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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
What has Kyle Busch done in 35 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Richmond Raceway? Try six victories, 18 top fives, and 27 top 10s for starters.
Beyond that, Busch has completed 14,028 of 14,029 possible laps at the .75-mile short track, finishing off the lead lap only once, in the fall race of 2012. He has led 1,530 laps in his 35 starts.
As impressive as those stats are, we’re not picking Busch to win this week in his second trip in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 Chevrolet.
First of all, five of Busch’s six wins have come in the spring race at Richmond, only one in the summer or fall. Second, in his three previous Richmond starts in NASCAR’s Next-Gen car—introduced in 2022—Busch has finished ninth, ninth and 14th.
Though he’s offered at a tempting +850 via DraftKings Sportsbook, we don’t think he’ll get the job done in Sunday’s Cook Out 400.
We think a more seductive bet for Chevrolet fans is Alex Bowman to run top-three at +1000.
Kyle Larson is the king of the short tracks so far this season. He led 93 of 400 laps, including the last 25, in winning the spring NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond.
In the NASCAR All-Star Race at .625-mile North Wilkesboro Speedway in May, Larson was absolutely dominant, leading 145 of 200 laps to win the $1 million top prize.
Though Larson is worthy of strong consideration at +600 via DraftKings, we’re not backing him to accomplish the season sweep at Richmond.
As noted above, we’re partial to Bowman finishing in the top three at +1000. Bowman showed excellent speed last Sunday at Pocono before a late-race spin ruined a possible top-five or top-10 finish.
Denny Hamlin comes to his home track in Virginia buoyed by last Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series victory at Pocono Raceway.
That’s not necessarily a good thing for the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, who picked up his 50th career Cup win at the Tricky Triangle—third-most among active drivers.
Hamlin hasn’t won consecutive Cup races since he triumphed back-to-back at Bristol and Atlanta in 2012.
But we can’t ignore Hamlin’s record at Richmond. He has finished sixth or better in 12 of his last 15 starts at the .75-mile track, and we consider his 20th-place finish in the 2023 spring race an aberration.
Accordingly, we’re backing Hamlin again this week at +650 via DraftKings. And if you’re looking for a JGR Toyota driver with a little more bang for the buck, consider Christopher Bell at +900 via DraftKings.
Since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021, Bell has finished no worse than sixth in five Richmond starts, for an average result of 3.8. We think Bell will beat teammate and pre-race favorite Martin Truex Jr. head-to-head at +105 via DraftKings.
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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