 8 top fives and two wins in his 21 starts in the heartland. That’s just as good as anybody else running this week minus Ol’ Jimmie Johnson who none of us are really worried about.
It’s still pretty remarkable that even after years of barely showing up in the top ten, Jimmie Johnson is still king on the historic stat sheet for active drivers at nearly every track on the circuit.
Give the New Jersey native Martin some love this week and throw him on your betting card.
Joey Logano: +800
I’m really going out on the proverbial tree branch this week with my picks.
I’m taking the top three drivers for the season in NASCAR, but I’ll throw you a sleeper in a minute.
Joey was already a phenom before the end of last year but by Thanksgiving, he established himself as one of the very best drivers on the track at all times.
His Ford team has been racing great and taking care of each other very well. His fellow Penske guys Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney rank 6th and 7th in average position at any given point in a race.
Ryan Blaney hasn’t been able to finish as well as the other two guys and even though a lot of experts really like him this week, he’s going to have to prove that he can gut it out in the final stage before I pick him over one of his teammates.
Denny Hamlin: +2200
I don’t think it takes more than a week to get over carbon monoxide poisoning, so the man from my home state of Virginia should be ready to rock.
If you didn’t hear about what happened last week, here’s a quick video to catch you up.
Thank whomever he had the alertness to get himself out of there. I’ve always heard that’s the easiest way to go. You don’t even feel any discomfort or pain, just sleepiness.
Luckily, sleepy is not something these drivers are used to feel when they are rocking nearly 200 MPH.
Denny has 2 wins this year with three 5th place finishes in his last 6 races and has a better average finishing position than the aforementioned Kyle Busch and Joey Logano at Kansas.
He probably has the most valuable odds of any driver in the field this week and he already has an emotional win this year.
Let’s root for him to get another and you to clear over 100 bucks on a 5.00 bet!
It’s no secret that the popularity of NASCAR has fallen off the past several years like a Mariano Rivera split-finger.
Okay, maybe it is a secret because fewer people are caring.
There’s money to be made, though, as it remains one of the more consistent and predictable sporting events to bet on even though a driver can wreck on the last lap after dominating for the previous 300 and you’re left with nothing.
There is a core group of drivers, though, that usually take the checkered flag from week-to-week.
That’s who I’m sticking with this week and Denny is a sleeper…
Sorry, my VA brother.
Let’s get a win this week!