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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook
World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway is an irregularly shaped oval with two distinct sets of corners.
It measures 1.25 miles—the only track of that length on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. But with tight turns at one end and a wider, more sweeping configuration at the other, the track can be compared most closely with the 1.366-mile Darlington Raceway.
Last year’s race at WWT Raceway was the first for the Cup Series, and it was the first with NASCAR’s new Next Gen race car. Joey Logano, who has a knack for achieving “firsts’” in the Cup Series, won the race in overtime.
But nine of the 36 drivers led laps in what was a wide-open affair. Hence, it’s tempting to look for a quirky winner at long odds to prevail in the Enjoy Illinois 300.
That’s a temptation, however, that we’re determined to resist.
Ryan Blaney had the dominant car in Monday’s rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The speed in his No. 12 Team Penske Ford propelled Blaney to victory for the first time in 60 NASCAR Cup Series races. It also salvaged the day for us, after we recommended betting on the underdog Fords at a generous +500.
Blaney finished fourth in last year’s inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 after leading 12 laps, and it’s a tempting proposition to bet on back-to-back victories in the sense of going with the hot driver.
But that, too, is a temptation we’ll resist.
Are we going out on a limb in picking William Byron to win the Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway?
After all, Byron is posted at the relatively stingy price of +700 via DraftKings Sportsbook. Those are short odds for a driver who struggled to a 19th-place finish without leading a lap in last year’s race.
But Byron has matured exponentially since last year, and his pairing with crew chief Rudy Fugle continues to bear fruit.
The driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet leads the NASCAR Cup Series in victories this season with three, and in May he prevailed at Darlington, the closest track to WWT Raceway in configuration.
The consistent speed in the Hendrick Chevrolets is another reason we’re picking Byron this week.
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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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