Goodyear 400 (Cup Series) Predictions, Odds & Picks

Goodyear 400

  • Top three winners from 2020 are looking for their first 2021 victories at Darlington.
  • On Throwback Sunday, can Kurt Busch avenge close 2003 Darlington loss?
  • Kyle Larson has another chance to close the deal at the Track Too Tough to Tame.

Bet on Goodyear 400, Here!

It’s Throwback Sunday at Darlington Raceway, where cars of the majority of drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series are sporting paint schemes that pay tribute to NASCAR’s past.

Darlington’s 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval is one of NASCAR’s most challenging tracks. The abrasive surface degrades tires rapidly, making tire management an essential component of success.

Sunday’s Goodyear 400 will be contested over 293 laps (400.2 Miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 90 and 185 laps.

How to Watch Goodyear 400

Goodyear 400 Information
Race Goodyear 400 NASCAR Cup Series Race
Location Darlington Raceway
Time Sunday, May 9, 3:30 p.m. ET
How to Watch FS1

Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott Look to Break Collective Drought

What a difference a year makes. In the first 11 races of 2020, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin won two events each, and Chase Elliott contributed a victory at Charlotte.

Those three drivers eventually combined to win 21 of the 36 NASCAR Cup Series points races—Harvick nine, Hamlin seven and Elliott five (on the way to a series title).

Through 11 races this year, however, Harvick, Hamlin, and Elliott are winless, but Darlington provides the opportunity for a breakthrough triumph for any of the three.

Harvick and Hamlin lead active drivers with three wins each at the Lady in Black. Last year Harvick won twice there and Hamlin once.

Neither driver, however, is favored to win on Sunday. According to PointsBet Sportsbook, Hamlin is second choice at +480, with Harvick an attractively priced third pick at +725.

At those numbers, we’d be tempted to bet both drivers. As to Elliott, he’s available at +1100, another tempting price give the strength the Hendrick Motorsports cars have shown this year.

On Throwback Sunday, Can Kurt Busch Turn Back Time and Change History?

On Sunday, March 16, 2003, Kurt Busch lost what was then the single closest race since NASCAR introduced electronic timing and scoring in the early 1990s.

Over the final few laps, Busch and Ricky Craven raced side by side, door-slamming each other as they fought for the lead and tried to knock each other off the pace.

Craven got to the finish line .002 seconds ahead of Busch—less than one foot ahead—and Busch has never forgotten the close call he had at the Lady in Black.

Is there any chance Busch can earn redemption on Throwback Sunday at Darlington? The oddsmakers don’t think so. They have him posted at +4000.

There’s a good reason for that. The No. 1 Chevrolet Busch drives for Chip Ganassi Racing hasn’t performed to the standards set by Hendrick Motorsports.

Busch is an elite driver, but crew chief Matt McCall will have to make his car more maneuverable in traffic before the driver known as the Outlaw is worth a bet at any price.

After Strong Runs That Fizzled, Kyle Larson Will Try to Close the Deal

It’s a bit of a mystery why Kyle Larson is the consensus favorite among oddsmakers to win Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway.

Posted at +425 at PointsBet Sportsbook, Larson has a second and two thirds in six starts at The Lady in Black—but no victories.

But Larson didn’t race there last year. By the time the Cup Series resumed at Darlington in May, Larson already was serving an indefinite suspension for using a racial slur during a virtual iRacing event.

Last time out, at Kansas Speedway, Larson won Stage 2 and led 132 laps but finished a disappointing 19thafter getting mired in traffic on two late restarts.

If you’re looking to bet on a Hendrick driver, any of the other three might be a better choice. Chase Elliott (+1100) is always a threat. William Byron (+1800) is riding a streak of nine straight top 10s, and Alex Bowman (+2200) is at his best on abrasive intermediate tracks.

Bet on Goodyear 400, Here!

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Reid Spencer

Expert on NASCAR

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]