The NASCAR superbus has been idling for nearly two weeks now and it’s time to crank her up again.
The previous race was at Michigan International Speedway and was won by Team Penske’s Joey Logano for his second win this season and the team’s fifth.
Kyle Busch is still Kyle Busch and leading the Monster Energy Cup Series in nearly every statistic possible including total wins with 4.
Well, we can pretty much throw all of those statistics out of the driver’s side window for this race.
It’s time for some road course action.
The Cup Series runs three road courses every year and as you might imagine, the results aren’t usually comparable to most other weeks when they drive real fast and turn to the left sometimes.
No offense to the NASCAR hardcores if you’ve seen the South Park NASCAR episode as my immediate and extended family comprises probably 20% of those fans.
Sound like a lot?
You must remember Virginia isn’t all that far from West Virginia.
Well, as much as he might disagree with you, Eric Cartman isn’t always right.
Sometimes America’s leading stock car drivers do actually turn the right every now and again.
Road courses are fun!
Chase Elliott secured his first Monster Energy Cup win last year at the winding Watkins Glen.
I would watch out for him this week in the NorCal desert as well.
Chase has one victory this season but a guy who hasn’t made the trip to victory lane since around this time last year at the aforementioned contest up in Michigan last June has owned Sonoma historically.
The Stewart-Haas team member Clint Bowyer finished third at this race in 2018 and has 8 top five’s in just 13 starts.
The odds do reflect such, however, as he joins Chase and Kyle Busch at just 6-1 dogs to take the checkered.
Picking a NASCAR race winner is never easy and this week will, no doubt, be any different so let’s put together a group of three drivers for your betting spread.
BetOnline has the odds.
Let’s get to the picks!
Chase Elliott: +600
The son of Bill is as much of a natural at this racin’ thing as one could imagine.
It took him just a little longer than expected, though, to get his first win on the big circuit but once he did, he has been one of the best.
In 2019, only drivers with the last name Busch and Logano have a better average finish than the Georgia-native.
Averaging a top ten is literally the model of consistency but he would really love to build on his lone victory this season as we are “racing” towards the halfway point of the season.
Forgive the dad jokes puns.
How many millennials are NASCAR fans anyway?
William Clyde doesn’t nearly have the sample size of races here are his more experienced track foes but with two top tens including a top five ending in just three starts with an average finish of 11th, we know he should definitely have a chance at the end.
In the three road courses raced in 2018, Chase started in the top five in each with an average finish of under 4.
As you might imagine, that was best among Cup Series drivers.
With 5 top five finishes in his last 6 races including a victory, Elliott is for sure a solid pick at this week’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Sonoma.
Martin Truex Jr: +450
Not much of a payout, no, but he’s actually not the favorite.
Stewart Hass’s Kevin Harvick holds that position this week.
I really really like what I’ve seen from Truex Jr this year, though.
Ever since he joined forces with Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin on Joe Gibbs Racing, he has seen a resurgence in his career.
The New Jersey-native is tied with Brad Keselowski for second in season wins just one behind Kyle Busch with 3.
But, we are chucking the season stats out the windah’, though, like a dying cig, right?
Okay, fair enough.
Marty is the defending Sonoma champion and was in the position to win all three road races in 2018 before a couple of unfortunate events.
He was spun out by his not so best good friend Jimmie Johnson on the final lap at the Roval in Charlotte and ran out of gas battling Chase Eliott on the final lap at Watkins Glen.
Three career road wins is near best among active Cup Series drivers and it’s good enough for me.
Take my money, Jersey boy.
Clint Bowyer: +600
The driver of the Stewart-Hass #14 Ford Mustang is now 40 years old but that’s clearly not scaring me off of Clinton Edward this week.
His history as road courses, as I said a minute ago, is very impressive and he’s easily more successful than on the classical tracks.
He doesn’t always have the fastest car or best qualifying round as he averages nearly 16th for a starting position.
No other driver comes close to his positions gained throughout, though.
Bowyer is averaging a tenth place finish jumping up 6 spots on average per road Sunday.
That tells me he is probably best at passing on the road courses which is an art in and of itself on narrow winding roads.
It makes you think some of his ancestors or possibly himself ran a mason jar or two of moonshine a time or two.
That is how this whole thing started in ol’ Franklin County, Virginia.
One of our other picks, Chase Elliott, has some good numbers, yes, but with not very many opportunities.
Clinton has been this consistent with 13 starts.
He leads all active drivers with 8 top five finishes when given the opportunity to turn right sometimes.
Let’s see if the old man can get his first win of the season in Sonoma this week.
Ah, road courses…
We only get the opportunity to experience them three times out of the 36 Monster Energy NASCAR races every year.
I myself love them.
Turning to the right with some weaving and winding requires a completely driving different skill set to be successful.
The lovers of pure speed may be annoyed because of how much these guys have to slow down going into turns but it’s just once every few months, guys.
As bettors, this gives us the chance to capitalize on some of the road course specialists like Clint Bowyer.
Our other two picks are just as successful on the larger ovalish tracks but still run these very well.
Sit back with a cold one this weekend and get your picks in by Sunday afternoon at 3 Eastern and let’s hopefully get paid!