The Monster Energy Cup Series Playoffs are finally here! I’m very excited. It has been a fun year in the NASCAR world but somewhat predictable with the top three drivers winning about 70% of the races, although we did see some other drivers come on late in the season.
What is the South Point 400 you say? This will be the first year of this race. The third week in September race was formerly at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but alas it has been moved to sunny Las Vegas, Nevada.
The South Point Hotel and Casino was my home away from home for over 3 years when I lived just about a mile away. In the mornings, we would run there and then run the stairs a few times before Muay Thai class down the street.
After class, my coach would have me drop him off there so he could play blackjack. Sometimes I would stay and just hang out in the sportsbook the whole time because if he lost, he was going to need a ride home.
One time, though, he definitely did not lose. He was playing 5 dollar-a-hand blackjack and lost his final chip but the dealer didn’t notice with all the people playing.
He then took 5 bucks and turned it into 20,000.00 dollars within an hour. I have never seen anything like it. It felt like a movie to me.
Every time we went back to the South Point, which was nearly every day, we ate a free buffet and they always had a room for us.
Ask anyone who lives in Vegas, and they will tell you that the South Point is awesome.
One of the owners is a former NASCAR driver, and I’m excited to see the casino representing a NASCAR Vegas race.
It’s playoff racing time, boys!
Let’s get to these odds, find the best value, and make some picks.
Odds to Win the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
This should look familiar to you if you have been reading my NASCAR blogs this season or just checking out the odds on your own. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are always at the top with Martin Truex Jr not far behind. Then it’s a big jump to Larson and Keselowski followed by the few guys that were able to secure a victory this year.
Kyle Busch has a victory on his hometown track but it was way back in 2009 and is 4th in laps led among active drivers in Sin City.
Kevin Harvick has been more impressive winning last year’s race in a Ford and won in 2015 with a Chevrolet. Kevin has 5 top-five finishes in 18 races in Vegas with Kyle putting up 6 in 14 races.
Both drivers are good and perform well here. That seems to be the case with Busch and Harvick wherever NASCAR goes.
These two haven’t performed the best among active drivers, though, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In fact, there are 8 active drivers with a better average finishing position at this track than those two.
In just 4 starts, Ryan Blaney (-2200) has 3 top ten finishes including one victory. I would definitely keep an eye out for him.
Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin have all run well here but have yet to secure a trip to victory lane in the North Vegas desert.
Brad Keselowski (+1000) actually has the best winning percentage of any active driver in Vegas. In just 10 races, he has two victories. We know he has been running very well lately, so counting him out could be a mistake.
My super sleeper, though, is the future hall of famer Jimmie Johnson. No, he hasn’t won since 2010 but has finished in the top six 4 times since then. With 4 total wins, you can’t count out the wily veteran.
His odds are rather rewarding with little to no risk, so why not put a few bucks on him at (+5000).
No other active driver has led more laps in the last 5 races in Las Vegas than Mr. Truex. His odds are slightly more valuable than usual this week at (+425), so give him some love.
The playoffs will finally be underway this week in New Hamp…wait we’re going to Vegas?
“But, I was really looking forward to New Hampshire.” said no one ever.
It’s Vegas baby. The weather is still hot and the track is already scorching for the upcoming South Point 400 on Sunday.
Points will be as important as ever. So will we see elite drivers holding a bb tight between their cheeks for 400 miles or will we see ‘em cut loose like the moonshine runners in Franklin County, VA did to get this whole car racing profession thing got started?
I want to see a beautiful mix of both. Careful but controlled aggression up until the last several laps then hopefully the guys will let it all hang out.
Martin Truex Jr and Brad Keselowski have performed better than any other driver in the field this week with the exception of veteran Jimmie Johnson who has visited victory lane 4 times in his career at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Harvick and Busch have 3 wins between them in Vegas, but both will be on their A-game some Sunday afternoon.
Switch it off of football for a few on Sunday, and see these boys running wide open!