The odds for the Finish Line 150 race at Dover Esports event are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
|Winner (iRacing)||DraftKings Odds|
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||+1200|
|John H. Nemechek||+1400|
For the full list head to DraftKings Sportsbook.
William Byron should return to the top of the class in Sunday’s Finish Line 150 at virtual Dover International Speedway, site of the sixth scheduled eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational event (1 p.m. ET on FOX, FS1 and the FOS Sports app).
No doubt the Monster Mile can take its toll on the best of racers, but in terms of the random nature of wrecks and surprising finishes, the high-banked one-mile concrete oval can’t compare with Talladega, where Byron was shuffled back to a sixth-place result during a late-race scramble last Sunday.
To no one’s surprise, Byron had come to Talladega with victories in the previous two events on the virtual short tracks at Bristol and Richmond, and Dover should mark a return to a norm where experienced iRacers tend to prevail.
It would be a mistake, however, to count out newcomers to the virtual world of high-speed motorsports. Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski, both of whom finished in the top 10 at virtual Richmond, have improved with every race.
“I think Kyle Busch is the obvious choice,” Byron said when asked which of the newbies might be future challengers at the front of the field. “I think his talent and ability to kind of understand the cars is coming through.
“I thought Brad Keselowski was really impressive recently,” Byron added after his victory at virtual Richmond. “It’s just little details here and there that make a difference, and everyone is really close now.”
At +3300, Keselowski may be the best long-shot pick at the Monster Mile, but don’t overlook Matt DiBenedetto (+2500), who finished fifth at virtual Bristol, another high-banked, high-speed concrete track.
“Dover is a bigger, faster version of Bristol,” said DiBenedetto, who followed his top five at Thunder Valley with a 27th at virtual Richmond and a 35th at virtual Talladega. “Hopefully, it will be a better race for me.”
Denny Hamlin (+1000) has never won a real-world race at Dover, but he has shown speed there, having won four pole positions, the most recent for last October’s event.
“I’ve had my struggles at Dover in my career,” Hamlin acknowledged. “It’s definitely not my best track. But we can win anywhere, including Dover. I’ll try to get some extra practice laps in to see if we can give the Monster a good battle.”
In last Sunday’s event at virtual Talladega, Hamlin dropped out in 39th place under circumstances he would never face in an actual race.
“Talladega was a mess of a race,” Hamlin said. “We got damage early, lost our track position, got spun and then had technical issues with my monitors to take us out. My daughter accidentally turned them off during the race at the end. We’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
The driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet is the most accomplished iRacer in the field, having earned his shot at NASCAR racing on asphalt in part through his excellence on the sim. Byron’s average finish at “real” Dover is 13.8 in four starts, but his skill in the virtual world should allow him to dominate on Sunday.
A world-class driver in NASCAR’s top series, the reigning Cup champion can adapt to any milieu, as his progress with iRacing can attest. Busch’s race craft in the virtual world has escalated as he gains seat time in the sim. If he keeps at it when racing on real asphalt resumes, he’ll be a contender in every virtual event.
As long as the sportsbooks keep offering Bad Brad at long odds, we’ll continue to pick him. As a 40-1 shot, Keselowski led 11 of 74 laps—tied for race-high with John Hunter Nemechek—in last Sunday’s event at Talladega, before his car sustained damage in a wreck not of his making. The driver of the No. 2 Ford is due to finish a race without incident.
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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