Wow, what an exciting start to the 2020 NASCAR season!
Daytona doesn’t disappoint!
The best news is not that we picked Denny Hamlin at 9 to 1 but that Ryan Newman walked out of the hospital the other day holding his daughters’ hands.
I was seriously worried that he could have died from that crash. It was horrendous!
In case you missed it, there were several restarts in the final 10 laps including the final restart which was in overtime.
Denny Hamlin was looking strong in each one but on the final go, Ryan Blaney got together with Ryan Newman and they both zoomed by him.
Hamlin quickly caught back up to Blaney and gave him a little bump draft/clip that had him ever so slightly out of control and he did the same to Newman who immediately went airborne and the rest was ugly.
Here’s a recap of the entire race.
Celebrations were muted for the Joe Gibbs Racing team and 3rd time Daytona winner Denny Hamlin.
Ryan Blaney, even though the crash wasn’t really his fault, seemed visibly shook up in his post-race interview.
Newman did suffer some broken ribs which will sideline him for a little while but the man is old school so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in the driver’s seat in less than a month.
Denny didn’t really have the fastest car on Sunday/Monday.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr had a rocket ship but caught some bad breaks. Joey Logano was really fast, perhaps too much so as he bump-drafted a driver into his teammate Brad Keselowski causing him to wreck.
“Bad” Brad along with Kyle Busch had the quickest race car.
I would look out for both men at this weekend’s race in Las Vegas.
If the pool isn’t imperative, you should visit Sin City in February.
The 6 weeks of winter is over and the very beginning of Spring is one of the most comfortable times weather-wise in the Valley.
45-50 degrees out but with minimal wind and maximal sunshine just feels amazing. This is especially true if you’ve been suffering through 3-4 months of frigid conditions already.
Martin Truex Jr won here in the Fall and Joey Logano took the checkered flag this time last year.
I have an eye on Marty from New Jersey, for sure, but 3-time winner Brad Keselowski may be the bet to make.
BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for us this week.
Let’s go ahead and get to the betting odds and predictions for NASCAR’s Pennzoil 400 and don’t forget to take a look at my UFC Fight Night 168 betting preview if you want to have more fun this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr: +500
Even though Kyle Busch won the Monster Energy Cup Series Championship last year, it’s difficult to argue that anyone had a better year racing overall than his teammate Martin Truex Jr.
He just doesn’t race well at Daytona. That’s why you didn’t hear anything from us about him last week or at the race either as he DNF’d in 32nd place.
I don’t think you can take too much from that performance, though, from any of the drivers in the field, really.
It was a hot mess.
I’ll take the (+900) win to kick off the year, sure, but just because a driver had a bad finish last week doesn’t mean they are in any way likely to underperform this Sunday in Las Vegas.
In 16 starts in Sin City, Marty True has 8 top tens including 5 top fives and a couple of wins.
Only Brad Keselowski and Jimmy Johnson have more victories here among active drivers.
The newest member of Joe Gibbs Racing now has a target on his back again, so there’s that.
Marty also has a new crew chief but they hired from within and the new guy studied under the former chief.
There might be a few bumps in the road for Truex and his team but I wouldn’t reach too much into that.
Joey Logano: +800
Joey Lo was looking good last week before disaster struck.
The #22 Ford Mustang did not finish but as we mentioned a moment ago, there were plenty of top drivers who were knocked out of the Great American Race.
You can argue that no current driver outside of Jimmie Johnson has raced Las Vegas better than the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series Champion.
In only 13 starts in the desert, Joey has 9 top tens, 5 top fives, and a victory.
Sure, his teammate Brad Keselowski has 3 wins in the same amount of appearances but I worry about Keselowski this week as he is employing a new crew chief with questionable experience.
One stat that jumps off the page to me is Joey Logano’s average finish at this track.
8th place is incredible!
I believe we were talking about the average finish at Daytona and 16th was best out of all the current drivers.
That may point more towards the unforgiving nature of Daytona than it does the safe predictability of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, though.
Joey’s teammate Ryan Blaney is the only other driver who has an average finish inside the top ten and that’s 9.9 in just 7 starts.
I love the way he was running last week and it took some lightning-quick reflexes from Denny Hamlin and just perfect racing overall to defeat him in what was the second closest Daytona 500 finish of all-time.
Let’s hope the #22 gets it done this week.
Ryan Blaney: +2000
Sure, there is the issue of where his head is at after he bumped a guy and the crash nearly ended his life.
There are a couple of reasons I like Blaney this week in Vegas, though.
- Ryan Newman recovered well and seems to be doing fine despite those rib injuries which can be hell
- His car from last week is still intact. The team didn’t have to scramble on a short week to get him into another vehicle
The 20 to 1 odds are also too good to ignore for a driver who has done nothing but race this track at a very high level in the past.
7 appearances here, 5 of which were top-ten finishes, and 3 of those were top 5.
Sure, I think his Penske teammate Brad Keselowski may have a slightly better shot at victory lane but Brad isn’t 20 to 1.
2020 could be a big year for the young Blaney. We have to remember that he is only 26-years-old and this year could be a coming-out party for him.
Whew, Daytona is behind us!
I was thrilled to get the victory and I hope you guys made the (+900) bet on Hamlin but mine and everyone else’s mood took a downward turn immediately after seeing what happened to Ryan Newman.
I was watching the race with my Dad as NASCAR is really the only sport he seems to care about. He is a long time fan of Ryan Newman and as I jumped for joy for our home state’s Hamlin, he cried out “OMG, I hope Newman’s okay!”
We were watching the Daytona 500 together when Dale Earnhardt lost his life. Neither he nor I were fans of the Intimidator so seeing his wreck on the last lap was, at least for a second, a joyous moment.
This past race was eerily similar in uncertainty for his well being but I am thrilled it didn’t turn out the same way.
As for our picks this week, it’s tough. There are several top drivers who race Vegas very well and with it just being the second race of the season, it’s difficult to get a bead on who’s likely to be there in the end.
With a shakeup of new crew chiefs around the top of the sport, this next month or so will tell us a lot about who to look out for as the season progresses.
I like Logano and Blaney this week. The Fords have always done well here and each driver has an average finishing position inside the top ten.
Then there’s Marty True, the gold standard of consistency.
I had to show him some love.
Until next time, guys, enjoy the race and get those bets in now!
Let’s make it two weeks in a row picking a winner!