Goodyear 400 Predictions, Odds & Picks (Cup Series)
- Look within the top 10 starters for the likely Darlington winner on Sunday.
- Pole winner Joey Logano needs to find long-run speed to have a chance.
- Don’t ignore Christopher Bell. Slide jobs also work at Darlington Raceway.
Goodyear 400 Odds
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
|Kyle Larson||+500 |
|Martin Truex Jr.||+750 |
|Kyle Busch||+750 |
|Joey Logano||+800 |
|Ryan Blaney||+1000 |
|Denny Hamlin||+1000 |
|William Byron||+1200 |
|Ross Chastain||+1200 |
|Chase Elliott||+1200 |
|Tyler Reddick||+1400 |
|Christopher Bell||+1600 |
|Kurt Busch||+2000 |
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It’s Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway, and many of cars that will be on the track for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 are sporting paint schemes that pay tribute to drivers of the past.
The race itself, the 12th NASCAR Cup Series event of the season, will be contested over 293 laps (400.2 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 90 and 185 laps. Martin Truex Jr. is the defending winner.
Odds Say the Eventual Winner Will Come from the Top 10 Starting Spots
Darlington is a track-position speedway. Passing is difficult, to say the least, particularly given two cars that are close on speed.
That helps explain why 15 of the last 21 Darlington winners have come from the top 10 spots on the starting grid. During that span, only one time has the winner come from outside the top 20 (Regan Smith from 23rd in 2011).
Speed in qualifying doesn’t guarantee consistent performance over a long green-flag run, but it’s nice to know that a car has the capability to run fast.
For the record, the top 10 qualifiers for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 are Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, William Byron and Tyler Reddick.
From that group, we like eighth-place starter Chastain across the board. In his last nine races, the driver of the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet has finished in the top three six times, with two wins.
Chastain is nicely priced at +1200 to win via DraftKings Sportsbook, and we also think a top-three bet at +300 is viable, given his recent history.
Note: Based on the above stats, we recommend avoiding Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick. Both are starting at the rear of the field because accidents in Saturday’s practice prevented them from making qualifying runs. Elliott is in a backup car.
Needing a Major Turnaround, Joey Logano is Off to a Fast Start
Team Penske driver Joey Logano hasn’t won a NASCAR Cup Series in more than a year. In his last two races, he crashed at Talladega and suffered through a miserable 29th-place run at the Monster Mile.
Understandably, Logano was justifiably elated when he ran the fastest lap and won the pole for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington. He’ll start up front, but does he have the long-run speed to stay there?
“We fired off pretty good off the truck, and the speed continued throughout the run, it seemed like, so probably one of the best (cars) we’ve had so far this year,” Logano said.
That doesn’t mean it’s good enough to win. Given Logano’s recent performance issues, we’d like to see longer odds than the +800 offered on DraftKings Sportsbook. We consider him a risky pick at that number.
One further note: only once since 1997 has a Cup driver won at Darlington from the pole (Kevin Harvick in 2014).
Third-Place Starter Christopher Bell Offers an Attractive Alternative
You can’t ignore race favorite Kyle Larson (+500 via DraftKings), who starts from the front row next to pole winner Joey Logano.
But fellow dirt-track ace Christopher Bell is viable, too. Bell will take the green flag from the third starting position, and some of the techniques that have made Bell a star on clay tracks can translate to the Darlington asphalt.
After a horrendous first five races this season, the Baby-Faced Assassin has climbed from 29th to 10th in the Cup standings, thanks to four top 10s in the last six events.
Bell has shown consistent speed this year, even if his finishes haven’t always reflected the strength of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. He won his first two career Cup poles this season and has posted an admirable average starting position of 9.6.
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How to Watch Goodyear 400
|Goodyear 400 Information|
|Race||Goodyear 400 NASCAR Cup Series race|
|Time||Sunday, May 8, 3:30 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||FS1|
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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]